Artist Spotlight: Jewels of the Vineyard

Artist Spotlight: Jewels of the Vineyard

Cheryl Thompson, Yountville, CA

Cheryl’s love of art surfaced in the sun-drenched San Diego beach community where she grew up. Yet as an adult, her career followed a hard-driving corporate track. By the 1990's, her longing for a simpler, more fulfilling life led her to leave that world behind. Inspired by natural beauty and living life at a slower pace in the Napa Valley, Cheryl began to seek the place where her imagination could find it's home and creativity be her life.

Describe Your Work:
I use leather for all bracelets in Jewels of the Vineyard. Finding unique pieces, shapes and colors of leather fuels my creative process. Searching for beads to escalate the look is a constant process and the bracelets are evolving every day.

How did you get started in the crafts business?
How did I get started? I've been creating something since I could draw with crayons. My mother was an artist and I picked up some of her genes. From a handpainted linen business to wall art, necklaces and now bracelets. For me, it's always what can I make next.

How long have you been wholesaling? 
10 years in various creative endeavors. Jewels of the Vineyard has been wholesaling for 5 years.

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?
Researching online to find stores that are a good fit for my product. Finding those that appreciate and feature handcrafted product in the U.S. is the goal. A physical "shopping" search in my local area. I often stop in a shop I think is a good fit and leave a card. Following up with a call later. For retail locations out of my area, I send postcards and make calls to buyers.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?
The majority of my business is wholesale. Probably 80%. I sell retail on my website but the work to promote the site takes from my design and creation time and that is my priority.

How has IndieMe helped your business?
IndieMe has allowed me to reach more buyers. Being part of a great community of us that make and those that search for our product makes what I do more personal.

What advice do you have for new craft artists?
Don't give up. Create your style and find your niche. Mostly, love what you do and know that its a growing process.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?
Create a good, long term relationship with your artists. My product is made one by one by only me and I greatly appreciate a relationship with those that buy my work. Cultivate that concept. Feedback is important to me and working together to make a better product for both of us is key.

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