"To strengthen the muscles of your heart,
the best exercise is strengthening someone else's spirit whenever you can."
I have long been a supporter of local events and organizations. Each year I give jewelry and money to those that are important to me. In the spring, I create a limited edition piece of jewelry to commemorate the Dance Education Center (DEC) where my daughter dances as a way to give back to the studio's scholarship program with the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) while at the same time being a memento for the theme of the show. For this years' show 'The View,' I created kaleidoscope images and silhouettes of dancers under glass and engraved on the back with the year.
|[The precursors to the Pop-a-Dot Jewelry line.]|
For a long term fundraiser option, I knew that it had to be durable and affordable...and make people want to come back for more. I wanted it to be something quick that I could put together for various charities, whether I was setting up a booth someplace, or doing it as an order form, so it had to be interchangeable. I wanted to be able to customize the images to the different organizations so that the images would be special to their clientele, but also have broad appeal. And if I could further customize them with names and dates, etc, then that would be a bonus.
So I was sitting in my studio with a tray of the leftover necklaces from the dance fundraiser and a magnet on my table got stuck to one of the bases. That is when I got the idea of making the images magnetic tops that could be swapped out.
I am not the first person to come up with a magnetic jewelry line. At a local boutique they carried a popular line of toppers and bases. Online I follow an artist who uses recycled auto parts for her bases and gets amazing artists to contribute their unique artwork for the magnetic tops (I am still pining for one of her sets). I knew I had to set myself apart in some way but not by taking away their strides. There is room enough in this world for all of us. But I also knew that this new line of jewelry would only be for the purpose of raising funds for worthy causes. And that is what would set me apart.
And so the seed was planted for magnetic jewelry.
I set a goal for myself of coming up with a name, logo, business card and banner by the end of the night on June 4, 2013. I wanted to debut this new line of jewelry at a girls' softball tournament later that month, and I need to have hard deadlines to use my limited time the most wisely. I knew that I had to work fast.
I didn't want to call my magnets 'toppers' or 'lids' as there were others who did that. I was listening to the radio and "Popping Tags" was playing. I thought, 'Well...you just pop these dots on and off whenever you change your mind.' That was it! Pop-a-Dot! You pop a Dot on for Style That Sticks With You! Orange is my daughter's favorite color. And the logo I created played up on the dots. The name, the motto and the logo came together quickly and stuck just like the magnets they were made from!
I started with the Dots.
Although I could make images myself, I knew that would take me too much time and there are great graphic artists who have already done that. The images I use are sourced from graphic designers the world over, some of which have created them just for me. They feature images that are fun, whimsical and positively reinforcing so that they feel a lot like the sort of jewelry that I make. I already have purchased hundreds of different Dot designs.
I print the images on a high end color laser printer for great color and crisp details and then they are formed into a 1" Dot with a powerful steel magnet so that they would not fall off easily. The beauty is that if you don't wear jewelry, or when you are not wearing the jewelry, you can store your Dots on any magnetic surface, like your fridge or locker. Double duty! And once you have the base, you can keep adding Dots or additional bases as you go.
|[Flattened Bottlecap pendants with matching chain or optional colored wire necklace :: |
silver :: gunmetal :: bronze :: copper :: $16]
|[Bracelet cuff :: silver :: bronze :: gunmetal :: $14]|
|[Bracelet chain, adjustable to 8" :: bronze :: silver :: $12]|
|[Rings with adjustable filigree bases :: silver :: antique silver :: bronze :: copper :: $10]|
Each base comes with your choice of one Dot.
THE PLANAs soon as I started selling these Pop-a-Dots, people were getting excited.
The dilemma is that I could certainly drop everything and just do this, and lots of people have assumed that is what I am doing. If I had a dollar for every time someone suggested I go on the 'Shark Tank'... But that is not my business model. The Pop-a-Dot Jewelry is merely a side-side business, an arm of my company designed exclusively to give back. I do not wish to have this detract from the artisan jewelry that I make, nor eclipse the brand that I have built. I simply wanted a way to make a difference.
I plan to sell the Pop-a-Dot Jewelry only for select fundraisers for organizations that I have a connection to, with a limit each year from six to twelve different fundraisers. The percentage given to each organization will be at my discretion based on how close my tie is to that fundraiser. But after doing the first one for the PWYA and netting them $300, I can tell that this will be something that will have the impact on the local and national organizations that I will be helping.
THE DONATIONSI intend to use this space as a place to share with you what the next fundraiser is, links to their sites for more information, and also to share why I am supporting them. If you wish to order during a current fundraiser, it will be included in the donation.
THE FUTURESo far I have done one fundraiser for the Plover Whiting Youth Athletics (PWYA) as a booth at a softball tournament. I also gave the Plover 14s softball team a selection of softball Dots to gift to another team at the upcoming Nationals competition in North Dakota. The next fundraiser planned is for an MS Walk that a friend of mine is doing, and that will be done through an order form that can be sent to her friends and supporters around the country [info coming soon on how you can help!]. I am hoping to do fundraisers for our school system, the dance studio, some local sports teams as well as those funding research for diseases or supporting our youth.
|[Dots displayed at the PWYA Girls Softball tournament, June 2013]|
How about featuring the artwork of some local artists to raise money for arts education? I have connections at Gallery Q that might get me going on that.
I will do limited runs of Custom Dots... like the personalized softballs and baseballs with the player name and number... but only at certain times of the year to make the most efficient use of my time and resources. Contact me to find out when those special orders will happen.
Wouldn't it be cool to feature artwork from local students through a design contest? Limited edition designs to support our youth.
My biggest plans are to make my own Simple Truths as magnetic inserts with a bezel that I found that will work nicely. I just have to find the right magnets. And then I can offer completely artisan Dots that will truly be one of a kind!
The possibilities are endless!
Check back here on this blog as I share about the next fundraiser, who will benefit and even a place to order to help a cause and grow your Dot collection. And if you have any suggestions or comments, I would love to hear from you! Contact me using the form on the sidebar, or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pop-a-Dot Jewelry... for Style That Sticks With You!