Q&A with Jewelry Designer Emilie Shapiro

Hilary Halstead Scott interviews Emilie Shapiro to discuss her brand new book: How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line.

Emilie Shapiro jewelry studio

Hilary recently Skyped with jewelry artist, teacher and author Emilie Shapiro. Unfortunately, the audio did not record properly, so here is the transcript of their interview. 

Emilie Shapiro has recently published a book that we are so excited about here at Halstead, How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line. Informative, educational and thoughtful, this book takes any novice jewelry artist to the next level by teaching them the business side of our competitive jewelry world. From production and pricing to market research and selling, she covers it all.

Emilie grew up on the East Coast from a lineage of creative relatives. Encouraging her from a young age to explore and try new things, she eventually chose lost wax casting to make her mark. After receiving a B.F.A. in Art & Design from Syracuse University with an emphasis in jewelry and metalsmithing, Emilie headed to Florence, Italy to continue her studies at Alchimia, a contemporary jewelry school. Today, Emilie owns a successful jewelry business, Emilie Shapiro Contemporary Metals, retails in fine galleries and boutiques around the world, teaches workshops at Liloveve Jewelry School in Brooklyn, New York and holds private lessons from her studio.

Ebb & Flow Collection: Waterfall Stairway Pendant
Ebb & Flow Collection: Waterfall Stairway Pendant

Hilary: Hi everybody, I am really excited to have Emilie Shapiro on the phone today to talk about her new book: How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line.

Q. Emily, I’m so excited to find out about this book. Why did you decide to write it?

A. Well, first of all, thank you so much for interviewing me. I love Halstead. I decided to write it just because I’m a jewelry teacher. I’ve been teaching for over five years and I’ve found that most of my students really wanted to know not just how to make jewelry but how to make a jewelry line. And I felt that there is some information out there, but you know it’s really hard to figure things out by trial and error and finding your own mistakes. Or whether it’s working for someone. So I decided to put everything that I had learned on my path down on paper.

Q. That’s fantastic. And tell us a little bit about that: What have you found most challenging since you started your business? 

A. I think that having a jewelry line sounds like it is a really glamorous thing and you have this idea that you want to be a jeweler, but at the end of the day, it’s a business. Doing a lot of the business aspects, whether it’s administration or taxes or accounting or things like that, I think that’s been a really big challenge. And, really, finding time to do everything. The time management is a big one as well.

Q. Absolutely, and I think it’s one of those things that your book does really well. You cover so much ground just looking at your table of contents you kind of touch on all the highlights, it’s almost like a checklist of what you need to think about if you are starting a jewelry business. 

A. What was really great is I didn’t just pull from my experiences with my own business, it’s also experiences that I’ve had working for other people but also talking to friends in the industry who are jewelry designers and getting their feedback too. People who are jewelry designers or buyers or crafters, things like that, are getting a lot of feedback from all different folks in the industry.

Q. That’s right, you have a whole section at the end of the book that has these great little bits of wisdom from all of those different people it’s a really nice component of the book.


Building A Mosaic Collection: Mosaic Wide Cuff
Building A Mosaic Collection: Mosaic Wide Cuff

A. That was one of the most exciting things for me was to see people get really excited to share their information because I know this industry, like so many others and it’s really secretive and there’s a lot of people who don’t want to tell you how to do things, how not to do things. But I think you just have to find your community and find the people who are willing to share because the more information that we share, the better it is for everyone and the bigger community we’re making.


Q. I couldn’t agree more. We’re so passionate about helping small business here at Halstead and I love finding people that really believe in that as well. Another real strength I found in your book is that people walk away with some really concrete tools. You have some great checklists and kind of worksheet examples in here. I think one of the strongest chapters is on learning to create a jewelry line for production that you can kind of repeat and refine in a very efficient way and it’s packed with tools and one of the worksheets I really loved – I think I have it bookmarked here – was kind of your production guide list. Do you remember which one I’m talking about off the top of your head?

A. Yes, I do actually. I’m just grabbing the book now. Let me open it.

Q. Yeah, the master production list. 

A. Yes, that is something that kind of evolved from all the different places that I worked as a production manager before I decided to do my own thing and you know that the biggest thing that I try to teach people is: create good habits. And really make sure you’re organized. A lot of creative people aren’t – I’m not – the more organized people out there. So, if you really get in the habit of writing everything down from the beginning, it’s creating a good habit to make everything go much more seamlessly.

Birthstone Collection: Talisman Stud Earrings
Birthstone Collection: Talisman Stud Earrings

Q. I think that’s great advice and it’s something you do really well. I was curious just to kind of get your take since you’ve written this book. How do you think social media is impacting small jewelry businesses?

A. I mean I can speak from my personal experience that I think it’s an amazing way to invite someone virtually into your studio to show your process, to show inspiration and to really build a brand following. I think that it’s an amazing tool for small business. It’s also changing very quickly. So, it’ll be interesting to see how much it changes in the next few years and where it goes. But you really can reach an audience. There are tons of artists who I follow and it allows me to see what they’re making.

Q. And connect with. I love that perspective you can get on a person and a brand. It’s so interesting.

A. Absolutely.

Q. All right, well, I’m going to navigate right now on your web page to the book section and right here in Emilie’s website, there’s a page where you can order a signed copy of this book for thirty dollars. It is jam-packed with great advice and resources. We really encourage you to check it out. Emilie, thank you so much for sharing with us today. I really enjoyed speaking with you.

A. Thank you so much. I did, too. And I really appreciate how much you support the jewelry designing craft community, of course.

Q. Oh, thank you so much. All right, take care, Emilie.

A signed copy of How to Create your Own Jewelry Line is available for $30 on Emilie’s website.


You may also enjoy these articles and video on growing your jewelry business:

How to Manage Time in Your Jewelry Business Better Using 7 Simple Steps

Halstead Jewelry Minute – Ep. 15: 5 Tips to Develop a Jewelry Collection

How to Reach and Retain your Jewelry Target Audience through Marketing

Sell is Not a Four Letter Word: Making a Living in Jewelry

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