Today’s artist is Tura Sugden. After reading this article, go check out her work at http://www.turasugden.com/!
Hi Tura! What do you make?
I’m a San Francisco-based goldsmith making delicate, feminine gold and diamond jewelry that is completely hand fabricated using traditional techniques and tools.
How’d you get your start? What was your inspiration and how did you take your first steps?
I finished a BFA in sculpture and then immediately went to work for a jeweler. I worked as a bench assistant to gold and silversmiths for six years, and worked in a jewelry gallery for 3. I worked for different types of jewelers—production jewelers, ones who made one-of-a-kind pieces, and one who was working in alternative materials. They all had different business models and it was invaluable experience to be involved with all of them.
Over the years I’ve been developing my own collection, but I hadn’t taken the plunge to go on my own. This summer was my first time working full time for myself. I had been working for a fantastic gold smith who was about to have a slow production summer. She knew I had been taking a business class and wanted to spend more time working on my own business, so we decided it would be a great time for me to try working for myself. It happened suddenly but it just felt right. It’s been five months and my business is going really well!
What do you enjoy most about your business today?
I’m most comfortable making work at the bench, but I’ve discovered how good it feels to connect with customers and to support vendors that I believe in. I love working with customers and vendors that want to work with me! As a business owner I can choose who I work with, and I buy from vendors that I want to support and I’m really lucky that my customers are so amazing.
What’s most challenging about your business today?
The most challenging part of my business is being able to shut it down at the end of the day. I think all business owners feel that challenge – stepping away, turning it off, and just enjoying a meal or a good book without allowing your to-do list to jump into your head. It’s a little bit of an obsession.
Any exciting new developments lately or upcoming on the horizon?
I’m doing my first tradeshows! And I’m super pumped to be doing them with BenchWorks in my pocket, because inventory and line sheets are one less thing I have to worry about.
What’s your favorite real-life tool in the studio?
I am a coveter of tools and have so many of them! But I’m a plier lover. I have a pair of chain nose pliers that I modified and polished the edges of, and I use them for everything.
How has using BenchWorks impacted your business? What’s your favorite feature?
I started exporting and saving PDFs of my line sheets any time a customer comes to my studio, or any time I do a show or have a meeting. I have an up-to-date beautiful and informational document right on my iPad, which fits in my purse or sits in the middle of my studio. I customize it based on what I think my customer wants to see, and I don’t have to overwhelm them with unnecessary information. It’s so easy!