I am not sure if you would consider my business to be started within the last three years. What are the criteria for this qualification?
In general, we identify your starting point as the time when you started selling your jewelry for income instead of just giving it as gifts or making items for personal use. Many people phase into their business over extended periods of time and evolve from hobbyists into professional designers. Ultimately, eligibility is at the sole discretion of the Halstead business development grant judging committee. We believe that many criteria are best evaluated on a case by case basis. If you think there is any question as to your eligibility in this regard, it is your responsibility to convince the committee that this is a new business venture. Please add a brief explanation to your submission packet.
Please note that the following cases are NOT considered new businesses if they are merely changes to a jewelry company that has been in business for 3+ years:
- A jewelry business that closed in the past and has re-opened
- A new product line
- A new location
- New ownership
- A change in the company or brand name
I primarily sell my jewelry at craft shows, am I eligible to apply?
Maybe. This grant is designed for individuals pursuing a full-time career in jewelry. If you are making jewelry for extra income on the side, you are not eligible. You will also need to demonstrate that you are developing a branded line of products via a well thought out marketing plan. Moreover, the line will need to be for a national or broad regional market, not just within a couple of states.
I buy many of my components, is my work still considered original under the requirements?
A piece may consist entirely of purchased findings if the crafting techniques and design significantly alter their appearance into a unique piece of wearable art. We also encourage the use of original castings, wire-work etc. Please note any original components you have made in your materials lists. Purchased components such as large carved pendants or handcrafted focal pieces should be avoided if you are not the artist. If you review our past finalists, you will find that several companies use component based design.
Do components have to be from Halstead?
No. We welcome the full range of diverse materials available on the market.
Do I have to be a Halstead customer to apply?
No; but, we do hope you will consider us for your future jewelry supply needs.
What if my work is nothing like the work of past winners and finalists?
We are not looking for specific styles, price points or techniques. Judging is based on skill level, originality of design and the viability of the business. You will see a tremendous breadth in styles amongst our past finalists.
Why do you ask for so much business information?
You will find that the essay questions in the submission packet pull from the key sections of most business plans. If you already have a written plan it is easy to pull paragraphs to use for responses. If not, start now. This application will give you an excellent start. Once completed, you will have the fundamental framework for a business plan that would be required by a bank for a loan, an investor or a business partner.
This application process is not easy. It is designed to test you and make you think about critical issues for your jewelry studio. If you want to earn a living as an independent jeweler you cannot just focus on your jewelry designs; you must also attend to marketing, finance and production planning. Even if you do not win The Halstead Grant, completing the application will help to prepare you for managing your business. Dozens of finalists have told us that the application process undoubtedly helped them get their companies off the ground.
Which is weighted more heavily, the design component or the business planning component?
They will be weighted equally. Both are critical in the success of a jewelry business.
Any tips to set myself apart?
We are looking for innovation in design. We also want to see a clearly defined sense of style. Many similar pieces are present in the marketplace and we would like to see something different; yet, the collection should be cohesive enough to represent a single brand concept.
We are also looking for thorough business planning. Show us that you have thought about marketing, finances and logistics. We want to see well-rounded individuals that bring both creativity and a business mind to the table. Please read the articles in our Hints & Tips section to see some common pitfalls we have noticed among past applicant pools.
Why can't I send in digital images?
We welcome printed copies of photos taken with digital cameras or scanners. However, we will not accept thumb drives, photo disks, CDs or DVDs. These formats are too time consuming to screen for viruses, print in color and review. Thank you for your cooperation.
What about my privacy and business plan confidentiality?
We understand that your application packet will include a great deal of private and proprietary information. We do not share packet contents with anyone outside the judging committee. We promise to safeguard these materials to the best of our abilities. Please accept this assurance in good faith. We receive many applications; so, we will not return signed confidentiality agreement requests.
Will you return my packet?
No. Please do not send in anything that you expect to receive back.
Why don't you accept applications from non-U.S. citizens?
This is not just a design competition. The business plan essay questions are heavily weighted in the judging process. A new business will usually focus on their native country as their primary market. The judging committee intimately knows the US jewelry market but cannot claim to know every international market to the same extent. We cannot compare international candidates without having the same depth of knowledge about each of the markets where their businesses are rooted. Foreign nationals living in the U.S. are not guaranteed to keep their businesses in the country in the long term so they are only eligible if they have attained full citizenship.
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