Jay and Jennifer Bridgland create a stunning line of handmade glass “statement jewelry.” Jennifer talks about understanding the customer and serving her retailers.
ABI: Jay started out working in glass sculpturally, but you now collaborate to make jewelry. How did that evolve?
JB: Jay has always had a deep passion for glass beads and after studying sculpture for some years, Jay saw the possibility of bringing together sculpture and beadmaking. The beads we make are a form of sculpture and I think it took quite some time to develop the glass sculptural skills before they could be applied to our style of beads.
JB: The person who has a sense of art and who wants to be able to wear an artistic piece. In general, our customers are outgoing, fun, energetic, have a strong sense of style and confidence, and are very social.
ABI: What strategies do you use to help your galleries sell your work?
JB: We like to get to know and understand the gallery and who the gallery customer base is. We try to cover a range of price points as we realize that galleries have all levels of customers. We try to keep a fresh look so that galleries can bring in new work all the time. We are happy to exchange or have returned work that does not fit or that has been in a gallery for too long.
JB: It is important to keep in touch with trends and colors and fashions. Our retail customers teach us what works and what does not work when the jewelry is worn and how it “moves” when it’s worn. It’s also important to know what the customers like about our pieces and what they don’t like. Many of these purchases are emotional where the jewelry “speaks” to them in some way. Our wholesale buyers are great but it is hard to get that perspective from them.