Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Personal Treasures

Phyllis Mufson of Personal Treasures is a jewelry artisan and a creative career and small business coach. She started making jewelry while directing the Locks Career Center at Moore College of Art & Design, an inspiring environment where she worked with wonderfully creative people. Now she works in her sunny living room where she talks with clients and has all of her jewelry equipment close at hand.

Her style is crisp, lively, and bright, and she chooses her palette from a container she refers to as her 23-story “bead condo” – clear, stacking sectioned boxes filled with organized, color-coordinated beads and findings; a cornucopia of gold, silver, gemstones and pearls.

Earlier in her life she was a textile artist for approximately 15 years, doing surface design and primarily hand-painted silk. She used embroidery techniques, did piece-work of various kinds, and air-brushed textiles. Phyllis had a line of one of a kind, hand painted scarves that she sold nationally, but also did art-to-wear that sold through galleries, custom work for interior and fashion designers and made wall pieces including some large architectural commissions.

“I stopped doing textiles in the 70’s” says Phyllis, “because I wanted to do work that made an impact on people and at the time I didn’t see that connection with the textiles. I started making jewelry as a hobby a few years ago. So it wasn’t really a switch. I hadn’t been doing textiles for a long time. Jewelry is such an expensive hobby that it’s hard to keep doing it without starting to sell. So I started doing that last winter. But once I started, I found I really enjoyed the interaction with women around the jewelry. Most women love jewelry – I certainly do.”

This previous background and experience working with cloth influenced her later jewelry designs. Phyllis pays close attention to how the jewelry drapes and moves with the body. She talks with her customers and potential buyers to learn what interests them, and gets an idea of which designs are particularly flattering for them to wear.

In addition to her ETSY stores she sells through private jewelry shows so she gets to observe how women respond to the jewelry. If you like Personal Treasures but are looking for something more simple or casual, please visit the artist’s Mufi Jewels store at http://mufi.etsy.com/

Phyllis started on the path to becoming a business coach pretty much from the beginning of her working life through her own exploration into her artistic expression which developed into a natural progression to educating others, writing, leading workshops, and becoming a consultant to other creative people.

She has always been interested in the process of tapping deeper into one’s creativity, and how creative people traverse the market place. At times one area has been the focus, and sometimes another. She co-founded a textile school and gallery, conducted research into creativity to fulfill part of her Masters degree, and taught a creativity class at San Francisco State University.

“For more than 20 years I’ve been consulting with people about finding the venue” says Phyllis, “whether it’s a job or a business that will be their right livelihood."

Several years ago Phyllis officially trained as a business coach, got certified and did additional training in leadership development. Since then she has adopted an increasingly facilitative style, helping people find their own answers.

I work with all kinds of people but find a lot of creative people attracted to work with me because I’ve lived many of their challenges” says Phyllis. In addition to helping others in the arts to find their voice she is equally able to help people with the technical, logistics side of their careers, using her own expertise as an artist as an asset.

“Phyllis’s jewelry is currently for sale at the Suzanne Roberts Boutique in Center City, Philadelphia, and another gallery is in the works. The artist also sells her work at jewelry parties and finds that it does really well in that kind of venue. She set up five last year and is planning several more this year. The hostesses are people who admire her work, and they offered to do the parties in their homes without even being asked. She really enjoys doing these and wants to do them more often in the future.

“My biggest sale night so far was at a holiday party for a group of women doctors. They bought for themselves and also gifts for each other. As an extra bonus, one called the next day and stopped by to pick up another 3 pieces.”

Her biggest-ticket items are necklaces in the $150 – $225 range. She has sold them at all of the venues she has mentioned above and also while walking around. “People comment on my jewelry,” says Phyllis, “so I usually carry a bag with a few pieces with me when I go out.”

In preparation for holiday shoppers she plans to offer multi-strand necklaces, bracelets and sparkly earrings for the Personal Treasures Etsy shop, pendants and some fun stocking stuffers such as beaded hair scrunchies for the Mufi Jewels Etsy shop. She bought a huge load of gemstones to get ready for the holidays and has several new pieces being made in her workshop, and ideas percolating for many more.

As far as her long-term goals for her business, Phyllis is enjoying following her nose. “I’m entertaining a fantasy of taking the jewelry business and the coaching on the road” she says. “You might be surprised and find me in your neighborhood.”

Phyllis is open to selling wholesale. If you are the buyer for a store/gallery interested in carrying her work, or hosting a jewelry party, please contact her.

Phyllis offers shipping internationally.

To view and purchase her original, one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry, please go to her website: http://personaltreasures.etsy.com/

For more casual items see http://mufi.etsy.com/

To learn more about the artist’s creativity and other creative people, read her blog: http://personaltreasures.blogspot.com/

For books the artist recommends and to read about those who have influenced her, (a list too long to cover here), please go to Phyllis’s business coaching practice website at http://phyllismufson.interfaceias.com/

Article written by Pippit.

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