Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The production line

Every year, pre June, which in my studio means pre Bead and Button season, my studio becomes a production line. Thank goodness I spent the majority of my career working in Manufacturing Systems because it certainly helps to have a system.

The making of a kit starts off with a design, and then the directions. It's a rather big job so it helps to be hyper organized. Each design has a folder on the computer with a sub folder for the color. Each set of directions is updated with a photo of that color and the legend specific to that color. The legend is created from the supply list where I do the math, in otherwise count, add, multiply, then divide to get the number of grams of the seed beads involved. Then I count the crystals, the accent beads, any special items required.

The supply list becomes a legend for that kit, identifying where each bead is placed in the design. A, base of raw medallion, B, embellishment necklace, etc.

Now it's time to get physical, the bags are labeled, and counted for the number of kits being made. This is where that all occurs!

Seed beads are weighed, poured into tubes and marked with the correct level. Bags are filled, crystals are counted. The bags are collected into a kit, a label is printed for the packaging and a label for the cd. Directions are burned onto a cd and the entire package is assembled.

It may be a lot of work, but it's work I like. There is a rhythm to it, and in the end there is a design which can be shared with others. Picking up needle and thread and shiny little beads and creating your own beautiful piece of jewelry.


Mikki said...

How perfectly you describe kitting. I spent my school summers working in a factory so the production line is firmly engraved in my brain and it comes in handy when kitting as it makes everything go so much quicker. I think a lot of people do not understand how much goes into creating a kit...I'll refer any questions to this post from now on :)

Marcia DeCoster said...

Thanks Mikki, I debated the relevance of the post, but I decided that folks might find it interesting to have a look at the process.

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your process. I will be offering some kits of old classes in my shop...and know that it takes a lot more than buyers believe to do up a nice looking kit. Just like it takes a lot to pack up all the items we sell in bags (counting and weighing for days when an order comes in!)

Joann Loos said...

Sounds like the drill LOL. Do you use the Firemountain or Beadalon counting boards? I found them very useful!

Ralonda said...

Your post is very relavent and and I thank you for it. I have just created my first kit ever in February. I have done assembly line work from working craft fairs and such (to no avail) and find it to be quite methodical and comforting. I really liked what you shared about measuring the grams and then pouring them into a tube to mark it. That in itself is genius and will make my work go much faster as I was measuring each individual amount. Again, thank you, those little nuggets of information are worth so much more than you may have initially thought.