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Self-Edit To Maintain Your Standards

Sometimes you have to step back from your product, look at it, and recognize its shortcomings.

I've been very excited about a new jewelry design I came up with while I was recovering from surgery. I refined it multiple times, and finally sent it off to my manufacturer to cut and I did so in stainless steel and copper. I've developed a very good process for copper over the past few months, so copper was a no-brainer for this. The stainless? Simply an experiment. I spent a lot of time polishing these pendants up and getting them deburred and ready for sale. As I write this, it's Wednesday and I finished getting them assembled last night, photographed this morning, and posted for sale shortly after. All day, however, the copper ones nagged at me.

As part of my process, I coat copper to prevent oxidation. The coating makes sure that the color the customer gets it with stays around. It's magical, and it has its problems.

In this case, the finish didn't come out even. I don't even know why but no matter how I worked it, it didn't look "right." I'm sure I could have passed them off to customers, but do I want my reputation to be someone who makes jewelry that's "good enough?" No. I don't want that at all.

So what did I do? I pulled the copper ones from my store. I don't know what I'll do to fix the finish; I may re-tumble them and try to re-apply the finish and hope for the best. Worst case? I just won't sell them, because my reputation matters to me that much.

Your standards are your first line of defense in your business. Before your product ever hits the hands of your customer, you should harshly edit your product in your own mind to the point that you're holding back anything that isn't of the highest quality. I'm doing that now, as hard as it is, and as excited as I am, because my business matters that much to me. And even if they aren't perfect when I'm done I know they can be better, and as long as they can be better before they get to my customers, I cannot sell them as is to them. Uphold your standards and self-edit your products. Your reputation is your number one commodity and being lazy about your standards will damage your reputation much faster than you'll be able to repair the damage afterward.

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