Random Acts of Kindness
I have known about the “pay it forward” movement for a long time, but had never really experienced it in a drive-through. Now, many of you know that I love large Diet Cokes from the MacDonald’s drive-through. These large drinks cost all of $1.08, which makes them even better!
The other day I was entertaining myself in the drive-through line, awaiting my Diet Coke. When I pulled up to the window, the cashier told me that the driver in front of me had paid my bill.
It was like Christmas! I know that it was just $1.08 for the drink, but this random act of kindness gave my day a million-dollar boost!
I never knew who the gift was from,
and I had no idea whether the gift was a stretch or simply pocket change for the person in line in front of me. However, that didn’t really matter. I loved it all the same.
Now, for the challenge…
Let’s dedicate the week to making people happy! It doesn’t take much-just a simple, intentional action. It can be a smile, a pat on the back, or even a Diet Coke. If you have time, it can be a special pair of earrings that you have made or perhaps a plate of warm cookies.
Just remember, no random act of kindness is too small-they all count!
Wubbers wants to start things off
We love all our Wubbers friends, and we would like to make creating jewelry even more fun and productive. So, we are going to sponsor a “Random Acts of Kindness” week to share our tools.
So, here’s the nitty-gritty!
We will post the winners on FaceBook each day, starting Monday, August 21st through Sunday, August 27th. We will also send out a newsletter the following week announcing the winners. Winners will be selected from the customers and registered users in the WubbersUShop database. If you would like to enter, be sure to go to the WubbersUShop.com website and set up an account before Monday, August 21st. No purchases are required! If you have any problems registering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to help you out.
Monday — Artisan’s Mark Triangle Hammer
Tuesday — Proline Nylon Jaw Pliers
Wednesday — ProLine Round Nose/ Flat Nylon Jaw Pliers
Thursday — Medium Round Bail Making Plier
Friday — Medium Square Mandrel Plier
Saturday — Set of 5 Proline Pliers with original stand
Sunday — Set of the original 5 Artisan’s Mark Hammers with the stand
Every year after the hustle and bustle of the Holidays dies down, I start to pack my bags and get ready for my favorite trip to one of the biggest and best bead shows in the world. The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show hosts over 50 different show venues. This year the Tucson Bead Show, hosted at the Radisson Suites, promises 400 workshops along with free admission to shop and explore among the 350 booths!
If you are considering taking a workshop during your time in Tucson and just don’t know where to begin, we want to help. Some of our dear friends and fellow jewelry enthusiasts will be offering classes which inspire, energize and broaden your creative horizons. Check out our featured instructors below! We have included a portion of their personal statements as well as pictures of some of their classes offered in Tucson.
“While I enjoy creating unique jewelry items, my passion lies in teaching. My classes are filled with energy and an easy going atmosphere. My goal is to have my students walk out comfortable with new techniques and confident in their own jewelry making ability. Working as a professional computer trainer for 10 years I learned that there are many ways to teach, and each person learns differently. I strive to use that knowledge to benefit my students. When you take a class from me, I won’t ever “leave you in the dust”. I will do my very best to make sure you understand the concept and technique we are covering in that course.”
“My infatuation with making jewelry started in 2007 and in 2013 I ran away from my grown-up career in small business management to spend time rediscovering who I am and what I want my life to be about. Today, I am co-owner of The Makery in Bulverde, Texas, where I spend most of my days experimenting with new techniques and teaching metals and jewelry-making.”
Wubbers University is proud to announce the recent international success of our very own instructor, Christine Keller. We were attracted to Christine’s anodized aluminum wire designs years ago. Through dedication and an eye for beautiful designs, Christine found her niche and you could say “the stars aligned in her favor.” Be our guest as Christine’s husband, Warren Keller, shares their incredible journey…
Wubbers University instructor Christine Keller (www.chrizart.com) stood in Shanghai’s Nanjing Road shopping district, gazing up at a large digital billboard advertising the collection that she designed for TSL, China’s third-largest jewelry retailer. This was only one of many impressive displays and events arranged by TSL’s extensive marketing department in China’s high-end malls and shops. Over a period of three weeks, Christine traveled from Hong Kong to Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Guangzhou on an all expenses paid tour, promoting Contemporary Art Jewellery by Christine Keller, part of TSL’s International Design Collection. While Christine had achieved regional success as a jewelry maker in her home state of West Virginia, and marginal success nationally, being represented by a multibillion-dollar jewelry manufacturer and retailer was beyond her wildest dreams. And, the way in which the independent metalsmith from Appalachia, and the Hong Kong-based luxury brand purveyor of 24 karat gold, platinum, and diamond jewelry came together, was itself the stuff of dreams.
In September 2015, he received a request for one-on-one image processing instruction from a client of his video tutorials. As he was busy completing a book for Springer Nature, Warren was hesitant to interrupt his writing schedule, but agreed to meet with the customer at the Keller home in Buckhannon, West Virginia. With Tommy Tat Fung Tse settled in for his lesson, they began. Early on, while waiting for a software process to complete, Warren made polite conversation by asking Tommy Tse what he did for a living. Certain that Tommy would respond with engineer or programmer, Tommy replied “Oh, we are in jewelry.” With one eyebrow raised, Warren said “My wife is a jewelry maker.” Genuinely excited, Tommy said that he’d worked as a goldsmith for a time and that he’d love to see Christine’s studio at lunchtime. A metalsmith by training, working mainly in copper, sterling silver, and semi-precious stones, Christine is also an accomplished enamelist. But, it was the medium that she began with, wire sculpting of colorful, anodized aluminum wire that intrigued Tommy the most.
TSL was founded in 1971 by, and named for his father Tse Sui Luen, who at a youthful 80 years of age is still active in the business. The son of a rag and bone man, the elder Mr. Tse had the opportunity to train as a goldsmith’s apprentice as a young man, and is legendary throughout Asia for building a jewelry empire from these humble beginnings. In 1997, Mr. Tse became the first Chinese invited to be a League of Honor member of the internationally-renowned Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In 2000, his son Tommy left a career in the United States as a financial analyst with Johnson and Johnson to take the TSL helm, and was followed soon after by his wife and fellow CEO, Annie Yau Tse, together growing TSL to include over three hundred corporate and franchisee-owned retail stores throughout Hong Kong, China, Macau, and Malaysia. Located in Panyu, China, TSL’s factory is responsible for designing and producing the lion’s share of their magnificent products.
With them were marketing head Anthony Jim, lead jewelry designer Tommy Yuen, and videographer Benny Wong. Over the course of an intense week, Christine shared her wire working techniques with them. Together, they enjoyed many laughs while learning to create their own designs. The group also visited the workshops of the Keller’s potter, glassblower, and leatherworker friends, as well as West Virginia’s Tamarack retail gallery, with all activities, including interviews with Christine and the TSL officers being documented by Benny’s cameras. One only need view the beautiful promotional video that resulted, to get a sense of how strong the bond between Christine and TSL’s people was already becoming.
As TSL’s head goldsmiths Mr. Kin-Shing Chu (Ah Shing) and Mr. Kai-Wai Li (Ah Wai) had been unable to get their visas in time for the trip, Tommy returned to Buckhannon a couple of weeks later with the two, along with TSL’s head of merchandising, Ms. Irene Chung. This second trip was essentially a repeat of the first, although Ah Shing demonstrated a real affinity for Christine’s techniques, and an ability to improvise his own interesting spin on them. Returning to the Panyu factory, Ah Shing began creating prototypes of rings, earrings, and pendants, which incorporated 24 karat gold wire into Christine’s designs. Ah Shing shared photographs and consulted with Christine via email for suggestions and approval. In November, plans were made for Christine to visit Hong Kong in January 2016 to advance the collaboration.
TSL spared no expense in arranging for car transportation to a fine hotel overlooking Kowloon Bay and Hong Kong Island’s modern skyline. This was to set a precedent for how she would be treated going forward by the very generous TSL organization. With little time to settle in, Tommy, Christine, and her husband traveled across the China border, first to the Panyu factory where the line would be produced, and then to TSL’s China headquarters in Guangzhou, before returning to Hong Kong where she got to meet the founder of the empire, the elder Mr. Tse and his wife. During an intensive ten days, many tasks critical to success were accomplished.
Upon first seeing Christine’s colorful wire work in West Virginia, Tommy had a vision of creating a DIY (do it yourself) experience for TSL customers. He imagined girlfriends, mothers and daughters, and bridal parties being taught by TSL ambassadors how to form their own rings during store-hosted workshops. He felt strongly, that this DIY experience would help customers intimately connect with the products that were so different from the traditional, cast jewelry familiar to the Chinese market. To that end, Christine held workshops for scores of TSL employees, including high-level buyers and management. During a business meeting in Hong Kong to discuss a marketing plan for the line, some pushback by higher-ups was felt. The concern was whether a luxury brand known for its 24 karat gold and exceptional diamonds could offer colorful, art jewelry with a nonprecious (aluminum) element. At the conclusion of the meeting of over twenty executives, Tommy confided in Christine his frustration saying “Sometimes I think they think too much!” With the trip ending on a less optimistic note than it had begun, and Tommy continuing to travel back and forth between Hong Kong and China, there was a fear that the project would languish.
Prototyping continued. If proposed designs lost too much of what Tommy called “Christine’s DNA,” they were reworked to recapture the spirit of one-of-a-kind, handmade art jewelry. Eventually, over the course of eight months, everything came together beautifully. A product line of over forty SKUs was finalized. A photo shoot was arranged in Copenhagen by TSL’s branding expert, using a young, blond Danish model as the ‘face’ of the collection. Those images were emblazoned on banners, posters, catalogs, and an attractive, in-store display case. And, yes, it was also displayed on a large LED billboard in Shanghai! Prior to Christine’s return to Asia, the Contemporary Art Jewellery Collection by Christine Keller for TSL was soft launched in a limited number of thirteen corporate-owned shops. Even before the media blitz that was to follow, the pieces began to sell.
And so it was that this past October, Christine returned to China to promote the line in its major cities. The promotional tour included numerous workshops for fashion bloggers, media representatives, and TSL’s VIP customers. During the session at one of TSL’s Shanghai stores (see video below), a lovely, young blogger received over one million real time likes for the jewelry! Prior to each workshop, with the help of her interpreter, TSL director Oscar Liu, Christine met her trainer ‘Ambassadors’ in the many stores she visited, certifying them in a champagne ceremony by inspecting their work and gifting them with a framed certificate. Driven by the appearances and the power of social media, sales had increased significantly, and more stores and inventory were added. On her fall tour, Christine returned to the Panyu factory, visiting the girls who produce her designs by hand under the supervision of Ah Shing. She had the opportunity to thank them all for helping bring her dreams to life. Back in Hong Kong, a small business meeting was held. This time, their confidence bolstered by the positivity of the initial sales of the line, Christine was given free rein to produce the second and third wave of the collection. A line to complement the embroidery of traditional Chinese wedding gowns is planned, as well as a line of gold and silver ‘statement pendants’ featuring gorgeous, semiprecious stones as the focal.
Along the adventure, the Kellers had the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Beijing’s Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall at Badaling, the Macau Peninsula, and to meet dozens of wonderful Chinese people. They were wined and dined, and had their every need met by a loving TSL staff. Early on, Christine was cautioned by well-meaning friends about the unscrupulous business practices of some Chinese companies. While that can certainly be the case, in line with the serendipitous initial meeting of the Kellers and the Tses, they and the people of TSL have proven themselves to be nothing less than honest, supportive, and wonderful at every turn.
As Tommy’s goal is to sell the line in volume, at affordable prices, Christine is hopeful that as the collection succeeds, her share will become appreciable. And, as the line expands, she is hopeful that her association with TSL Jewellery will be a long, lucrative, and happy one. Whatever the eventual outcome, the entire process has been nothing short of magical, and Christine is enormously grateful for the way it has enriched her life, as well as her career. Being a veteran of several national wholesale and retail shows, trying to make one’s work stand out among a sea of other high-level jewelry makers, Christine feels especially blessed for this incredible opportunity. Of course, when such serendipity occurs, having the skill set and the personality to make the most of it, helps a lot. Christine is a dynamic and attractive woman, as well as a talented jewelry designer, and we wish her all the best on her international journey!
It’s all in the details.
Smaller in size and uniquely shaped, the Artisan’s Mark Shaped Texture Hammers are perfect for detailed work. They have been carefully designed with ergonomic handles made of high quality white oak, shaped to encourage the correct grip from the moment you pick up your new hammer. Created with attention to the smallest detail, the hammer heads are pinned on tight, making them secure and safe to use.
Four hammers, eight faces!
Layer the textures and enjoy experimenting to see how many different looks you can create!