I'm Tina Tang, a 23 year veteran jewelry designer who took a two year sabbatical as a personal trainer. What at first felt like a permanent career change has evolved into a knitted path of my two loves: fitness and design.
Iron Strong Jewelry is an evolution of two passions. From Goldman Sachs equities trader to NYC boutique owning jewelry designer with website TinaTang.com, to Equinox personal trainer, I have now combined my seemingly unrelated careers.
When I started my sabbatical, I was also going through a divorce and didn't think I would come back to jewelry design. I had completely lost my passion for it and the desire to design. The soul has a profound way of bringing you back to what you should be doing.
Jewelry has become my touchstone for fitness and design, and I've found that it can help many of us feel both more grounded and more in touch with our core strengths and inner beauty. Making your own jewelry is a rewarding experience that anyone can start doing with a few simple tips.
After 23 years of making jewelry and making plenty of mistakes, I've compiled 3 important tips for anyone starting out their jewelry making passion:
First, invest in your tools. While you may not think you'll use these tools for anything else, those jewelry tools can be used for other household tasks, if needed. The best tools are German made. Of course, right? You may find other, cheaper import tools at street fairs, but you'll end up cursing them for their lack of accuracy or movement. My favorite jewelry making tools include wire cutters, superfine chain nose pliers and super fine round nose pliers, all made by Beadsmith.
Second, invest in bead organizing trays that have lids. The clear trays allow you to see which beads you have stored. It is worth the time to organize it well before you start creating and designing. An organized storage of your beads allows you to easily design and access what your creativity will dictate. I used to just put the purchased beads in plastic bags, but over time, the bags end up wearing down so the beads would spill out. The trays will save you agony later!
Third, always keep ratty old towels to use for your workspace. When you work with any beads, they will inevitable roll around. Or worse yet, someone, your doggie or child, may bump the table where you have laid out your beads. Then, that accidental bump will create a cascade of beads crashing to the floor. That is the worst way to spend your creative time - picking up all those rolling beads! The towel laid on your table as the foundation of your work space creates an accident protected area.
As you pursue your passion of making jewelry, the three essential tips to remember are:
Invest in your tools;
Purchase clear plastic organizing trays to keep your beads;
Re-use old towels as the foundation of your workspace.
I love to help anyone with a passion to design. Feel free to email me at TinaTang@TinaTang.com or find me on Instagram at @IronStrongJewelry.