January 8, 2010
Fashionably Friday: Style Lab
Part of the joy of making jewelry, or even buying jewelry, is getting your hands on it. I have had so many customers ask to first "see" some of my pieces before they decide to buy because they "want to touch it." Though I have done my fair share of buying supplies online, there is something to be said for finding an awesome piece in a store, putting your hands on it, examining it in person with your eyes, holding it up to your ears or neck or next to other supplies, and deciding that you can't leave without it! That said, I was a little concerned when I first heard of "Style Lab." Don't know what it is, either? In short, it's a game for the hand-held Nintendo DS that has teamed up with my favorite online jewelry supply distributor, ArtBeads, which gives you the "chance" to "design" your own jewelry with ArtBeads supplies. Real ArtBeads supplies that are photographed, and, in the words of the game's description, "manipulated," can be put together on the screen and made into designs of the player's choosing. Additionally, "The game features a retail-based storyline in which players take on the challenges of running their own jewelry boutique. As they complete designs for their clientele, the boutiques will blossom and more customers will come to commission new work." Take a look:As if that's not, ummm, interesting enough, girls can then upload their pictures and place their designs on their own faces and necks. If she (or he, no need to hate!) likes it, they can then send money to ArtBeads, where their staff will then create the piece based on the animated design and send it to the gal. I don't mean to be a hater. I think it's great to get girls - and boys! - in the mindset where creativity is nurtured and explored. But is this really the best way to go? How many more computer screens will replace hands-on creativity? Why place another barrier between you and raw creation? Furthermore, the players only "design" their jewelry, they don't even get the satisfaction of actually making it with their own hands! And speaking from experience, though I LOVE ArtBeads, their supplies can add up quickly. Financially, I mean. If Little Miss Molly makes an exclusively Swarovski Crystal necklace for herself, and then has to pay for the staff at ArtBeads to construct it and ship it, you are looking at a (minimum) $75 piece of jewelry! And for what - so you can say that Molly "created" it? Stepping down off my soap-box now. Actually, no, I still have more thoughts! On the plus side, this game might be a great TOOL for envisioning jewelry when you don't have all the pieces in front of you. I have personally copied and pasted some bead product photos and photo-shopped them next to each other to "see" what they would look like as a finished piece. But if ArtBeads were really thinking about integrating technology to their full advantage, they would offer this component to anyone as a way of increasing their site traffic and eventual sales (at least I think it would be a smart move). Charging Molly $30 for the game, plus the $130+ it cost for the gaming system in the first place, plus the fee to have the staff assemble your piece, the supplies, and the shipping, you could just as well buy all the supplies you wanted and play with the components in person! Is this game thus enabling Molly's creativity or inhibiting it? Ok, now it's your turn on the soap-box, lovies. I want to hear what you think - the good, the bad, and the ugly. And don't worry, you won't hurt my feelings. I would have made a horrible reporter anyway - my opinion prevents any chance at objectivity!