Making Makers Talk About Money – Melissa Tyson Designs

making makers

Let’s talk about talking about money

We’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredibly talented and successful artists who have seen the ups and downs of running a creative business. But let’s face it: talking about money can be a little uncomfy sometimes! We are here to change that by inviting you to join the conversation in this segment, we’re calling “Making Makers Talk About Money” or MMTAM for short.

Melissa working in her studio. (photo Drewe and Kate)

Meet Melissa!

Melissa Tyson owns Melissa Tyson Designs. She makes unique custom engagement rings and hammered wedding bands, as well as heirloom jewelry recycling. Melissa has been in business for 25 years, and you can find her on Instagram at @melissatysondesigns! Oh, and she has THE BEST HAIR.

We’ve known Melissa since before we can remember, and we started doing her books in the early days of Wait. What? Consulting! Alisha went to her house with her little pink briefcase and helped create all of her original systems of bookkeeping, and they’ve been friends ever since.

melissatysondesigns hands

This photo is from Paris Fashion Week!

Let’s get down to business with Melissa!

What money advice would you give yourself when you were just starting out?

Start slow. Grassroots. I always knew I didn’t want to take out a loan to start my business, so I had two other jobs that paid the bills…. And I kept making jewelry and selling it until my jewelry business outweighed my other incomes. So essentially I took my own advice back then too! Haha

How has your idea of pricing changed over the years?

I wanted everyone to have my jewelry, but in doing that I priced it so low that I wasn’t profitable at all. My mentor in the jewelry world that said if you want to keep doing what you love, you need to raise your prices. I was so scared to raise my prices but when I did, that next show I sold 3x my normal with the higher prices! So finally I had found my sweet spot and was profitable too!

What is the best financial investment you’ve made in your business?

Oh this would have to be, hands down, hiring the best people that are better than me in so many areas of the business. My best investment has been in the people who have become trusted friends and help the business grow.

Have you ever spent money on something you regret? Vice versa, have you ever regretted not spending money on something?

Ahh yes. Joining a business master mind at the tune of 5 figures, only to realize that there was nothing master about it. I met a few cool people in the group, but the material was not applicable to my business. That was a big learning lesson… aka regret. 

What did you used to think was a lot of money? What do you think a lot of money is now?

I used to think $50k a year was a lot of money!! In fact, in the first 5 years of my business, that was my goal and I never dreamed I would make it. Now I make more than that in a month—it really blows my mind, it’s beyond anything I would have ever imagined!

Anything else you want us to know? Thoughts? Feelings?

Having Alisha as a bookkeeper with Wait. What? is my saving grace—talk about having people that are better than you at money management and being organized! She can tell you: I was a hot mess with my nonexistent bookkeeping skills when we started working together years ago! Alisha literally gives me peace of mind, I know that she knows what’s going on in my business and I love her advice and that she keeps me on track at all times! It has taken so much stress away from my business, and gives me the freedom to focus on what I love, making jewelry!  

Check out her beautiful jewelry HERE!

Money Moves




Making Makers Talk About Money – Melissa Tyson Designs

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