For thirteen years, I worked in administration, but due to ill health I
had to leave nine to five employment. Luckily, I was able to turn my current
hobby, jewellery design and creation, into a small business so I could
choose my own hours and work when I was physically able.
Ideally I would have loved to have gone to art college, but because my
jewellery does not involve using anything more complicated than glass beads,
pliers and wire, I was able to teach myself as I went along, so formal
training is not essential. An eye for what is fashionable and desirable,
the self-discipline to work continuously, confidence in your work and the
determination to make it as a small business is all that's really required.
I am up around 6.30am and tend to start work almost immediately. I tend
to remain in my pyjamas, surrounded by beads and wire, until around noon
when I will get ready to pop up to the post office to post jewellery to
people or just get some fresh air. I then spend the afternoon drawing up
new designs and ordering my beads, wire etc. on the Internet. I type up
and print my delivery notes for orders while I am at the computer too.
I usually spend roughly an hour making up little paper gift bags for use
when selling my jewellery. I then spend a few hours creating new pieces,
but not in any great hurry as I tend to watch some TV, listen to music
or catch up with friends at home or on the telephone while I work.
Pyjamas! Or anything comfortable I can sit around in. A perk of working
from home is that I can wear just about anything when I am working EXCEPT
when I am at craft fairs. That’s when I choose my favourite pieces
of jewellery and plan my outfit to show the jewellery off and advertise
Jewellery making gives you the potential to earn as much or as little as
you like. The harder and longer you work at it, the more money you will
I really love the fact that I can work when I want to and for as long as
I want to. Being answerable to me and no one else is wonderful too. I feel
no pressure and have the wonderful good fortune to be happy at my work.
An eye for what is fashionable and sellable is a very useful skill. I like
to take the latest fashions and work jewellery around them, using the latest
colour schemes and neckline shapes etc. Confidence is also essential really
when I am selling the pieces at craft fairs, I have to encourage people
to first come and look at my goods then keep their attention long enough
for them to stop and buy something.
The perks are quite simple ones really – being able to work when
and where I choose and wear what I want. The best perk is always having
the perfect accessories to wear with every outfit!
To make a small business work, there is a lot more involved than just making
jewellery. When it comes to selling it there are so many other things to
organise, such as finding out about fairs and exhibitions, applying for
space and then creating an attractive display and packaging. Creating a
'brand' through designing a logo and packaging is essential as it is important
to be remembered so that people will come back to you when they want more
Start off with a realistic idea of what you wish to achieve – it
really does take LOTS of work to make it into a decent living. Your family
and friends are a free mode of advertisement – encourage them to
wear your creations and carry your business cards to give to people who
There’s temptation to either undercharge or give
jewellery away free to friends and family, but remember that every piece
has cost you money – it’s lovely to give gifts, but each freebie
cuts into your all-important profit margin!
The most important piece of advice I can give is to
have confidence in your work. If YOU like what you have made, you can be
guaranteed that other people will like it too. Don't be disappointed if
someone does not buy anything after looking at your goods – they
may well want to buy something completely different, so smile and wait
for the next customer to come along!