I love the concept for this shop because it IS nice to be able to buy something of quality for your daughter that she can pass down to the next generation and get it at a reasonable price. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoy this shop!
What do you make and what was/is the inspiration for your shop? I make birthstone and heirloom jewellery for little girls. My 6 year old daughter Lauren gave me the idea when she saw the jewellery I was making for women and asked for her own gemstone necklace. I thought, “Why not? Little girls appreciate beautiful things too, sometimes even more so that adults.” Soon after, My First Jewellery was born.
Tell us how your creativity has woven itself into your life’s journey to make you what you are today. I have always been a crafter. I have dabbled in beading, needlework, crochet, scrapbooking and other paper crafts, drawing and sewing. I studied Interior Design in College, and designed custom closets part-time for several years. When I decided that I wanted to craft full-time, I considered many different mediums. But the very first time I picked up some sterling wire, a beautiful gemstone and some pliers, I was hooked. I knew that I had found the right medium for me, because I couldn’t get enough of it. The fact that I love sparkly things helps! After almost two years I am still as excited about jewellery making as I was on that very first day. And I’m finally using those sketching, proportion and colour theory classes that I took in school, just in a different way.
|Pink Tourmaline for October|
In what other areas of your life (or interests that you have) do you see your creativity shining through? Definitely writing. If I hadn’t become a jewellery designer, I may have ended up writing for a living. My favourite type of writing is poetry, and I have written dozens of poems, mostly geared to children. It’s on my To Do list to have them published some day! For now, my audience is one appreciative little girl who is learning to appreciate poetry in the same way I did when I was young.
What is your vision for the future of your business? I want to develop a line of birthstone jewellery for girls aged 3-tween. My product line will include many core styles that I will always have available, with new designs being introduced regularly in order to keep things fresh and interesting. I want to expand into wholesale at some point, as well as showcase my work at jewellery parties which I find are a lot of fun for everyone. As much as I want my business to succeed financially, my lifestyle is of equal importance to me and I want to sell in ways that support that lifestyle. While my daughter is young, attending weekend-long craft fairs is not reasonable for me. So I hope to achieve success online, through wholesale, and parties that I can plan around our family’s schedule.
Tell us about your typical day. I take Lauren to school in the morning and then settle down with my coffee in front of the computer. This is my time to check my three shops, catch up on Facebook and twitter, check my various e-mails and chat about business in the forums. I allow myself until 10:00, but after that, I must move away from the computer or else before I know it, half of the day is gone! The bulk of my day is spent doing a combination of the following: designing and making new jewellery, photographing, listing jewellery in my online shops, ordering supplies, packing orders, mailing orders and communicating with customers. Lunch is about 10 minutes long and is eaten at the computer, then it’s back to work. At 3:30 I pick Lauren up from school and we have some time together reading, talking and snacking. When she’s ready for some downtime, I go back to work until 6:00 when my husband comes home and starts looking around for dinner (yes, I’m the only one who cooks). I tear myself away from my craft room and make dinner for my starving family. Then there’s the usual kitchen clean-up, dog-feeding (we have a large furry family) and bathtime. While Lauren’s in the bath, I sneak back into my craft room so that I can list an item for those perusing my shop in the evening. Sometimes I can make a necklace, photograph it and list it before I hear the tub draining! Moms have to be efficient. After storytime and bedtime, I spend a little time online before my husband gives me that look. The look that says, “Are you going to be on there all night?” That’s my cue that my work day is over. And you know what? I can’t wait to get started again the next day!
Are you trained as an artist? I hold a diploma for Interior Design from Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. And though I’m not designing spaces, I find that many of the elements that I studied all those years ago come into play now. The most prominent one is colour, which factors into all types of design. Proportion is also a main element of jewellery design, as is the ability to sketch out an idea and make it a reality. I am trained to look for inspiration in everyday things, magazines, stores, the outdoors. This comes naturally after studying design for three years. As far as designing jewellery is concerned, I am self-taught. I picked up a free booklet one day in a craft store that showed how to create a wrapped loop with wire. I tried it, and the rest is history.
|Peridot for August|
What is one thing you will be going out of your way to learn more about in the coming year to benefit your business? Without a doubt it is the business side of things, namely the necessary bookkeeping and income reporting that comes with any business. While I do keep track of expenses and sales, I need to do it in such a way that will make it easy come income tax time. It’s a necessary evil.
What steps are you taking to ensure your products follow applicable child safety laws? My first idea for my line of jewellery for little girls included less expensive materials, namely silver plated chain, Swarovski crystals, lampwork beads and colourful enameled charms. Then I started reading up on child safety laws and quickly realized that this was not going to be possible. The chain that I was buying was from other sellers and I didn’t know what the base metal was. Having each item tested was not going to be financially feasible. So I switched gears and started buying only sterling silver chain and findings from a major wholesale company that can guarantee the material and provide me with lot numbers. The stones that I use are all genuine, natural gemstones and pearls. There is nothing in my jewellery that is harmful to children, and I’m happy now with my new direction. Instead of fun, costume jewellery, my pieces are meant to be given as gifts to flower girls, at christenings and for birthdays. They grow with the child, so it is jewellery that is kept and cherished for some time. This is a good choice in a tough economy where people are looking for things that will last.
Here are the links to My First Jewellery and Jennifer’s Facebook Page for women, which she sometimes uses to promote the pieces she makes for little girls. http://www.myfirstjewellery.etsy.com http://www.facebook.com/livjewellery