Time for the last part of the March Meet the Maker challenge; days 21-31! Just in case you have missed what the March Meet the Maker challenge is all about, I wrote about it back in March, when it started. The challenge meant daily content for a month, designed for getting to know independent small makers and their businesses. You can check out the other parts here: Part I and Part II.
Day 21 – STORIES – A DAY IN THE LIFE
There isn’t really such a thing as a typical day for me. Working for myself from home allows me to drop off and pick up our 2 children from school and nursery every day and my working day revolves around the kids. About 50% of my work time, at most, is spent actually making jewellery, which is probably a surprise to many! The rest is spent on all the other things you need to do to run a business, especially one that sells mainly online.
Every day is slightly different depending on what orders I have to make that day. I then slip in all the other bits needed on a daily basis; email, social media (huuugely time consuming!), taking product and progress photos etc. Sometimes I try to set aside a whole day for just doing business related things like work on my web site, social media, accounts, blogging, writing newsletters, training and research and product development. There is a lot more to being a jeweller than making jewellery!
Day 22 – SKETCHBOOKS & LISTS
If you remember, I talked about lists on day 19 as the thing I can’t live without, so I won’t waffle on about them anymore! ? I don’t sketch very much, but I do write my ideas and planned designs down all the time, and the visuals mostly live in my head. As for a lot of other people, many of the ideas don’t necessarily finish as I planned them, but that’s the beauty of it all, you start and see where the metal and stones take you! ?
Day 23 – HANDS AT WORK
As mentioned the other day, of course my hands are the most important tool of all, they are amazing (!) and I obviously couldn’t do all this without them. This pic shows me setting a lovely emerald into a silver ring using a favourite piece of kit of mine, the GRS BenchMate stone/ring setting device. The ring will hopefully soon be listed in my online shop!
Day 24 – ACHIEVEMENTS
I am a self-taught jeweller and have never really won (nor entered into!) any awards as such, apart from a competition organised by the Guild of Jewellery designers a few years ago (for the piece in the picture). Although it would be nice to be recognised other than by my gorgeous customers, I have to be honest. I love my work and what I do, but by far my greatest achievements are my two children. Cheesy, I know! ? But I am lucky to have them, they make my life full, they make me laugh, they cheer me up when I need it, they comfort me when I’m sad and they also regularly drive me crazy! All in all, they are the best thing that has ever happened to me!
Day 25 – BEING A MAKER MEANS…
…having flexibility enough to work around my young family. Being able to live in a beautiful part of the country, by the sea. The opportunity to use my hands and be creative for a living. Being able to play with amazing and inspiring stones! Working from home, selling to the world. Watch people wear what I made with my two hands, and get awesome feedback. Get to meet some rather amazing people in the process, customers and fellow creatives alike! You gotta love it really!! ?
Day 26 – BOOKS, BLOGS AND PODCASTS
At the moment I’m working through the book Brand Brilliance by the brilliant (!) Fiona Humberstone. Apart from this book, I mostly learn from watching videos online these days. YouTube is great for learning new techniques and skills. I follow a few blogs for online marketing and also watch a few podcasts. I’m currently taking part in the “Dream Plan Do” programme by Patricia van den Akker and this involves training podcasts as well. It’s a one year long coaching programme that takes you through different topics each month to work on all aspect of my business. It’s really good so far, and you get a beautiful planner book to do all the work in. I chose the ochre yellow one! ?
Day 27 – RECOMMEND A MAKER
“Sharing is caring.” That is what my daughter is taught are her nursery and she and her friends use that phrase a lot, especially when they want a toy that someone else is playing with! ? So, here’s a caring share! One of my friends (who’s daughter also happens to be in my son’s class at school) is also a jeweller. The lovely Chloe Michell @chloemichelljewellery specialises in engagement and weddings rings, heirloom re-designs and also takes on commissions for other special pieces. She makes some gorgeous jewellery, her rings are absolutely beautiful, and you should definitely check her out! ?
Day 28 – ORGANISED
I am so NOT organised. A lot of creatives are a bit like this, they have quite chaotic work spaces and ideas flying around all the time. I wish I was more organised and I do hope to at least get a bit better now I have moved my workshop into the office space in our house. My workbench is cleaner than it’s been in years and I am hoping that keeping it clear around where I work will stop me from being distracted by sparkly stones looking at me! Here’s to a future with a tidy bench! ?
Day 29 – COMMUNITY
As a self-employed jeweller and “one girl band”, community is really important to stay sane and connected with the real world! It’s very easy to feel isolated and start doubting yourself when things aren’t quite working out. I’m a member of an American jeweller coaching programme and it really helped me in many ways, both with jewellery related questions but also personal support. I have also joined a new crowd here in the UK, the brilliant Dream, Plan, Do programme and I’m hoping it will provide me with the support, focus and inspiration that I need. I also have a few so called accountability partners although we haven’t so much held each other accountable as had a good old chin wag! Community… 😉
Day 30 – TOP TIP/ADVICE
It can be hard and I need to take this advice myself actually! Surround yourself with supportive people, avoid those that don’t believe in you or can’t say nice things. Life is too short to put up with rubbish from people who are jealous or selfish. Believe in yourself and spread the love!
Day 31 – CREATIVE FRIENDS
Being a small business means that I’m “it”! No work mates, no chat by the coffee machine and brainstorming over leisurely lunches with colleagues. A lot of my creative I got to know online on courses, social media, trade organisations, Facebook groups and so on. I’m chatting regularly with my 2 accountability buddies @jaynerozariojewellery and @kathrynpartingtonjewellery although the plan of holding each other accountable didn’t really work out! ? However, we’re supporting each other in whatever it is that’s going on in our work and personal lives, which is lovely.
I’ve also mentioned I’m taking part in “Dream Plan Do” and via that I’ve teamed up with fellow Swede Marie from @zedigdesign, which is very exciting! We haven’t actually got started yet, mainly due to me being too busy to get going… I’m hoping this will change very soon though!
I DID IT!!
March Meet the Maker is finished for this year! It was fun, inspiring, thought provoking and hard work all at the same time! Thanks to @joannehawker for starting this thing up in the first place, what a great idea. Thank you SO much to everyone who read, liked, commented and shared my posts, and generally put up with the whole thing for 31 days, all about me and my biz! I’m going to create a few blog posts with the content from this, if you fancy reading any of it again. Now I am looking forward to making some new fab products and to develop my biz further in 2018. I am so grateful for all my supporters, friends and clients and hope to be in touch with you all during the rest of this year. From the bottom of my heart – THANK YOU!
That concludes the little mini series! Hope you enjoyed reading these little tid bits about me, my jewellery and my business, with a few personal thing thrown in.
Did you read the first 10 days? If not, go to Part I and Part II of the March Meet The Maker 2018 series.
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