For this Meet the Maker chat, Pedddle spoke to two of its featured stallholders and fantastic small businesses, LorriSilver Jewellery, who makes sterling silver jewellery using gemstones and sea glass, and ForrSsa, who creates vibrant and abstract art prints for homes as well as greetings cards and gifts.
We chatted all things online and in-person selling, shopping small and their plans for the rest of 2021! Check out their Q&A below to read more.
Pedddle: How did your small business begin?
ForrSsa: I created ForrSsa in July 2020, after losing my job back in the February following some mental health struggles. I turned to creativity to express myself, and eventually found my way out of the fog. After a few months of designing and painting just for myself, I decided to start trying to sell my work. And now, here we are! I create original abstract art and colourful digital prints and hand painted cards for homeowners and renters to express their creativity and make their space feel like home. Art can be a funny thing to buy, it can feel exclusive and out of reach – at least that’s how I sometimes feel. So, a big part of ForrSsa is to make sure that it is accessible for everyone, and that includes the prices.
LorriSilver Jewellery: I have always enjoyed creative activities and started making jewellery many years ago, with my daughter. I progressed to working in silver about eight years ago and attended a silversmithing workshop at the local Wilmslow Guild. Since then, I’ve attended a number of specialist workshops to develop my skills further. LorriSilver Jewellery is now my main occupation and I have my own studio at home in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
Pedddle: We’d love to know more about your process, the materials you use and what you’re inspired by!
LorriSilver Jewellery: I love making individual, distinctive pieces of jewellery using gemstones and beach treasure, such as sea glass and sea pottery that I collect myself. My inspiration comes from nature and the world around us, and the beautiful gemstones I use in my designs. I enjoy walking with our young cocker spaniel, Poppy, often on wood trails or beaches and I frequently pick up treasures and spend time thinking and developing ideas for my designs.
Each piece is individual; crafted using traditional silversmithing techniques, eco silver and recycled gold where possible. My passion for gemstones and beach treasures means they are included in many of my designs introducing colour, and texture; ensuring each piece is one of a kind. Occasionally, a simple bezel setting is used as the beauty of the gemstone or beach treasure is statement enough.
ForrSsa: I take inspiration wherever I can find it, whether that’s colours, nature, shapes, anything really! I do what I can to operate sustainably, I use recycled materials as much as I can, as well as recycled or biodegradable packaging. There’s still lots I can do to improve and that’s something I’ll continue to focus on.
Pedddle: Why is it so beneficial to shop small?
ForrSsa: Every purchase you make with a small business actually makes a difference! I love that you can get to know the person behind the product and brand, hear their story, connect with their products and follow their story as they grow.
LorriSilver Jewellery: Shopping small is beneficial to both the customer and the seller. As a customer, I shop small, I love to buy different, unusual and personal items that are not available on the high street. The knowledge I am also supporting a small business and helping them grow is a great feeling. I like the personalised service, the wrapping, and the obvious care and attention that has gone into creating the items. It’s a win win!
As a small business owner, I love when my customers buy from me, aside from the monetary aspects, it’s a great feeling when someone likes what you’ve made enough to buy it and tell their friends about it. I put great care and consideration into my pieces and would never sell something I wasn’t 100% happy with; this is what you get with a small business. This is all aside from the need to support local economies, communities and individuals.
Pedddle: What do you enjoy about in-person markets?
LorriSilver Jewellery: Initially markets were the main outlet for my jewellery, I love the face to face contact with customers, hearing their comments and listening to what is important to them. This contact helps me understand my customers better. I like the relaxed vibe around craft markets and the support from other stall holders, even when they’re selling jewellery like myself. The contact and understanding gained from markets is crucial to understanding your customer and growing your business.
ForrSsa: I’ve actually only been to one real life market! I set up during lockdown so my first experience of selling at markets was all online. It was a really nice introduction to markets, getting to know all the different sellers on zoom calls before the markets was really lovely. I really want to get out to more real life markets in the future, it was so nice to speak to customers and have the opportunity to talk to them about my products. I plan to get out to as many as I can in the build up to Christmas.
Pedddle: What changes did your business face during the pandemic and how did you overcome them?
LorriSilver Jewellery: I already had an Etsy shop when the pandemic hit, but I had tended to focus more on markets, so it had been a bit neglected. However, during lockdown I became more focused on my online activities. I updated my Etsy shop and became more involved in activities on social media, mainly Instagram and Facebook. I also started developing my own website which is still a work in progress! Focusing on my business and social media was really helpful to both my business and my own mental wellbeing during this period.
ForrSsa: My business was born in the middle! Setting up during the pandemic has been challenging, but equally, if the pandemic hadn’t happened, I don’t think I would’ve had the opportunity!
Pedddle: what’s next for your business in 2021?
ForrSsa: My plans for the rest of the year are to get out to as many local markets as I can, I will also be working on new products ready to for Christmas. I look forward to meeting some of you there!
LorriSilver Jewellery: I intend to start doing craft fairs again later this year and have some festive events booked in for the autumn. I’m also planning to finish my website which is nearly complete. However, my main focus and something I’m really excited about is creating new jewellery designs from my extensive collection of gemstones and sea glass collected over the last year.