Whether it’s for sentiment or self-expression, buying to treat yourself or gifting a loved one, jewellery is something we can all enjoy. This week’s Meet the Maker brings a visual array of styles and designs from a selection of Pedddle‘s fabulous jewellery makers, and we wanted to get to know them better.
We chatted with our featured stallholders, Loups, Erika Price Artisan Jewellery, Myleti Jewellery, Katie Johnston Jewellery, Wild Me Jewellery, Corinne Evans Jewellery, about their process, materials, maintaining and even starting a business during lockdown. Read on to find out more…
Pedddle: What was your journey into making jewellery and using the materials you work with?
Corinne Evans Jewellery: When looking for a university to attend, I visited the metalwork department at Sheffield Hallam University. The workshops felt alive with creativity and I knew it was the path for me. So I began a BAHons degree in Metalwork and Jewellery Design, and graduated in 2010. My designs are inspired by nature, and I use a combination recycled sterling silver, copper and brass to create them. My late Great Aunty inspired me to explore the mixture of silver and copper, as she used to request robin themed jewellery. Since then, I’ve incorporated a mix of metals in the majority of my designs.
Wild Me Jewellery: I’ve been interested in wildlife photography for many years but had never done anything with my photos. By turning them into jewellery, it was the perfect way to create a completely new product, something that is tailored to women, and put my photography out in to the world. It’s been a really interesting journey learning the different printing processes and tweaking it to make it work for my products, as well as starting up a business from scratch!
Katie Johnston Jewellery: I’ve always loved making, but on a visit to Bali where I signed up for 3 day silversmithing course and loved it so much that I stayed for 5 weeks! My style is always evolving – I like to explore the experimental nature of the materials.
Myleti Jewellery: I have always loved and worn jewellery and I was a designer/buyer in the fashion industry for 13 years specialising in accessories. The jewellery I worked on during my career was all made out of India and china and was classified as ‘fast fashion’ type pieces that tarnished and didn’t last. It made me want to explore how to make my own jewellery that didn’t cost the earth and was good quality. So I decided to take up jewellery making, purely as a hobby to begin with, and went on an introductory silversmith course with The London Jewellery School at the beginning of 2020. I was hooked, and haven’t stopped making and learning since. I then ended up leaving my buying career to work on Myleti full time. I think my style is still developing a little, but every piece I design and make is something that I personally would love to wear – which is an eclectic mixture of timeless, organic designs, with a hint of vintage inspiration. With lot’s of pretty layering pieces that are all super easy to wear and can all be mixed and matched together.
Loups: I studied textile crafts at Huddersfield University and then did a masters in fashion and textiles at Manchester, so I definitely have a passion for wearable textiles. Textiles crafts have always been a part of my life, starting with my Nana teaching me to knit from a very early age. I set up Loups whilst on maternity leave with my son, as I found that I had time to play and be creative whilst he was tiny and sleeping and it went from there.
What do you think it is about buying jewellery that makes it such a popular thing?
Myleti Jewellery: I think jewellery is so important! Not only is it something to wear for special occasions, but I find that putting on a simple pair of earrings or a necklace can instantly lift my mood and is my form of self expression – even if I’m just wearing a casual jumper and jeans.
It is also the perfect gift to buy loved ones, because of the sentimentality and keepsake nature of jewellery it is perfect right now for the times we are in, when a lot of us have maybe re-assessed just how important family and friends are. It is something to be treasured and can be passed down the generations. I have jewellery passed down to me from my great Grandmother that is hugely special to me.
Corinne Evans Jewellery: I’ve always loved the sculptural aspect of handmade jewellery. It is a way of carrying a small piece of art with you – a piece of art that will last a life time and can be handed down to future generations.
Katie Johnston Jewellery: I love to accessorise, and jewellery can add that something special to an outfit. It can symbolise different messages and have meanings to the wearer.
Loups: I personally love colour and I think my jewellery is a great way of adding a pop of colour or pulling out an accent colour from your outfit. I think at the moment that is important as we all need a bit of cheering up and I think colour can do that for you if you get it right. Also, it really doesn’t hurt to jazz up your zoom-meeting outfit!
Wild Me Jewellery: I think it’s so important to give back and protect the environment and this is my little contribution to that – I’m able to do it through selling something so popular but so diverse! 25% of all my profits are donated to a nature charity that those earrings are paired up with. It’s also very unique – I’ve never seen anyone do this before with jewellery, and I’ve being a female wildlife photographer having products tailored to women in this field is highly unusual.
Pedddle: How did you begin to sell your pieces, and what do you like about selling at markets?
Loups: I live in York, which has a great arts and culture ‘scene’. It also has a fab network of makers who are really welcoming! I love to do markets as you meet so many other makers and make connections with like minded people who you can learn from and share your knowledge and experience. I also love markets for finding new local businesses to support. I like to buy from people, hear their story, process and getting that passion for their product first hand. I always spend my money!
Myleti Jewellery: My business came to life during the first lockdown in 2020, so it was only an online business to begin with. So, once rules relaxed later in 2020, I couldn’t wait to get out to craft markets and actually meet potential customers face to face. I love being able to merchandise my collections altogether to create that real visual brand experience for people to shop, as well as connecting with them on a personal level and telling them the story behind each piece and how it was created.
Wild Me Jewellery: Markets are the best way to get direct feedback from your customers and I love interacting with people directly. It such a unique product that it attracts people that I generally love being around anyway!
Katie Johnston Jewellery: I first started selling my jewellery in the Florist I was working at. My jewellery gained exposure at local art trails, and it blossomed from there!
Corinne Evans Jewellery: Running a business alone can be bit solitary at times, so I started getting involved with local markets as a way to meet new people and to be part of Bristol’s vibrant maker community. My first market was at the Tobacco Factory (Bristol) in 2016 and I instantly fell in love with the atmosphere of the market.
Pedddle: How has living through a pandemic changed your business, and what’s to come in 2021?
Katie Johnston Jewellery: There was a sharp learning curve during lockdown. Learning more about virtual markets, social media, Instagram, SEO’s, website design and engaging with an online audience has been important and a great help! During lockdown, people’s appreciation of nature seems to have grown. I have noticed a definite increase in people buying my ‘Hedgerow’ collection, so I think next I’ll give it a bit of a makeover, adding some more designs and colour.
Wild Me Jewellery: I have had much more time to focus on developing my jewellery and my business. Initially this was only my side business – I usually travel a lot filming wildlife for television, so getting so much downtime to develop my jewellery and my business that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. It’s been challenging and rewarding in so many ways. I’m just about to release a whole raft of new products – some different types of earrings that I’ve made before but also completely new earrings, and I’m also expanding into necklaces and soon keychains and some homeware as well! The more I keep working on the business the more excited I get about seeing it grow.
Corinne Evans Jewellery: Before the pandemic, my working week was structured around markets at the weekends. The pandemic has meant that I have adapted to predominately online selling, which has meant working on my website, listings, photography and packaging design. It’s been a challenge but they are all worthwhile skills to improve upon. This year, I have been focusing of making my business zero waste. Items in my popular new ‘Pebble’ range, are made from cut-off bits of silver. I’m looking forward to expanding this range with more designs in this style.
Loups: I’ve always sold on an online selling platform and the boost that got when we first went into lockdown was great, but I had to find new ways to engage with existing customers and alternative ways to find new ones. Instagram lives are so important! Thanks to Pedddle I’ve been getting to grips with these, and also I started looking into various online market platforms, which was a totally new thing to me, but really enjoyable. I did launch a few new products last year, and this year I want to expand on them. I’ll be making more polymer clay bead necklaces for the summer markets and I have more colour combinations to launch too. I think we’re all still finding our feet in this new half online half in person world, so I will be doing more of the same, further building my network and community!
Myleti Jewellery: My business was born out of the first lockdown in 2020, so I actually don’t know any different! I feel like I’ll almost have to learn to adapt it in the ‘normal world’ instead. I’ve just been working on a beautiful model photoshoot with a fantastic independent photographer, Chloe Upton, to showcase an exciting new summer jewellery range I’ve created, so I cannot wait to see those photos and launch the collection to everyone! I also plan on branching out and working on a special premium, solid gold range of jewellery later on in the year.
Pedddle: What does shopping from small, independent sellers mean to you?
Wild Me Jewellery: By shopping small, you are doing so many things all in one purchase: supporting individuals who are starting out, supporting the development of art, craft and creativity, supporting local communities and working together, directly making an impact on someone’s life and by buying you are also giving. There’s so much heart and soul that goes into small makers’ products and you can always tell. You are supporting someone’s dream.
Corinne Evans Jewellery: Every pound we spend goes toward creating a world we want to see. By shopping small you are supporting the dreams, passions and livelihoods of people in your local community. Even the smallest purchase can mean the world to a small business.
Loups: Use it or lose people! Everyone wants to be able to go to a local high street and have a little browse, to be able to physically touch things to understand the quality and scale. Don’t get me wrong, I like the convenience of online shopping, but I always want to have the choice. I’m a fan of artisan, unusual and bespoke items and I don’t want something that everyone has. The personal service you get from a local independent just can’t be rivalled by bigger businesses – beautifully wrapped, with hand written notes and you can feel the love that went into making it.
Myleti Jewellery: It is hugely important, as not only will you find unique and quality made products, but small businesses actually really care and can offer a personal experience and better customer service. Every purchase means to the world to a small business – (it’s true that we really do a ‘happy dance’ when something is bought from us) – whereas big retailers just see you as a number. Also buying from handmade and sustainable brands means you are helping to make a positive change in the fashion industry.
Katie Johnston Jewellery: I’m fortunate enough to live near Gloucester Road in Bristol – the longest road of independent shops in the UK! You can find gorgeous handmade, ethically sourced items made by local makers and communities.
This blog was written by Caitlin. Click here to meet the Pedddle team.