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Meet the Maker; Sharon Mckinley Designs & Shine On

Meet the Maker

Meet two of this week’s featured traders, jewellery businesses Sharon Mckinley Designs and Shine On!

Shine On

Two of our featured traders this week are wonderful jewellery businesses Sharon Mckinley Designs and Shine On. Pedddle had the privilege of chatting to them about their creative worlds and everything that goes into making their products!

Read their Meet the Maker Q&A below where we asked all the important questions and found out their inspirations, processes and goals for the future!

Pedddle: We’d love to know more about your products and how it all began!

Shine On: Shine On was born in 2014,  a few years after MiniShine. Like so many others, I’m sure, I was looking for something that fitted in around family life. I’ve always loved being creative, and initially I made hand painted glass jewellery, but in 2016 I did a 90-minute taster class in silver clay and was hooked. I completed a one day course and unleashed my creativity in silver and copper metal clay. Loved it. But, always wanting more, I joined Workshop 925, a small jewellery school run by the amazing Kirsten Hendrich, to further develop my skills. Now, I mostly use more traditional methods and I get to hang out with a lovely bunch of creative and ever-encouraging women every week. I’m very lucky!

Sharon Mckinley Designs: Designing from my workshop in South Wales, I produce unique, edgy jewellery for those with a creative spirit. Focusing on ethically sourced leather and semi-precious stones, my design journey began with my love of crystals. I now have an extensive range of crystals and wellbeing gifts, including hand-poured soy and coconut wax candles and carefully curated healing boxes and crystals, which has been a dream of mine for years.

Pedddle: What’s the most important element of your creative process?

Sharon Mckinley Designs: The sustainability and carbon footprint of the business is at the forefront of what I’m  about. All my packaging is made from recycled material and fully biodegradable. I source my crystals and materials ethically and know their provenance working with trusted supplies and specialists whom also share my passion for the planet and it’s protection. The crystals I personally hand select, to bring you the very best nature has to offer whilst sharing my extensive knowledge on the crystals and their healing properties. 

Shine On: I work with sterling silver, copper and occasionally some semi-precious stones which I heat, cut, squish and bash into life in a small corner of my house. I love to make dainty, minimalist jewellery and am steadily building my collection of Tiny Shinies. I’m generally inspired by nature, either directly, I make lots of animal jewellery, or indirectly, with texture and tones. And then of course there is the slightly cheeky The Norklace.

Pedddle: Have you sold at any markets recently?

Shine On: I love markets. I’ve sold online for far longer than I’ve been attending in person events, but nothing beats that personal interaction. Initially, I only did markets in the Autumn Christmas season, but for 2020 I had booked markets all year. And then Covid struck, and of course they were all cancelled. I’ve done one market this year and it was wonderful to be out again. The customers were lovely and genuinely interested in my products, and I often get such great inspiration from them. It’s also amazing to spend the day with other exhibitors who are always a wealth of information, ideas and support.

Sharon Mckinley Designs: I have done a number of markets since lockdown and feel that they are crucial in building your business, reaching your customers and sharing your knowledge for that personal touch. Connecting with your customers and the feedback they give you is so key to building your business and sharing your knowledge!

Pedddle: In your opinion, why is it so beneficial to shop small?

Shine On: Ah, so many reasons. Firstly, you’ll get something more personal, more unique, something not churned out by the thousands and seen everywhere, but something made with care, consideration and creativity. If you buy online, you get to imagine them doing some whacky happy dance in their kitchen when the sale notification hits their phone. If you buy at a market, you get to chat to the actual person who made the thing you like, who loves it so much they created it from nothing. Small indie businesses are run by real people who really care about your purchase and are passionate about what they do, so generally the personal service you get is just the best. And of course, you know that your purchase makes such a difference to small local economies, communities and families. It’s a win win deal!

Sharon Mckinley Designs: For me, supporting small businesses is a way of life and an integral part of caring for each other and our environment. I feel I get a more personal experience with more thought and emotion going into each element of the product I buy from small businesses. I love supporting people’s dreams and small business is about dreams. I feel honoured that someone has taken the time to produce something for me or something I can in turn use in my business, wether that be packaging, crystals or other small elements that make my business tick and enable me to create. 

Pedddle: What’s next for your business?

Sharon Mckinley Designs: Moving forward into next year still feels a little unknown with the current situation, but I hope to continue to grow my business, meet more lovely people along the way and continue designing, learning new skills and following my dream!

Shine On: 2020 taught me not to hold too tightly to plans and expectations for the future. Having said that, I do have two main goals – I definitely would like to expand my range, use more stones and design bigger pieces, and also explore the world of wholesale. I’ve always sold online, so that wasn’t new, but the big thing I tackled during the lockdown period was building my own website. I did it myself, with the help of an amazing online course, while MiniShine was homeschooling. It was quite an education for both of us! I’d never done anything like it before, and while it’s still a work in progress, I’m over the moon that I managed to do it.