MEET THE MAKER
Jewellery is more than just a fashion accessory. It’s a statement, it’s a way of expressing yourself in the most extravagant or in the simplest of styles. There are so many varieties and styles of jewellery. Which is why now more than ever, people are searching for more unique and extraordinary pieces. And better yet, people are creating their own.
Pedddle’s three Featured Traders of the week all have one thing in common; creating their very own special and beautiful ranges of jewellery. Get to know our three Featured Traders of the week, Pedddle stallholder members Norio Knots, Small Dog Silver and BowerBird Jewellery. In this Q&A, we discuss how each trader grew and developed their own businesses and how they are gearing up to return to the markets this summer.
Pedddle: Tell Us a Little More About Your Business
Norio Knots: Why hello there! I’m Nonia, aka the maker, creator, designer, marketing , PR, finance, basically everything of Norio Knots. Norio Knots is a business that provides accessories and kits using 100% recycled cotton and when called for, stainless steel findings.
Small Dog Silver: I work from my small studio in rural Shropshire where I handcraft sterling silver, gold, copper and gemstone jewellery using traditional metalsmithing techniques. I make a lot of one of a kind pieces that I base around gemstones from my ever increasing collection – I definitely have magpie tendencies! The beautiful countryside surrounding my home studio is my constant inspiration, seen in my use of nature motifs and themes. The beautiful countryside surrounding my studio is my constant inspiration, seen in my use of nature motifs and themes. I often ‘print’ leaves into the reverse of pieces – the back should always look as pretty as the front!
I sometimes take on commission pieces and have remodelled broken and unused jewellery into new pieces for some lovely customers.
I take care to tread softly in my making, reusing and recycling silver and gold where possible – I only buy ‘new’ bullion when I absolutely have to and do try to select eco options even then. My packaging is all recyclable, from the cotton pouches that your jewellery arrives in to the mailing boxes which are sealed with paper tape.
Bowerbird Jewellery: I design and create mixed media jewellery and accessories, that are a little bit quirky and that definitely make a statement! I love to make jewellery using all sorts of mediums such as fabric, Japanese paper, wooden shapes, embossing enamel, yarn, resin and found objects – in fact, just about anything!
I am inspired by nature and the world around us and through that many of my passions like William Morris and Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco design, my love of animals – plus the fact that I am a science and history geek – all find themselves in my designs!
I create a wide range of jewellery and accessories such as dangle and stud earrings, rings, pendants, bracelets and brooches, plus hair accessories and keyrings too! I not only make finished jewellery, but I teach jewellery making too! I am an Adult Education tutor in Cornwall, as well as an independent tutor, but I’ve also been published in UK and International jewellery making magazines with how-to projects! I also create downloadable PDF’s to make your own beaded creations and the occasional online tutorial – plus more so watch this space!
Pedddle: What Motivated You To Launch Your Own Business?
Norio Knots: Looking back, I’ve been a creator of jewellery for many years, as early as when I attended university where a project included business creation, and jewellery was made using beads as the foundation. Dare I say it, I’m glad all traces of those pieces are no more because they were not the greatest! So, I have been making jewellery for a good number of years, but it was important that Norio Knots included some of my own values, namely an ethical and sustainable approach. I’m a great believer in small changes contributes to greater changes, hence the use of recycled cotton in my pieces. The decision to make jewellery and accessories using 100% recycled cotton, specifically OEKO-TEX standard 100 certified cotton, ensures the fabric is kind to the skin, and does not contain any harmful chemicals which means it’s also kind to the environment. It goes without saying the vast majority would like to led a more conscious existence, but at times, it can be challenging, and question how that may look in reality. I’ve removed one obstacle through combining ethical and sustainable resources to produce beautiful, vibrant accessories and kits for those with crafty fingers.
Small Dog Silver: I started out back in 2009 creating beaded jewellery, I then moved into wire weaving using copper and larger gemstones. After a short course at a local craft college where I learnt the fundamentals of soldering, I was hooked! Starting my own business seemed the next logical step and gave me a creative outlet, polar opposite from my day job in IT.
Bowerbird Jewellery: I’ve always had a passion for making jewellery, in fact I’ve always been creative, ever since I was a child! After moving to Cornwall for a more creative life, I decided to take the plunge and start my jewellery business and call it Bowerbird Jewellery – a perfect name for an Aussie who loves shiny beads! After making jewellery as a hobby for many years and gifting my handmade jewellery to friends as well as commissions, I just thought the time was right to seriously make a go at selling my jewellery! I also love to use my jewellery to highlight environmental issues like making Sloth jewellery to highlight their plight from deforestation or creating jewellery from sea plastic I’ve collected from my local beach.
Pedddle: Why do you think giving jewellery is so important right now?
Norio Knots: Jewellery remains very important because although as we see lockdown restrictions ease, and certain businesses reopen, many of us will continue to be very much virtually present. Many will continue to be Masters of Zoom (can we lobby universities for the introduction of a new programme, MSc of Zoom- we’d all pass with distinction!) calls, Team calls and similar, but also in the instance where some may not feel comfortable visiting friends and relatives, video calling will remain firmly in place. This means it’s still important to look and feel our best.
Adding a spot of colour in the shape of jewellery is the easiest way to update all looks, as well as build confidence. I particularly like to read these comments because not only does it give the wearer a boost, but also me as the creator. It’s a double happy win! At any given time, I carry 23 – 27 colours to choose from, which allows all items to personalised, injecting the personality of the wearer into the piece.
Small Dog Silver: Jewellery can be a reminder of a loved one, or an amazing time in your life. It can make you feel closer to distant or departed family members and friends, lift your mood or just look amazing against the lining of your jewellery box. It’s tactile and at it’s best, is a form of wearable art. It’s a way of expressing your own style and historically pieces of jewellery had political or social commentary meanings ascribed to them. It’s so much more than ‘just a ring’ or ‘just a necklace’ – jewellery can even be your own personal armour.
Bowerbird Jewellery: I think jewellery is a great way to cheer a good friend up or just to say ‘I’m thinking of you’. Jewellery comes in all sorts of designs, mediums and styles, you can usually find something that’s just right for someone you know! Plus, it’s a great medium to show your own personality and style – to be unique. At a Christmas market a couple of years ago, someone bought a fabric badger brooch from me for a friend saying that it was perfect for them, they’d just finished a dissertation on Badgers! Plus – most jewellery can fit in slim boxes, so it’s a perfect happy letterbox gift too!
Pedddle: In Your Opinion, Why Is It So Important to Shop Small, Independent and Locally?
Norio Knots: There are millions of reasons to shop small, independent and local. But the one thing about small businesses that I love is that we are very adaptable and resilient. Often times, we are the sole employer/employee of our business, and are able to make decisions virtually on the spot rather than larger organisations who may not have such freedom.
In addition, we are so connected to our customers and the local community. Customer service as a small business owner is the best. We are very aware that our business is an extension of us. Keeping good relations and reputation is paramount. I take great pleasure reading reviews where “exceptional customer service” is mentioned. This is when I do my little joyful dance as I’m doing something right (thank you!).
Small Dog Silver: Supporting small business is a way to directly contribute to the local economy – it’s quite literally what puts shoes on feet and food on tables. Larger chain stores create employment, but the kill individuality on the high street – why just buy what everyone else has? Indie brands offer more than just a great product – they offer a chance to be part of an exclusive owners club – where you know that the piece you have bought has been lovingly created by the person who sold it to you. When we say we do a happy dance after a sale – we really aren’t joking!
Bowerbird Jewellery: When you shop small, you are buying something that’s made by a real person, who has a real passion for what they make and if they’re like me, add a bit of their personality to it as well! I think especially through this pandemic the shift has been to really focus on buying local, from independent buyers, as many people couldn’t go to the high street, the choice was really limited to online and being small independent makers, we can be really flexible and switch our business to online!
Plus, for me personally, I really like to wear clothes and accessories that are personal and unique – something that you’ll not see everyone wearing – that’s not mass-produced from a country hundreds of miles away and that has a smaller carbon footprint – the environment is an important factor too. Whenever I get a sale, I do a happy sales dance, so pleased that someone loved that snowdrop pendant or Ada Lovelace key ring just as much as I did when I made it! I think it’s a real boost to my confidence and confirmation that there’s other people out there who love my jewellery!
Pedddle: As We Get Back To In-Person Markets, What Are You Most Looking Forward To About Returning To Markets?
Norio Knots: I also organise markets under the banner of Crafty North Londoner, North London. I’m really (really!) looking forward to popping a few dates into the calendar and organise a few in-person markets, I think mainly because I love engaging with those who attend (I do love a chit-chat!). Although virtual markets has been great, it’s important to keep commerce human.
Small Dog Silver: Being able to chat to customers in person and be around other creative people! as a small business it can be quite isolating and being amongst other like minded people and amazing customers is so uplifting! We can;t wait to see you all again!
Bowerbird Jewellery: Hopefully being accepted to more in-person markets! As a jewellery designer, it can be really difficult to get into craft markets as there’s always a lot of jewellers applying too and there just isn’t enough room! I’ve been really lucky to have been accepted to quite a few online markets this past year, like Folksy’s Mother’s Day shopping event recently, in which myself and other lovely makers were live talking about the actual items you could buy from us, in conjunction with Strykin! That was a bit nerve-racking but really fun! I’m looking forward to trying out different ways to display my jewellery on the table, plus talking to lots of lovely buyers and other sellers of course (although I am a bit shy!) I always do mini jewellery demos on my table when I sell in person – people say it’s very therapeutic and relaxing watching me create a beaded item, adding a small tiny seed bead one at a time!!
Blog written by Mehar. Click here to meet the Pedddle team!