From her Etsy and insta, Jemma’s jewellery speaks for itself! Let’s dive into the interview!
1. What first led you in the direction of making jewellery?
My friends will all know that I have a fairly public obsession with jewellery, especially earrings. For a year or so now, I had been debating whether or not to give jewellery making a real go. My Pinterest is full of clay earring tutorials and tips and I have always followed lots of small businesses on instagram in particular. During the lockdown period I decided it was time to go for it!
2. How did you actually start making and selling jewellery, did it start as a hobby?
I started making earrings around 2 months ago. I had just come home early from University, and was keen to find something to keep me occupied after I had finished my assignments for the year. Next thing I knew I had ordered in a heap of clay and earring findings and I’ve not looked back since! In terms of selling, my first few pairs were a real tester to see if people would like my style and designs. Since then it’s been great to progress and put up more pairs for sale – I have now released multiple collections.
3. What has been the single most important jewellery-making skill you’ve learned and why?
Patience! When you are buying from a small business, you are paying for so much more than just a wonderful handmade product. You are also paying for the mistakes and lots of hours of work to create a product that you really love. I’ve found it so important to realise that not every piece you make will be perfect, and that’s okay! In terms of specific skills though, I would say that sanding my pieces has been the most important skill I have learned.
Before I set up Jem’s Jewellery, I had no idea the difference that sanding could make to the quality of your pieces. It is time consuming for sure, but absolutely worth it if you want your jewellery to look really finished and smooth. Now, I can’t imagine ever creating a pair of earrings without sanding them!
4. What does a typical day look like for you when you make your products?
I like to do the bulk of my making in the morning as I find I’m more productive and creative at that point. I begin by picking my colours to marble and which designs I’ll be creating that day. I love this part of the making process because it’s really creative and I love seeing new marbling outcomes each time! Once the pieces are cut and I’m happy with how they look, I’ll pop them in the oven to bake. (This is the point where I’ll probably make myself some lunch as well because I’m always hungry). Sanding and drilling all my earrings is definitely the most time consuming part of the day but it’s also the most rewarding because it’s when the pieces come together and I get to see the finished products! A big part of my day will also be taken up by photographing the earrings, usually in my garden or somewhere nice and light in the house.
5. What materials do you use?
All of my earrings are created using polymer clay. It’s a non toxic product that is widely used for jewellery making. All my hooks and studs are silver plated, hypoallergenic and lead, zinc and nickel free. However I am always willing to look into alternatives for those who can only wear sterling silver!
6. Is every design unique or are some designs so popular that you make multiple sets?
Ever since I began making earrings for Jem’s Jewellery, I was drawn to marbling / marbled pieces and the outcomes this technique created. The majority of my earrings use this marble design. Due to the unique handmade nature of the earrings, no two pairs are ever the same! I have found that with my most popular styles, it is sometimes helpful to create a few sets in one go, however, even when making pairs in batches, they will never look exactly the same.
7. What inspires your creativity when making a new designs?
I love drawing out sketches of new shapes / styles and experimenting with different colour combinations to create new designs. My friends have also inspired me with new designs, such as the Ruth split-circle earrings up on my page. Also, my wonderful customers and followers! I love creating polls, question boxes and quizzes on my Instagram stories to see what kinds of new designs they would like to see.
8. What’s your favourite piece of jewellery that you’ve made and why?
My favourite pair that I’ve made would be the ocean two tier danglies. I love the ocean colour combination as all the colours mix really well and the results are so different each time! In particular, I personally love this pair because the style of these earrings developed directly out of my very first pair of earrings that I put up for sale.
9. What challenges do you face when running your business and making your beautiful pieces?
As a relatively new small business, time management is sometimes a challenge! I am a full time student going into my final year with a part time job, and so balancing all of these things definitely keeps me on my toes! However, I’m loving the challenge and it has been so rewarding to see Jem’s Jewellery progress over the past few months.
10. What advice would you have for aspiring small businesses?
I saw a quote recently that read ‘…but what if it all goes right?’ and I think it is so true. If you are passionate and dedicated to your craft, you should believe in yourself and your small business aspirations! Small businesses are so incredibly important and also a brilliant way to promote slow fashion. Personally, I am SO happy that I took a chance on Jem’s Jewellery because it has brought me so much enjoyment, happiness and gratitude!
How inspiring! And what beautiful creations. Jemma – you truly are talented! Find Jem’s Jewellery on instagram – @Jemsjewellery_ and on her Etsy!
Loving local shops and supporting small businesses really isn’t that hard, plus with such gorgeous products, like the ones highlighted in this blog, how can you say no? Seeing businesses grow is beautiful, especially for the people behind the products who work so hard at developing and creating them!