Suzanne, When and how did you start making jewellery?
Well, I’ve always loved buying jewellery for myself but one day my friend told me that she went on a jewellery making course and that was it, I wanted to give it a try. So approximately 4 years ago I started making jewellery.
Did you have any formal training?
At first I taught myself using various publications but then later went on to study with the most recent course being silversmithing and the next course silver clay.
How would you define your jewellery making style?
My style generally involves wire whether it is of the jump ring variety or wrapping it. My main style at present is chain maille; I love making it and find it very therapeutic. Once you’ve discovered and mastered a particular weave I will happily sit in front of the TV and work away.
In the very near future I’m looking to incorporate precious metal clay into my designs.
What is the highlight of your jewellery making career so far?
Well Chasing Beads only really officially launched in October last year as previously I had only been doing it part time, but now I have more time to dedicate towards it the company is growing little by little each month. I guess my greatest achievement so far is launching my own website – it has taken many months of hard work, yet the launch is just the beginning.
What inspired you to start up your ‘Chasing Beads’ business?
Since I discovered the world of jewellery making I found I never had the time to sit down and actually make anything when I was working full time for someone else. I wasn’t particularly happy in my job at the time so I thought it’s now or never. I’d already done some research so I decided to just go for it. However, I do have to say if it wasn’t for my very supportive husband I wouldn’t be where I am today – for that I’m eternally greatful!
Where and how do you sell your jewellery?
I initially started on Ebay selling beads, which I still do, in order to fund my jewellery making supplies. As months went by my jewellery making skills grew and I gained enough confidence to start selling my jewellery. First off my Mum hosted a jewellery party, which was a massive success and really did give me the confidence boost I needed so I decided to branch out and start selling my wares on other third party market places such as Folksy, Wow Thankyou and Artfire to help me gain more exposure. Then in April 2011 I launched my own own website, Chasing Beads.
I still host jewellery parties and am soon to launch children’s jewellery making classes. If you’d be interested in hosting a party then please feel free to email me.
How has your business grown and developed?
As mentioned previously we started off by selling beads and then branched out in selling our own jewellery range. The last 6 months Chasing Beads really has taken off. We’ve gained hundreds more followers on Facebook and Twitter, we’re gaining more press exposure online and sales are increasing on a month by month basis, however it’s the next year or so that should be really interesting. Next step is to sell jewellery making classes.
What do you look for in a bead?
I love anything with a bit of sparkle but I also love lampwork and vintaj style beads/charms.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I get most of my inspiration from colour – seeing things sitting next to each other give me ideas on what I’d like to make. Also the weather can be very inspiring.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of setting up a business to sell their jewellery designs?
Have confidence in your product. Give it time to build your customer base, it won’t happen overnight. Promote through social media and work hard, hard, hard. And finally – enjoy it!