How it started
When I first started making jewellery I was learning the techniques and spent many hours making things. I beavered away and obviously wore some myself, but mostly gave away the jewellery to friends and family. To be honest it took me so long to make things, and the quality was probably not the best, but I made things for the joy of making and loved the creative challenge. Soon I realised I loved the feeling of giving.
After a while I felt sure that family and friends would be fed up having jewellery as presents. Luckily at that point I was being asked often where I sold things, so I worked very hard to set up a website. And all was very exciting until I realised that after all my efforts very few new people actually came, so thank goodness for my lovely friends! I very nearly gave up... all that work for nobody to see!
Then I discovered Instagram. I have always loved it on there because it's such a friendly community. People are very generous with their comments and I've found that its a great place to get feedback about my products. Its so lovely to be able to talk to your customers when you don't have a bricks and mortar shop.
So I held a few giveaways; the lucky winners have always been very happy with their wins and I get to find out more about what people like. I have also been lucky enough to win a few prizes too! Happily I was getting found and have built so many lovely friendships on Instagram too. I’m now managing to get a steadily increasing flow of traffic to my website. It's definitely still baby steps, but its making me feel much more positive.
Positive thinking helps creativity
I first discovered the power of positive thinking by wearing one of my hand stamped rings myself. I stamped a ring with ‘I am an artist’ and it really helped me. I had previously experienced a really dry patch and couldn't really get creative with anything. I was amazed how simply having this daily reminder increased my creativity. I sold a ring to one of the lovely ladies in my adult art classes and she said it helped increase her confidence in her work. Then I began selling to creatives I met through Instagram and artists as far as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, America and New Zealand are now wearing my jewellery.
Word of The Year
I’m not a fan of new years resolutions. I've never found they work for me. Instead I prefer to set myself a more positive goal to guide me through the year. Simply by having a word to guide me helps me a great deal. The words I considered for myself this year were evolve, brave, creative, thrive, trust, joy, focus, flourish, meraki, love, magical, vision and simplicity.
I wanted a word that supports me being more visible promoting my business, but also in my personal life making sure I nourish my body with good food choices instead of junk. I also wanted to make time to nurture my creativity and not feel guilty about doing things like going for a walk in nature or treating myself to a gallery visit, or a much needed massage after lots of hammering.
So after living with a few words pinned on my wall for a while, I have chosen my main word to be ‘flourish’ and I’m loving how its helping me to be more outgoing and to feel better about nurturing myself. As a supporting word I decided to choose 'meraki' (pronunciation may-rah-kee) which means to do something with soul, creativity or love, to put something of yourself into your work. Its a Greek word and I really like its meaning because I do put a little bit of myself into every piece of jewellery I make, so need to make sure I nurture my own creativity. Daily meditation is another of my meraki choices. As a typographer I also love how the word looks and find it visually inspiring. I'll be wearing my rings daily and enjoying the confidence its giving me..
You might wonder why I’m excited about giving products away. Well it’s one of my business core values. Kindness. Because by being kind I get more of my products into the world, and more people will experience how good they are at making them feel better. A self fulfilling prophecy if you like. I have also donated jewellery to good causes, which is something I love to do.
So I'm sure you can imagine how excited I was when I found out about a project on Instagram started by the lovely Victoria from @featherandwild www.https://featherandwild.blog
With her #atouchofkind project she's started an initiative to show random acts of kindness to people and also supporting independent makers. The general idea is that makers will send out mostly handmade items of any sort to people without cost to them and without any expectations, but with the suggestion that they too might pay it forward in some way. So of course I’m going to be sending out a few of my handmade silver word of the year rings with the hope that it helps people.
I’m now looking forward to being able to pay it forward with a touch of kindness to other artists and creatives. I want to give them the self-belief and a little reminder to live their best lives. Being kind to ourselves is something we really need to do, so if I can help people to be good to themselves as well that's another benefit. Do pop over and say hello if you're on Instagram.
Obviously this isn't a sustainable business model. While I'm able to offer a few offers like this I will, but longer term I would really love to be able to give something back as a regular commitment. I'm now working on my new collection and wholesale. It would be so good to hear from other people doing something like this, it certainly feels good to give something back.
Do please let me know what you think, I'd love to know.