This is another guest blog post – I’m hoping to have these on a more regular basis so if you think you might like to be a guest blogger, get in touch! Leah is a Folksy Seller who designs and sells beautiful jewellery.
“My name is Leah Wilkinson and I live in Northumberland with my partner and boxer cross mastiff dog, Angel. I’ve spent most of my life since school working in department stores selling clothes and using any spare money from that to buy supplies for my jewellery or more recently to save up for a holiday.
My company name is Fashion Magpie Jewellery. The name came from my fascination with stories I was told when I was younger of how people would lose their jewellery then find it years later in a magpie nest. The creatures are naturally drawn to the sparkle of the jewellery, something which I can identify with.
It all started one year back in November 2010 when I brought my first beads, some mixed purple faux pearls. I didn’t have much money that year for Christmas gifts so I decided to give making jewellery ago. I loved it! From there I was encouraged by family and friends to keep going, that’s when the first seeds of imagination started to form Fashion Magpie Jewellery. My skills have developed from there and I’m constantly learning about new ways of creating.
My favourite piece in my shop at the moment would have to be my Dragonfly Tribal Earrings, I was very tempted to keep them for myself. I think the colours work perfectly together and I love the way the patterns on the dragonfly and the bead compliment each other.
My inspiration for pieces come from a number of places but normally its the pattern on a bead reminds me of something or a piece I’ve seen on the internet (usually Pinterest, little bit addicted!) If there’s a piece I’ve seen somewhere, I like to brainstorm what it is I like about that piece, and work it round until I have a brand new idea for a piece to make.
The thing I love the most about jewellery making is the feedback after I’ve sold a piece. Especially if I’m selling at a craft fayre because then I’m actually face to face with my customer and I can see their reaction first hand. I love hearing the stories about why the piece they are buying attracted them to it, sometimes its the simple answer that the piece caught the light and twinkled ‘buy me’ at them, other times their buying for a specific day like a wedding or holiday.
Of course there are low points as well as highs. There aren’t many things about jewellery making or the business that I hate but one thing about jewellery making I hate is the crimpling bad back I get. It’s my own fault, I should work at a table like everyone else but I prefer to sit down on the floor and spread it all out around me so I can see every bead, pendant, finding and anything else at one glance around me. After a few hours of sitting on the floor hunched over my new pieces I’m making, I eventually start to ache until when I get up and realise my back is in serious pain.
The only thing I hate about the business is when I go to craft shows and have to drag my partner along, I don’t drive. He’s fine once he gets there but until then all I can hear is his grumbling about how early it is or how hungry he is, or anything else he can think of. At some point I will learn to drive!
When I’m not making jewellery, I’m normally found in my garden. We recently moved house and it is my project to turn the garden into something beautiful. I love growing flowers from seed, its something of fascination that a seed as small can grow into something so big. I’m particularly good at growing marigolds and there always one of the first to be potted up at the beginning of the year and give my garden a summer of burnt oranges and deep reds.
If I was just setting out with my business again and could give myself only one piece of information on how to succeed, it would be to be patient. It takes time and effort to make a success, I do lots of promoting myself through Facebook and twitter, I also have a blog to show customers what i’m up to, give tips and tutorials and I’ve got folksy which I sell through. Patience is the key to it all, as long as your prepared to put the work in you’ll be rewarded.”
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