Tell us about your business. When, why and how did it come about? What was the first item you made and was it for a special occasion?
I have been making jewellery since I was a young girl, starting out using beads and basic findings, later developing my skills and finally progressing onto silversmithing. I remember making some huge, bright dangly clip-on earrings in the 80s which I wore for every occasion and they got lots of attention! I am mainly self taught, but have also trained at York School of Jewellery and Leeds College of Art. I started Dream of Silver in 2007 as I wanted to progress to the next level and promote my jewellery to people all over the UK and beyond.
Describe your product range
Simple, wearable, handcrafted silver jewellery that can be enjoyed every day, not just on special occasions, and gives the wearer a sense of motivation and strength.
Where do you make your products (home, studio etc.)?
I make my jewellery in a small workshop in my home near York. It’s currently a bit messy as we moved house earlier this year, but I do keep my toolbox well organised so I can always find everything I need.
Is this your full-time job, or do you have other employment?
I took voluntary redundancy from my full time marketing career in February 2010 so that I could finally concentrate all my efforts on my jewellery making. I now run Dream of Silver full time.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs and product range?
Much of Dream of Silver’s jewellery is inspired by strong positive words and how they can make you feel – many of these words are hand stamped onto the jewellery. The jewellery is modern with clean lines, but I like to add texture and pattern to make each piece slightly different from the last.
I also love to design jewellery for children – I want to help create a lifetime of memories that little girls can treasure as they grow up.
What do your friends and family think of your business and products? Do you take ideas from them as well??
My husband, friends and family are all very supportive. My Mum is also a keen jewellery maker, and we regularly have jewellery-making sessions together where we come up with new designs.
Is your business ‘just you’, or have you got a team of helpers that you can call on?
Dream of Silver is just run by myself, although my husband often gets roped in to be ‘delivery manager’ and takes parcels to the Post Office if I am busy. Tess the cat also likes to ‘help out’ in the workshop!
Have you made good friends and contacts within the wider crafting community? Do you attend craft fairs? Where can we see you over the coming months?
I love to network with other handmakers and craftspeople – Facebook and Twitter have made this increasingly easier to do over the past few years. I am currently researching craft fairs and markets in the York area and will hopefully start exhibiting in the next few months.
How is business?
Business is doing well at the moment. I launched my new ‘all-singing, all-dancing’ website in February 2012 and this has had a positive impact on sales and customer queries. I am already starting to think about Christmas too (scary, I know) but it pays to be prepared as it is my busiest time of year.
How do you promote your work? Is it purely online, or do you attend shows/exhibitions, stock stores/galleries etc?
I sell my jewellery both online – via my own website and a few other carefully selected websites, including the fantastic WowThankYou, of course – and in a few small independent outlets throughout the country.
Where would you like your business to be 5 years from now?
I plan to continue designing new pieces of jewellery, and also to increase the number of independent outlets that stock my jewellery. In 5 years time I would love Dream of Silver to be a well-known brand synonymous with quality and good design.
What has been your business highlight so far?
The best moments have been every time my jewellery has been featured in the press – coverage has included Marie Claire magazine, Wedding Ideas magazine and Your Cat magazine. My website also won MrSite’s ‘Website Of The Month’ award in July 2011 which was a great honour.
“It takes a lot of self-discipline, hard work and late nights to run your own business, but the results are well worth it.”
What one piece of advice would you give to someone looking to set up a business similar to your own?
Do it! It takes a lot of self-discipline, hard work and late nights to run your own business, but the results are well worth it.
Just for fun …
Tell us a joke (keep it clean) to make us smile
There were 2 eggs in a pan and one egg said to the other, ‘Gosh, it’s hot in here’. And the other egg said, ‘Argh, a talking egg!’
Best book you’ve ever read, and why?
The best book I’ve ever read is ‘This Perfect Day’ by Ira Levin. It’s a thrilling novel set in a perfect global society of the future, and it keeps you guessing all the way to the end.
Favourite song of all time?
My favourite songs to dance to at a party include Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin La Vida Loca’ and Scissor Sisters ‘I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ – anything upbeat and cheerful. And no…. I’m not a great dancer, although I did used to take Latin and Ballroom lessons!
It’s a bit cheesy, but I love Top Gun with Tom Cruise. I never get tired of watching it, and the soundtrack is great too. Perfect for snuggling up on a cold Winter’s evening with a glass of wine!
Pets – cat or dog?
I have 3 cats – inquisitive Dennis who takes it easy now he is rather old, aristocratic Claude who doesn’t like the rain and happy-go-lucky Tess who loves to help out in the jewellery workshop.
Dream holiday destination?
I love exploring Great Britain, and my favourite holiday destination is the Highlands of Scotland. The scenery there is breathtaking and peaceful, a beautiful place to take a break (although not always blessed with great weather!)