Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Selling jewellery at Kings Cross St Pancras station

Firstly, sorry for my extended absence on the blog. It's been a really busy few months as we have packed up everything and moved from London to Edinburgh! More on that in future blog posts!

Last week I delivered my silver jewellery bee range to the Things British store in Kings Cross St Pancras station, London. Things British sell handcrafted items made in the UK. They work on a rent a shelf basis, are open 7 days a week and the artist gets 100% of the sale price (excluding card fees). I previously sold my jewellery in their other shop in Greenwich, London a couple of years ago and I thought I would give this store a try to see how it goes.

Preparing the stock takes time! I decided to focus on my bestselling range which is the bee range and so I have only taken that design. I made the range in different shapes, sizes and jewellery type including cufflinks. Soldering the cufflinks and stud backs, getting and adding the chain to the necklaces, writing out the price labels - there's a lot to get done when preparing stock for sale!
I was glad to be able to go in and deliver the stock in person and set up my own display. That way, if I need to post stock down from Scotland I know the staff will just add my pieces in.

If you are in the area or are travelling from the station do pop in and have a look! There are loads of beautiful handcrafted items for sale there. Just the place to buy a unique souvenir of the UK!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

What do I need to get started with silver clay?

I've been asked a few times in the last couple of weeks about the tools a beginner needs to start working with silver clay so I thought I would write a blog post about it!
Silver clay is a fantastic material that you can use to make silver jewellery from home. The clay itself is made from silver particles, an organic binder and water. You can roll and shape your clay into your design, dry it and then fire it with a butane torch (a creme brule torch will do!).

One of the things I love about silver clay is that you don't need a lot of space or expensive equipment to get started. Here are the basics that you will need.

Some of these items you will already have at home. For everything else I would recommend checking Metal Clay Ltd who specialise in tools and equipment for working with metal clay 

  1. Silver clay. There are two main brands - Art Clay and PMC3 and you use them in the same way so it doesn't matter which you choose. 
  2. Laminated mat or glass tile. This is to roll your clay onto. You need something smooth and without a texture
  3. Acrylic or glass roller. To roll out your clay. A wooden one isn't a good choice because it can stick to the clay
  4. Badger balm or olive oil. We use a little oil to grease the surface of the mat or texture to stop the clay from sticking. NB. Don't use vaseline as it is petroleum based and this damages the binder in the clay
  5. Playing cards. We use playing cards to ensure that when we are rolling out the clay we do so to an even thickness. You place 4 playing cards either side of the clay and roll your clay out and this ensures that the clay is an even thickness
  6. Texture plates, rubber mats or wallpaper. The clay takes textures really well and one of the real benefits of working with metal clay over sheet silver. You can use many things as a texture - you can buy rubber or plastic textured mats or use textured papers like wallpapers
  7. Small cookie cutters - traditional cookie cutters tend to be too large but cutters designed for sugarcraft/cake making are ideal
  8. Straight tissue blade - useful for cutting your own shapes
  9. Rubber clay shaping tool - you can get rubber tools from art supply shops, they are also used by oil painters. We use these with the clay to shape and fill in cracks
  10. Sanding pads. These are used to clean up the edges of the dry clay before firing.
  11. Butane torch. When your clay is dry it needs to be fired with a butane torch. You can buy one from jewellery suppliers or can use a creme brule torch
  12. Firing fibre brick. This is heat proof and you put your dried clay onto this to fire it
  13. Brass brush. Used to brush the piece once it has been fired and cooled (use water and liquid soap)
  14. Polishing papers/sunshine polishing cloth. To get your piece looking lovely and shiny I recommend the sunshine polishing cloth which is really quick and effective for polishing by hand
 I do suggest that you take a beginners class to learn how to use the clay effectively and particularly to learn how to fire the clay safely. 
You may also be tempted to try one of the base metal clays (copper or bronze) because they are cheaper than silver but these are harder to fire effectively so it is always best to start with silver clay. 
What are your favourite tools for working with silver clay? Let me know in the comments below.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

Coming soon - online jewellery business bootcamp


I’m excited to be involved in Jewellery Business Bootcamp from Jewellery School Online. I’ve been part of the teaching team for the London Jewellery School 6 day taught Jewellery Business bootcamp since it’s inception and have really enjoyed seeing the students on that course grow their businesses.

This new 8 week intensive online course starts on Friday 27th January 2017 and is designed and masterminded by the founder and director of the London Jewellery School Jessica Rose. Jessica has won six business awards and has run her own jewellery business, fingerprint jewellery business and tool supply as well as LJS which is one of the largest jewellery training centres in the world.
The bootcamp is designed to help you build and grow a successful jewellery business. You don’t have to visit London to do the course, you can be anywhere in the world!

The course includes
  • Professional training online through videos, podcasts, notes and webinars
  • 8 Weeks of intensive support
  • Fresh content released weekly followed up with live webinar Q&A's with Jessica to support your learning
  • Access to an exclusive closed Facebook group just for members of the bootcamp to get support and questions answered at each stage
  • All of our learnings from the past 10 years condensed into actionable plans that you can implement straight away in your jewellery business

The Curriculum

WEEK 1: You and Your Customers
Module 1: Knowing your customer: Goals, Vision and Planning for a Successful Future
Module 2: Build Your Brand: Branding, Visuals & Logos

WEEK 2: Building Your Killer Product
Module 3: Your Jewellery: Collections, Designs & Copyright
Module 4: Pricing your Jewellery for Profit

WEEK 3: How to Market and Sell Like Pro
Module 5: Online Marketing – Social Media and Paid Advertising
Module 6: Online Marketing – Websites and SEO
Module 7: Online Marketing – Blogging, Brand Reps & Email Lists
Module 8: Offline Marketing – PR, Face-to-Face & Sales

Webinars, action points & your questions answered

WEEK 5: Mastering Wholesale & Retail
Module 9: Working with Retailers and managing wholesale

WEEK 6: The Business Nitty Gritty
Module 10: Understanding business and legal matters
Module 11: Financial management, forecasting, budgets & accounts

WEEK 7: Planning for a Profitable Future
Module 12: Jewellery business growth plan with action points for the future

Bringing it all together and mapping out action plans for your next year in business

Does this sound like exactly what you need right now?

I hope you can join us on what will be a great short cut to jewellery business success.

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