The beginnings of a small jewellery business part one... kitchen tables and Mighty Mighty Markets
This week has been a time of reflection for me. Today marks six years to the date that I released my first ever ‘official’ collection, Sueños del Sol. And on Friday I had the pleasure of talking to a whole lecture theatre (eek!) of final year marketing students at Plymouth University about Shh by Sadie and the journey that has brought me and my million beads to where it stands today.
In preparation for my talk I sat down and spent an afternoon trawling through my old Shh photo archives and, oh my goodness, it was amazing remembering some of the jewels I’ve made, markets I’ve attended, people I’ve worked with and all of the ups and downs along the way.
When I began teaching myself to make jewellery in 2011 I never dreamed that anything would come of it, let alone that anyone would buy it - it was simply a new exploration, a new hobby, and I enjoyed wearing the earrings and bracelets I’d made for myself.
Working full time in my ‘day job’, I soon started attending markets on Saturdays with my borrowed table cloth and vintage teacups and saucers to display my jewels on (the teacups often had more interest than the jewellery!). I just wanted to sell jewellery so that I could go home and make more. (Well, that hasn’t changed!)
I was also selling online via Etsy, and I still don’t know how I managed to actually sell anything with the terrible photos I took! I remember taking my first product shots late one Saturday night, on a badly lit kitchen table, balanced on teapots and teacups (the jewellery, not me), because I was so eager to get my Shh by Sadie Etsy shop up and open. Yet people did buy the jewellery (which was at that time mostly brooches made of felt and fabric, button and flower earrings, and simple bead earrings and necklaces), and often came back for more!
From there I went on to be stocked in my first few real shops - Rex Royale and Emma on Cuba Street, along with The White Room Gallery in Island Bay. Markets continued, stockists grew, and I was even featured in a few blogs, publications and the Mighty Mighty Market poster plastered across Wellington that I had to close my eyes every time I walked past because it was so hideous… :D
I’ve posted some photos of the early Shh days here - hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did. You’ll see that there was always a love of pink! And a lot of skulls back then too!
If you remember any of these Shh jewels or markets, I’d love to hear from you or see your photos.
I’ll post the next phase of the Shh journey next week.
And if you made it this far - here’s that Mighty Mighty Market poster!!