Meet Claire G Jewellery
I'm Claire, known as Claire G Jewellery. I started making jewellery at home in 2013 after giving up work to look after relatives, I am completely self taught, mainly using trial and error and testing items out myself (an keeping many of them to begin with.) After making hundreds of items, mainly earrings, at the end of the year I went to my first ever event, a Craft fair at Twickenham Library. I thoroughly enjoyed it and went to 2 more local events before organising my own based in Twickenham. I now sell in person at local indoor and outdoor events and really love meeting new people on my stall and several repeat customers. I make a wide range of items: stone necklaces, cabochon earrings/keyrings/brooches, beaded earrings/bracelets, fridge magnets, greetings cards, hand painted items, painted canvases etc. I had studied a law degree and wanted to pursue a career in law, but due to family circumstances I was unable to, so instead picked something creative I could do mainly from home and have been doing this ever since.
What is your favourite product you make?
I don't really have a favourite product to make, as I enjoy the various processes. I prefer working with pliers, glue, paper and paints as opposed to fabrics (eg knitting, sewing or crochet). I love painting, card making, jewellery making and everything in between and every year I bring out something completely new to make to maintain variety. I do however love working with the semi precious stones, such as Opalite, Tiger eye, Malachite, turquoise, yellow jade etc as they are so unique and the end result is always a real statement piece.
What inspires you?
I've always loved art and painting and greatly admired the impressionists, primarily Turner and Monet. For my own work though, I tend to just have ideas that pop in my head and I then try them out, some have worked and some haven't, but it allows you to be creative and try new things. You can then gauge the reaction via social media or friends/family and if the item if successful you can start increasing the range.
What challenges have you had and how have you overcome them?
I've had many personal challenges over the years and still do. I've been a carer for a close relative for several years which can be challenging and quite draining both emotionally and physically. After losing a very close relative in sudden and unexpected circumstances, then having to organise arrangements whilst still emotionally supporting the rest of the family I found it increasingly difficult to focus. Having craft fairs to run, items to make and things to organise helped me from shutting the rest of the world out during that time and helped give me something creative to do and gave me something to build on.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start making things and selling?
Spend as much time as you can making things alongside your current day job. Only make things you enjoy making and if popular, make more of them so you have a good stock. If making things is a chore, then this business is not for you. Only once you have the financial backing to have several months/a year away from paid work should you make this a full time occupation. Selling online or at events is very hard and you're never guaranteed the recognition or rewards that you deserve, which in turn makes it an ongoing struggle. Self promotion doesn't come easy for me, but I've had to learn to shout out about my upcoming events and products and found taking photographs of my displays really helpful in seeing how far I've come. and showing people what is currently on offer Always make sure you have a good paper trail, take out public liability insurance and keep records so that you can complete tax returns and follow your progress as you begin selling.
If a friend or relative could describe you in one word what would it be?
Reliable or outspoken
What are your future plans? Any new products, branding, selling platforms?
I've recently started making fridge magnets and 3d framed images from plaster, which (after days of drying) I then paint with acrylics and later varnish. This is a very long process, but I've thoroughly enjoyed it and have been really pleased with the results. I'm yet to publicly display then, but will be doing so nearer the end of the year as they'll make great stocking fillers.
A touch of Frost