I first spotted Branch beads on Facebook and was charmed by the whimsical designs. So it was an obvious choice to ask Branch Beads to participate in my Creative corner interview series. I hope you like her work as much as I do.
1. Introduce yourself.
Hello my name is Sarah. I live in Suffolk with my other half, twins (a boy and a girl) 4 pet rats and a dog called Neo. I started jewellery making when I became a mum. My twins were born very premature so I found bead weaving very therapeutic, to help me take my mind off what they went through in hospital.
In the first few years of my twins lives I discovered that they both have special needs. My son has severe cerebral palsy and my daughter has non-verbal autism. As a result of this I have become a full-time carer and my business Branch Beads is helps me to stay motivated and is my obsession! MY second obsession are my 4 pet rats. I kept rats when I was younger and was delighted when my other half brought me a cage for them at Christmas time. They make great pets!
2. Tell us a bit about Branch Beads.
Branch Beads is a handmade jewellery shop I have on Etsy and on Conscious Crafties. I originally started making bead work based on nature but soon discovered wire work and I loved it!! I really enjoyed the fact that I could create my own shapes out of wire and made little wire animal to add to jewellery. Recently I have been making jewellery for rat lovers. This has narrowed down my target market a lot and brings me great pleasuring making jewellery which actually reminds the buyer of their beloved pet.
3. What made you start your own business?
I was making jewellery to help me get over the trauma of having twins in NICU so it made sense to try and sell it. I set up my Etsy after making a quite a few items and not having anyone to gift them too! Then in October 2016 I join Conscious Crafties which is a seller platform and big community of crafters who suffer from chronically ill, disabled and the carers who care for them. This made me feel apart of a family. Starting a business to me was a way for me to have a purpose other than just a home carer.
4. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I learnt the basics of jewellery making and bead weaving by watching video on youtube and taking inspiration from jewellery making fb groups. The rest is practice makes perfect!
5. Explain your creative process.
I make animal pendants by looking at a picture or a photo of the animal then bending the wire with my pliers until the shape of the body fit the picture. I then fill the rest by coiling wire around the frame and give the animals faces and character with beads and gemstones.
6. Describe your typical day.
My twins have both just started special needs schools so I get them set for their day and sent to school. Then I check my social media. Share photos of my work or my pets and promote my business. Do the house work…. Then get working on custom orders or new items I am making.
7. What’s your biggest seller?
A lot of my items are one off items but this year I have been listing custom order Rat Lovers pendants. Here is my design for a Rat/Mouse Dreamcatcher Pendant Necklace
8. What have been the high and low points of running your own business?
The high point is that amazing feeling when you sell items that you have created yourself! I really love making personalise necklace because you know who ever is going to receive them will feel very special to be gifted that item that reminds them of their favourite pet! I have made a few items that have be memory pendants. These items are an honour to make.
The low points … as a carer I always have to put my children first so sometime I don’t advertise my business as much or share so much but I always get my custom orders made in the process time!
9. What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
Make sure you are making something you enjoy because you will have to make a lot of them to get noticed and make sure to share on all the main social medias! If you do not advertise people will not be able to find your art! Also don’t go on your journey alone make friend with other crafters share their work too and create yourself a network. My friend I have meet on my journey have helped for a lot!
10. What are your aspirations?
I want to continue making jewellery that make people happy and give brilliant customer service so people enjoy the experience of shopping with Branch Beads!!!