One of my secret pleasures is to watch the demonstrations on the craft shopping channels. I find it very informative but also soothing in a way. So this week I’m delighted to feature Katie from Giraffe Jewellery Box in Creative corner. Who not only runs her own business but is also is one of these fab demonstrators!
Hi, my name is Katie Parker, I live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire with my fabulous Husband Martin, 2 children and our dog. My eldest Gabbi is 21 , just finishing Uni and youngest Oliver is just 4 just starting full time school. Huge age difference but wouldn’t change them for the world. I have lots of fun with Oliver playing games and watching him grow. Gabbi is my rock and my best friend in so many ways, I’m so proud of both of them. Life revolves around family and my job, I love both dearly.
Tell us a bit about your business.
My business is called Giraffe Jewellery Box, I design and create handmade jewellery using many different mediums of jewellery making. My main jewellery making medium is wire work jewellery using gemstone cabochons. I sell through my Etsy shop Giraffe Jewellery Box and also locally at Trinity Complimentary Therapies in Wakefield. The other part of my business is working freelance as a Guest Designer for Jewellery Maker, a shopping channel based in Studley near Redditch, U.K. As a guest designer I’m sent jewellery making kits for me to make up into jewellery for the show. The made up jewellery is displayed on the show and I demonstrate a jewellery making technique live on air whilst the kit is auctioned. The show is very interactive and customers can text in and ask questions live on air. I do around 3 shows per month but can be up to 6.
Recently I have introduce some new products to my shop including Swarovski elements jewellery and my new love of seed beading. I hope to expand this range very soon, watch this space 😉
What made you start Giraffe Jewellery box?
The reason I started my jewellery making business came from a series of events that made it impossible for me to go back to my previous job. Previously I had my own business as a freelance hair stylist. I have a condition called Fibromyalgia so I was already finding keeping up to physical demands on my feet all day hard. Then during the birth of my second child I suffered an injury which left me unable to use my left arm for over 3 months and has left a permanent weakness. I wasn’t able to continue as a hairstylist but I craved having a creative job again.
I stumbled across the jewellery Maker channel, I watched the guest designers on the show and thought I could do that. Once I gave it a try I found learning and creating with wire and gemstones came naturally to me. It felt like a natural progression to make this new hobby/addiction my new job.
Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I haven’t had any formal training for my craft, everything I have learnt has been from watching tutorials or just taking the plunge and having a go. I love to find my own ways of working and ways to teach other how to create in the easiest, most simplified ways possible.
Explain your creative process.
If I am making for myself or my shop I take my lead from the materials I’m using. Gemstones have a way of telling you what they want to be, I’m a great believer in gemstones having energies and I always start with the way a gemstone makes me feel.
If I’m creating for my job with Jewellery Maker I’m given a kit with various components and a theme to create to. I find this a great challenge with every kit and really helps me expand my techniques and gives me a chance to push my boundaries further. I was recently given a seed bead embroidery kit with a theme of a bridal shoulder necklace, I had never created anything like it before but learning new techniques only fed my passion and now seed bead embroidery is in my top 5 mediums.
Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration as is just taking a walk and being outdoors with nature.
Describe your typical day.
My typical day starts around 7am getting up and getting my little boy ready for school. Once the school run is done then it’s straight home and to work. I start with trying to catch up on social media and promote some of my own items on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook. I try to set up some scheduled tweets using Hootlet too so I know I’m still promoting for the rest of the day too. Then i will do any packaging from sales ready to post on the way to collect Oliver up later. Then I will get to work on commissions or new products for my Etsy shop.
If I have an upcoming Jewellery Maker show I tend to spend the whole of my working day on my kits, my kits usually take me 3-4 days to get completed.
At 2.30 it is tools down and get ready to go collect my little man and usually a post office visit on the way. Back to family life until he goes to bed. Most evenings I will still be making jewellery but I find it so relaxing especially seed beading on an evening.
What’s your biggest seller?
Most of my jewellery pieces are one off’s, I tend not to recreate the same piece twice. I sell a lot of Labradorite wire work pendants.
My actual biggest seller is a jewellery display item as this is the one thing I do recreate and always have available. When I was still doing craft fairs I wanted an earring display which had much more interest and height, so I made these stands for myself. I got so much interest in the stands as well as my earrings I decided to make these too to sell in my shop.
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What have been the high and low points of running Giraffe Jewellery Box?
The highest point was definitely getting to work with Jewellery Maker. From those first weeks watching thinking I could do that and make a business out of it to actually being on the other side of the screen felt like an amazing achievement.
Getting my first sales on Etsy and hearing the Kerching! It’s still a great feeling every time to think someone saw what you made and want to buy it.
Also being featured in ‘Let’s Make Jewellery’ magazine about my Jewellery making journey and starting my Etsy shop.
So far I can’t say there has been any low points. I’m sure there will be at some point but I try to live each day as it comes and enjoy it.
What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
My top tip for an Etsy shop is get great pictures. The picture is the first impression a customer gets. If it’s not a great picture the customer is less likely to click and look further.
What are your aspirations for Giraffe Jewellery box ?
I want to continue to learn more jewellery making techniques and perfect the ones I already have. As with all creative professions there is always more to learn. I also want to pass on more of the knowledge I gain to others through teaching. I have plans in the making.
Where can we find you?