After getting a bead making kit for her 13th birthday Sophie had found her passion – making jewellery! In her teens she made all kinds of beaded necklaces, earrings and bracelets for her friends and family.
In her last year at school she was introduced to resin, a composite style plastic, that can be moulded into any number of shapes and forms and is incredibly strong. This began Sophies continuing creative experiment with using resin to produce unique pieces of jewellery.
How did your business journey begin?
At first, I created a small amount of jewellery pieces and attended small local markets and fetes as an outlet for sales. As my confidence and experience grew, I built up my online store and applied for a permanent spot in a large market space located in a tourist orientated area. The market operated Friday to Sunday so it allowed me to create during the week and sell on the weekends.
I began to develop a theme to my jewellery that incorporated native grasses, foliage, flowers and local shells which appealed to the tourist market customers. As with all retail enterprises, I experience a fluctuation of sales from month to month. However, in general, the marketplace attracts a lot of locals and tourists and I am becoming well known in the area for providing beautifully unique handmade resin jewellery.
What was the biggest hurdle you faced when starting the business?
Finding the best market to sell in was a big challenge and then developing a style or niche to work within.
Applying for the permanent spot at the market was an onerous process of forms, references and insurance, however it has been worth the effort. It is a lot less work than attending multiple markets and a permanent location has let me build up a local following.
The tourists love the way my jewellery relates to the local environment and I continue to work on developing this theme all the time.
Describe your typical working day?
I’m usually down at the market by 7am on trading days and open by 8am. The day consists of talking and selling to customers along with creating and maintaining the jewellery displays. I do some demonstrations in store on small pieces so customers can see how the resin is used. There is always paperwork to be completed and ordering of supplies to make more stock. I try to devote one day a week to designing new items and sketching ideas.
What business tools & technology have you adopted to run your business effectively?
I have a large capital investment in jewellery making equipment such as moulds and polishing tools which is necessary to create the individual pieces. I endeavour to run a paperless office by using my laptop and phone for everything. This also allows me to easily work from home when I’m not at the marketplace.
I utilise the PayNow for Stripe app to take mobile payments in store and Stripe has been added to my website for my online sales platform. I run a cloud-based inventory management system that helps me track sales and assists with ordering supplies. From this I know exactly how much stock I have at any given time and what my sales look like in real time.