Review of 2018

Talking to my customers over the Christmas period, and it seems like some of you think I spend all my time making jewellery. That sounds lovely but …..

…. the reality is more like 40%. I know this because I kept a record of how I used my time in 2018. And this chimes with what the Design Trust says:

‘most sustainable creative businesses spend on average 40% of their time on making to sell because they need to spend an equivalent amount of time (40%) on marketing their business to get the sales they need! The other hours they spend are 10% on professional development and research and 10% on administration – in an ideal world.’

Design Trust (see here for full article)

So what did I spend that other 60% of my time on in 2018?  From the questions you ask me online and when we meet at fairs and markets it seems you may be interested in the answer, so here goes.

My main focus was launching a new website (the one you are on now).  I did this in February and then spent time improving it throughout the year. Things I’ve added include a GDPR privacy policy and an FAQs page, so you can be sure you have all the information you need about my business. 

Prior to launching this website I had only been selling online through my Etsy shop (which remains open too). This new website  is easy to use and accepts multiple payment methods. I also have a device that means I can now sell at fairs directly from my online store. That means you can be confident that if something is available online it really is available, and can be sent out straight away.

In 2018 I also started a mailing list. It’s easy to join and members receive my bright, interesting newsletter six times a year, and no spam. Membership of the list gets you free postage and access to special offers throughout the year. Some of you have introduced yourself to me at shows and it has been lovely to meet you. Click here if you’d like to join now.

I also spent a LOT of time taking and editing images of my jewellery last year. I taught myself how to use new editing tools so the images you see are crisp, clear and give you a fair idea of what you are buying.

Tiny studs brightly coloured sterling silver stud earrings by Dittany roseI’ve added many new products to the website, some of which I had but were not yet listed, and others are brand new designs. I listen to your feedback and am constantly working to improve current designs and come up with new ones.

Best sellers in 2018 included the brand new ‘tiny’ studs, which I made in response to some customers who told me my ‘small’ studs were not quite small enough.

Those small anemone studs, however, continue to be popular, as do the small anemone drop earrings. I usually offer both of these in eight colours only, but this year I went a bit mad and created a separate range of 15 to 20 ‘rare’ colours. I made only one or two of each and haven’t yet decided if I’ll make more as it’s rather time consuming. Click here and here to see which ones are still available.

 Microorganism cuff links make great gifts for scientists

My favourite new product this year has been my Microorganism range of cuff links and earrings, which were snapped up by scientists and science enthusiasts. A few stud and drop earrings still remain in some colours, although all cuff links are currently sold out.

You can now catch my January sale here with all items on sale between 10 and 40% off. Also, if you have any ideas for products you’d like to see in 2019 do let me know. I’m always open to new ideas.

Many people still prefer to buy where they can see and touch the items. In 2018 I attended eight fairs in Cambridge, Norwich and London so that people could do just that. Another way of seeing my work before you buy is to buy from my stockists. In 2018 I continued to sell with Cambridge Contemporary Crafts in Cambridge and VK Gallery in St Ives and also gained two new stockists in Newmarket and Cromer.

In general I put a lot of effort in 2018 into professionalizing the business, creating backend structures and processes that ensure you, the customers, get a good service and a quality product. Overall the learning curve was steep but I’m pleased with the strong foundation I’ve built for the business.

When I left Middlesex University with a degree in Jewellery Design over 20 years ago I didn’t have the courage or conviction to set up a business. I do now and know that with your support it will go from strength to strength. Thank you for all your custom and cheer in 2018.