What did you used to do?
I worked as a Customer Services Executive for a local newspaper company, taking bookings for advertising space in the property section and planning and proofing adverts.
What made you want to change?
I went on maternity leave after having my first child. When the time came to return to work, it wasn’t worth it financially so I chose to be a stay at home mum. Moving forward, I knew the 9 to 5 wouldn’t work for me as I had very little support close by and knew I had to look at doing something new.
How did you make a start?
Initially, I started doing some beauty training and planned to be a mobile beauty therapist. I did some courses and gained 3 Diplomas. This kept me going for a little while, but it became increasingly difficult to dedicate time to it as I was still looking after my children. Then a friend and I were speaking and we decided to start making and selling jewellery. I knew I could make it work doing both side by side so we began building our business.
How did you go about it?
We visited bead shops, bought some supplies and started putting a collection of beautiful jewellery together. Over the next few months, we learned a lot of techniques and spent countless hours researching different metals and sourcing materials from all over the world. We decided on a Brand Name ‘Holly & Maya’, set up social media, took out an insurance policy (which was particularly time consuming and challenging) and came up with a rough sales strategy. Neither of us are sales people, so this was pretty hard!
What were the challenges?
Although my business partner had experience in making and selling jewellery, she was based in Asia when she did it. The supplies aren’t so readily available in this country and it has taken a lot of research and trial and error to find good stockists. Most of these are in China and on average shipping takes 2-3 weeks so it was a pretty long and drawn out process. There are also different laws and legislations in the countries supplying materials and not all their stock meets the UK law. We found this out after we had sourced a lot of components and had to go back and find some replacements. Also, a lot of these components you have to bulk buy and not everyone offered samples.
How long did it take?
From the moment we came up with the idea to our first sale was 5 months..
What would you do differently?
I’m not sure I would do anything differently. Our ideas have evolved, and our products are completely different now but that is part of our journey and we often take pleasure in looking back and seeing how far we have come.
What do you do now and what does that look like?
We design, make and sell jewellery. We have an Etsy shop for an online presence and our other sales are from jewellery parties, fayres and local sales. Our customer base is expanding slowly and we are looking into other websites we can sell through.
How has your life /work changed?
I work very hard as a full time mum, on the jewellery business and with the occasional beauty treatment. I am happy with how things are going right now. My main focus is the jewellery. I have a great working relationship with my business partner. We have fun together, its great socially, I have met a lot of local people through it and we both really hope that it is a successful business that will keep us busy for years to come.
What top tips would you give to someone who really wants to change career?
Life is too short to be doing something you are not happy doing. I was stuck in a job for 10 years and I thought it was my everything. It turns out, it wasn’t!