Sunday, 13 November 2011

Unemployed Teen & Making Jewellery

When I moved back in with my parents at the age of 19 years old I had no job, no car and lived in a tiny village with no public transport to the big towns which would normally take 30-45 minutes to get to with a car. I was throwing out my resumes to everybody, but never got a response. It was when I got made to go to some Jobseeker's Plus course that I had enough. The course was in one of those bigger towns and I had to get one of the very expensive "villager coaches" to get to the train station and then get to train there. Sadly my choice of trains were either be 1 hour early or 1 hour late. I was late once and they told me if I was again I'd be kicked off the JSA. I told them what I thought and quit. Instead I spent my time learning something else. Jewellery making.

I had no idea what to do or anything. I bought a few tools and basically learnt from trial and error, infact I orignally bought pliers from B&Q. I began with some basic stuff and learnt to make a double loop with an eye pin and over time was doing these very quickly. At first I started checking out local Claire's Accessories whenever I'd go into town with my parents for shopping. They use to have secret sales section that sometimes had a bunch of crap, however some of those things had useful bits to them. I mostly bought charms and necklaces which looked very tacky, however the actual pendant part was what I wanted and once I got my stash back home I'd begin using my pliers to remove them and make something different. Once I had a small collection of jewellery items made up I put them up on my old blog. What happened next was something I was not prepared for, not one bit.

One of my best sellers... sold out in a week and couldn't make anymore!
Okay so I expected a few sales, but overnight I was selling my jewellery like crazy. My life changed as I was making jewellery during the day and packaging the sold items off to be shipping during the night. In my first week of posting a handful of products I had made just over £80 in profit, something not to be sniffed at considering I was just a teenager who had been living on Jobseeker's Allowance for far too long. My mom was very helpful with all this and she helped by buying me a load of beads and jewellery making items. Once again I'd go make some jewellery with some bits and bobs I found at local market stalls and Claire's Accessories and then put them up on my blog.

Example of necklaces I made and pricing.

For a long time this was happening and the pressure was getting to me. I found certain products selling faster than I could make them, some I could only make so many of them before I ran out of stock to work with. I also had the trouble of having to borrow my mom's car to drive to the large Post Office to get them weighed and sent off, I was doing this is bulk and not just one of two packages. It was getting serious and I wasn't sure if I could cope much longer as a one man's band making jewellery during the day and the night. I was getting worn out, and snapping as my parents would kindly wake me up at 7am which was not fun when I had been making jewellery until 3am and packaging stuff up as well.
Another best seller... I still have a few in stock!

I didn't know what to do any more. I could not keep it and with no knowledge of business of any kind I just stopped. I sometimes think about those days and feel I was a fool to just letting just a brilliant moment in my life fly away all because I couldn't handle it any more. I could have gotten advice or even help if I just looked properly. I didn't, I just burnt out.
I also found taking photographs that looked professional very tricky. You can probably see that yourselves. Some were taken with white paper background on my dad's computer desk with the blinds open to get as much daylight as I could, then I'd do what I could on Photoshop. My earlier ones (see Rainbow Falls Necklaces and my Pink Skull Earrings) were done later in the day with no daylight and only indoors light on and I don't even think I used Photoshop on them either.

Would I do it again? I'd love to, but the fact is flying bits of metal and toddlers do NOT mix well, nor do mom's with very little sleep. I also don't think I could get any sort of funding for this. I don't even think anyone would buy into my jewellery products and sell them on for me. I'd have preferred it if someone sold them whilst I worried about making them. Packaging everything just made things harder on me, mostly because I was a huge hit in America.
What do you think? Do you like any of my work shown here? Love to hear from fellow bloggers.

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