(Boscastle, Cornwall, U.K.)
Little did I know 12 years ago that I would end up in sunny Cornwall in the south west of England trying to make a living as a jewellery maker!
I had just finished my Masters degree in Animal Science and was looking for work in the genetics and breeding area. I was looking high and low but Sweden, being a small country, didn’t have many positions of interest to me.
So I looked further afield. I had spent 6 months in Edinburgh as an exchange student and thought I could try my luck there.
A few months later I was sat in a B&B in Wiltshire where I had just started a job at a genetic evaluation centre. I was soon sharing a house with 2 guys in beautiful Bath and had a great time!
A few years later I realised I enjoyed web design more than genetics and slowly drifted across and landed a job as a web designer with a telecom company. There, I also had a great time working in a vibrant and fast paced team until we were all made redundant a few years later.
Next was a job for a small mobile commerce business in Gloucestershire where I worked as a designer and application developer for web and mobile phones.
It was during my time there that I discovered jewellery making, first as a hobby, but soon as more than that. It was so great to be able to design and make my own jewellery!
When friends and family started noticing and encouraging me I realised that others enjoyed my creations too.
I have been widening my skill set ever since. I started off like most people doing stringing but quickly found that I wanted to do more, so began wire wrapping and then working with sheet and silver clay. I hope I never tire of trying new things, it’s what makes jewellery making so much fun!
Slowly the idea of actually being able to make a living, or at least a part living, out of something I really enjoyed, grew and things moved on.
I decided to call my jewellery business Camali Design, which doesn’t mean anything, but is just the two first letters of my first, middle and surname.
I started selling online and at shows and also to a few galleries and shops along the way.
After several years of trying to obtain permission to build our own house (a dream of mine) and my partner being made redundant from his job, we decided there was more to life than hard work, commuting and stress.
So, we decided we would move to Cornwall where we both had happy memories, a few very good friends and where we thought we could make a better life.
We would carry on working with our own web design and development business that we had been running on the side for many years and I would try to make the most of my jewellery making to contribute to our income.
Almost a year later I have quit my job in the Cotswolds, and we are now sat in our old Cornish cottage built around 1750. It needs a lot of work and time but it’s ours and we love it! We explore more of the north Cornish coast every day and this is also where my jewellery making journey continues.
I am now going to try to make my jewellery business into a real part time living by attending local shows, festivals and by approaching shops to sell my jewellery.
Just last weekend I went to a Fish Festival in Newlyn where we had a lovely day in the harbour selling jewellery and watching the boat demonstrations right in front of us. Sun, harbour and plenty of friendly people, what more could I ask for! And I had a good day in sales too!
Who would have thought it 12 years ago? Thanks to generous amounts of encouragement from my family and friends and the support of my wonderful boyfriend, I am looking forward to seeing where my jewellery journey takes me next!
Not too far away from here I hope…
Love your jewelry!
I just wanted to say that I loved your jewelry designs and your website. You have a lot of talent and are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story!
by: Joanna from Tucson AZ
I really enjoyed your website. It was so easy to get around and filled with so much information. Everything was covered that your clients might have wanted to know. I also thought the photo’s of your jewelry were fabulous on the natural stone pieces. Now tell me are you getting hits to your website. What is your secret?
Thank you Elaine, that is very sweet of you! I am constantly inspired by a lot of other artists too. Not just in jewellery making but all sorts of arts and crafts, I meet so many talented people at shows and so on.
I really appreciate your encouragement, thank you!
Thank you for your kind words! I’m really pleased you think my web site is easy to use and has the info a customer wants. To be honest I have neglected my site a little recently because of our move and shows etc. Plus I have a blog (http://jewelleryblog.camalidesign.com) that also desperately needs updating. I am going to write about events I do this year and also little mini reviews of other arts and crafts and artists I have met.
I get around 500 hits a month on my web site, so not a huge amount especially since I know a lot of those hits are from other jewellery makers and not necessarily customers. It all helps though. I get a few orders each month, but I do sell mostly at shows etc. I do however get wholesale requests through the site every now and then, which is great. I have a wholesale customer in Australia which is something I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t had the web site. So I’d say it’s definitely worth it!
There is no secret to how to get people to your site and to buy, it just takes time and a fair bit of energy and committment. Write articles, blog and try to get related sites to link to yours and make sure your textual content contains the words important and relevant to your jewellery and visitors will come. Give out plenty of business cards with your web address on them, and try to get people’s email addresses wherever you can, at shows etc, put them in your order parcels etc. Then write a newsletter every now to tell people about your new products, special offers and write something interesting for them e.g. a bit about the birthstone of the month or similar.
Thanks again for your encouragement!