Handmade Button Jewellery With Crafty Little Koala
Sam chats to us all about her handmade button jewellery business in our Meet The Jeweller series! Usually we focus on gemstone jewellery so we were really excited to find out more about how Sam uses and customises her buttons. She has a loyal customer base which she has grown through Instagram and makes most of her sales through this platform - we hear all about this as well as Sam's top tips for running her business from home and the importance of showing the face behind the brand.
"I love how jewellery can make you feel. It can help bring confidence to a person who is usually shy..."
Hi Sam, tell us about your creative background! Have you always been a crafty person?
I am a primary school teacher, My entire teaching career has been within reception working with 4/5 year olds.
So I have always had to be creative. Thinking of fun ways to teach children certain topics. Using different media and materials. However I have always been creative, at school I loved arts and crafts and drama. Anything that allows you to express yourself.
You're the owner of Crafty Little Koala, tell us more about your small business
My small business started when I went part time with teaching. I had more spare time and started drawing and creating cards originally. Then my husband got me some wooden buttons originally to put on my cards, but I decided to turn them into earrings. That started my transition from art and cards with my small business to jewellery. I love how jewellery can make you feel. It can help bring confidence to a person who is usually shy. Jewellery helps to finish off an entire outfit. It's the cherry on the top. I love making women like myself feel special.
"I have found great success with online markets. They help me meet fellow crafters and get my business seen by new people who might not have seen my business before..."
You mostly focus on button jewellery, tell us more about these designs and the inspiration behind them
I love nature so my fabric choices have always been inspired by nature and flowers. I own over 150 plants within my home all of which I love to try and capture alongside my jewellery.
I also love buttons, I love that every button can be customised to suit each customer. They can choose their own fabric to suit their style. And if the customer has a favourite style of earring they can order it several times with a variety of different buttons. Making my jewellery very versatile. They can also send me fabric - maybe of sentimental value that I can then make their buttons out of so their earrings can be a beautiful keepsake.
How do you come up with new ideas for designs?
I can't take credit for the designs of my jewellery as I have an incredible wholesaler who makes the earring findings I use. I also find a lot of styles and designs from a variety of different wholesalers as well.
What's the meaning behind your business name?
My husband helped me come up with the name of my business. I obviously love doing crafting activities hence 'crafty' I have always been pretty small, I was the smallest in my class at school hence 'little' and my favourite animal is a koala hence 'koala' that's why my name is 'Crafty Little Koala'.
How do you juggle working part time with running a handmade business?
I am currently furloughed so juggling is pretty easy at the moment as it is all I do, but before I balanced it by only taking on orders I knew I could manage.
Additionally I am still growing so I am not inundated with orders so it is very manageable at present to handle while working.
Tell us about your workspace and how you make it your own!
My workspace isn't much of a space sadly. It's part of our walk in wardrobe room. It's very small and cosy but I do love it.
I have made it my own by decorating the wall with art work from incredible fellow crafters' work that inspires me. It's not much but it's mine and I love it.
"I think it is really important for makers to show the face behind their business. It helps make your business more relatable and gives a nice personal touch..."
Tell us about your packaging!
My packaging is currently not eco-friendly as yet but I want to work towards that. The boxes can be reused. Each order comes with a thank you notelet.
I direct each customer to my earring care Highlight on Instagram to reduce making more cards and bits to put in the box. I use tissue paper and labeled stickers.
You often take part in online craft markets - what has your experience been like with these?
I have found great success with online markets. They help me meet fellow crafters and get my business seen by new people who might not have seen my business before.
Tell us 3 creatives your loving right now!
I love @hairyyhetti she makes polymer clay jewellery and I am hoping to do a collaboration with her very soon. We will be combining her polymer clay with my buttons to make some epic jewellery. I also love @paisleyposiedesigns she makes stunning jewellery using gems I have purchased a few pieces off her. And finally I love @asa_iris_clothing who is designing some exclusive illustrations for me to bring out a new range of products to go alongside my jewellery.
You sell your handmade jewellery through Instagram! Tell us more on how you make this work and why you prefer to do this other than on a marketplace such as Etsy
I sell on Instagram and thanks to word of mouth I seem to be doing well and I have a lot of loyal repeat customers. This has helped keep my small business going.
In time I will create an Etsy but at present I feel more comfortable with instagram as my selling platform. Mainly because I love having a relationship with each customer and being able to get to know them. Also I love providing a large array of fabrics which on Etsy would be hard as I have too many options so I will need to condense my options available for my Etsy account.
We love your live videos! How important do you think it is for makers to show the face behind the business and how does this help your business?
I think it is really important for makers to show the face behind their business. It helps make your business more relatable and gives a nice personal touch. It also helps people see that you are likeable and therefore makes people feel more comfortable to purchase from you.
I also love expressing my gratitude on my live videos. Expressing that in a video or on a live channel helps customers see your genuine gratitude and they can see how much every sale made or every order they make, how much it means to you and your business and how their orders help make your dream a reality.
I'm also a chatterbox hehe so love doing 'talky videos' that's what I call them hehe.
"Collaborations help all parties involved. It's a great boost for your business and something a little new and exciting for your customers..."
You have recently introduced brand reps to your business! For those who don't know what reps are, how do they help your business and how did you find yours?
Brand reps are beautiful supportive people who love what you make. They purchase your items with a specific discount you've given them and then they help promote it by taking pictures of themselves uploading it to their social media and encouraging others to check out your page.
This has really helped me because the pictures of my reps help new customers see what the earrings look like on, gives a great visual representation that the customer can relate to and see on themselves.
Also not having an Etsy, the reps help show that I am a genuine and reliable business that they can put their trust and faith in.
You often collaborate with other creatives - what advice would you give to other small handmade businesses on doing collaborations and why it could benefit them
I think collaborations are a great idea. Make sure you discuss what you both want out of it first and the financial aspects so everyone involved is happy. Collaborations help all parties involved. It's a great boost for your business and something a little new and exciting for your customers.
Shop Jewellery Making Supplies With Kernowcraft
Complete your handmade jewellery designs using our high quality earring findings in a range of styles and metals. Choose from regular earwires, flat plate settings to easily glue your designs on as well as earring hoops.
Browse our large range of sterling silver, gold vermeil and gemstone charms to incorporate into your handmade jewellery designs.
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