Running A Handmade Jewellery Business During A Pandemic With 'Louy Magroos'
A pandemic isn't usually something a small business is prepared for, it's a time of uncertainty and faces many challenges for everyone. Today we chat to the lovely Laura Vernon, the jeweller behind Louy Magroo and find out more about her experience running a handmade jewellery business during 2020. Laura makes jewellery full time from her home studio; when the pandemic hit she was still finding her feet and learning to juggle running a business as well as being a mum to an adorable two year old. We hear all about Laura's challenges (as well as positives!), including having to close her business, adapting to working at home alongside her husband and having no childcare. We hope Laura's story inspires you and if you're in a similar position it shows you that you are not alone during this time.
How did you discover jewellery making and what gave you the push to start selling?
I studied Jewellery and Silversmithing for my degree at The Birmingham School of Jewellery. After graduating in 2008 I started selling on platforms like Etsy and Not on the High Street whilst working part time as a waitress. I have slowly built the business up and have worked full time at it since 2016.
As a full time jeweller, how was your business impacted by Covid?
The main impact of Covid for me was having my 2 year old daughter at home, with no childcare or grandparents to look after her during the week I had to close my shops. It was a very difficult decision to make, but you just cannot run a business or solder with a 2 year old at your feet.
What were the main challenges you faced during the year and how did you overcome them?
I had been back to work full time for 6 months before lockdown started, after taking a year off to have my daughter, and I was forced to close. I felt like I was just finding my feet and learning to juggle the business and being a mum, so it felt like quite a blow to be closed again.
A lot of suppliers also had to close or were experiencing a lot of delays which meant that it would take me a long time to make and dispatch orders. Communication became really important, making sure I wasn’t over promising things to customers and keeping them in the loop if anything changed along the way.
I make a lot of jewellery for weddings, which of course were not happening during the peaks of lockdown, so I found myself having to look at new sectors ready for when I was able to reopen.
What are the worst and best parts of having your partner work from home for the first time and do you have any tips for people in a similar position?
I tease my husband a great deal about when is he going back to the office to give me some peace, but in reality I couldn’t have survived this year without his support. We have had to juggle both our jobs with childcare, usually taking it in two hour shifts throughout the day, if you are not working you are on childrens entertainment duty. Naptimes are cherished as a time we can both work – although hammering in the workshop is strictly forbidden. We have had to adapt to working evening and weekends when needed but try to limit that as much as possible for our mental heath and our daughter.
I noticed the support from my husband most at Christmas, I know most jewellers can probably relate to the long hours at the bench, forgetting to drink and eat until you are running on empty. Having him at home to remind me it was lunchtime or bring me a cup of tea definitely increased my stamina for the busy period.
Did you give yourself any personal goals during lockdown?
I tried not to give myself goals, I struggled a lot with the first lockdown and having to close the business, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t wasting my time but at the same time not put too much pressure on myself.
I took part in Vanilla Inks lockdown sessions, which included invented commissions to design and make, and online tutorials. By doing this I discovered a love for wax carving that I can thank Scott Macintyre for. I used this time (usually during naptime) to sit at my bench and have a bit of creative therapy. I used it for escapism but quickly became addicted. As a result of this I came out of the first lockdown with loads of ideas for a new collection, and it quickly became my goal to design, make and launch this collection before Christmas 2020, which I did!
How do you think your mental health was effected during the pandemic?
I think my mental health was hugely effected during the pandemic but this is something I am conscious of and have been working on for some time. For me it is a process, the year has been difficult for so many reasons and those reasons are so different to each and everyone of us. Closing the business was a big blow and the decision to do so is one I still think about, but I think I would have burned out quickly if I hadn’t done so.
Did you find anything that helped you whilst being at home
I am lucky enough to have a beautiful garden, we spent a lot of time growing flowers and vegetables with my little girl. Long walks with the dog and generally spending as much time outside as possible. The later lockdowns in the colder weather have been more difficult but we do try to get outside most days if only for a short walk.
If you could go back to the start of 2020, what’s one thing you would tell yourself?
I think I would tell myself to take one day at a time. I am naturally an anxious person, I have a habit to worry about things I cannot control, so by taking one day at a time helps me to focus. I would tell myself that however desperate it feels sometimes, something brilliant might just come from it so hold on tight.
What’s the one thing you will always cherish from the year?
My little girl changed so much during the year, that time we will never get back and I will always cherish the extra time 2020 gave me with her. My husband working from home gave him more time with her than ever before. 2 weeks after she was born he was back at work, but the relationship they have together which has strengthend over these last 12 months is a gift, and it try to remember that as much as possible when we are having a bad day.
Also in this section:
- Meet The Jeweller: Talking Opal Obsession with Jenny from Sea Surf Rocks
- Chatting To Truro College Exhibition Silversmith Winner, Olivia English
- Day In The Life Of Cornish Eco Jeweller Sarah Drew Jewellery
- Wax Carving, Metal Clay & Coastal Designs With Rockpool Jewellery
- Chatting Unique Nature Inspired Designs & Intricate Sawing With HISO
- Anxiety Jewellery & Favourite Gems With Rozen Jewellery
- Day In The Life Of A Jeweller With Gretel's Metals
- Sea Glass, Healing Gemstones & Cornish Coastal Inspiration With Ula Jewellery
- ‘A Heart of Gold’ Jewellery Collaboration, Raising Awareness of Heart Disease in Women
- Stone Setting, Diamonds & Jewellery Design With Goldsmith Sonia Cheadle
- Magical Metal Clay, Nature & Gems With Susan Studd
- Chatting To Truro College Exhibition Silversmith Winner, Esther Moore
- Handmade Jewellery Inspired By Japanese Heritage & Philosophy With Kumiko
- Creating Unique Jewellery Collections With Gem Lark Jewellery
- Crystal Jewellery With Jessica From 'Roses & Whiskey'
- Statement Crystal Jewellery With FIRENZA
- Electroplating & Crystals With Studio Roan
- Chatting Beading & Wirework With Author & Tutor Sara Withers
- A Day In The Life With Soul Purpose Jewellery
- Meet Jeweller, Tutor & Author Anastasia Young
- A Day In The Life Of A Jeweller With Basia From Stardust Mine Jewellery
- Meet The Jeweller, Author & Tutor Jinks McGrath
- Meet The Maker Transforming Coins & Scrap Metal Into Fun Characters
- Behind the Scenes At The Jewellers Retreat - An Interview With Jessica Rose
- Combining Skills Of Illustration & Metalsmithing With The Sylvan Smith
- Magical & Whimsical Jewellery With Manom Jewellery
- How To Work With Gemstones As A Jeweller With Gemmologist Sally Spencer
- Sea Glass, Personalisation & Christian Jewellery With Jordan Lily
- Chatting Beads, Etsy & Social Media With Emma From Evren Blue
- Garden Studio Tour, Jewellery Making & Packaging With Little Black Cat Jewellery
- Jewellery Inspired By Cornwall, Magic & Myth With Gemheaven Jewellery
- Sand Casting Silver Cockle Shells & Nature Inspired Jewellery With Anna Davenport
- Day In The Life Of Running A Sea Glass Jewellery Business With Created By Niki
- Leo + Elk On Running A Family Business During A Pandemic
- A Day In The Life Of A Jeweller: Finding Normality Again With Kim Thomson
- Gemstone, Body Positivity & Black Lives Matter Designs With 'Jewellery By Eilatan'
- Meet The 'All That Glitters' Contestants Of Series 1
- Briolette Jewellery, Etsy & Learning With Ocean & Earth Jewellery
- What's Inside A Travelling Jeweller's Briefcase?
- Combining Sea Glass & Diamonds With Glasswing Jewellery
- Bohemian Luxe Handmade Jewellery With 'Feathers And Wings'
- Diamonds & Granulation With Milly Maunder
- Then & Now, Jewellery Through The Ages With Sam Stirrat
- Metalsmithing & Granulation With Sophie Cunliffe
- Contemporary Engagement Rings With William White
- Designing An Engagement Ring With Guest Writer Sea Surf Rocks
- Meet The Jeweller & Author Of 'Soldering For Jewellers' Rebecca Skeels
- Jewellery Making Notebook Tour With Jasmine Butler
- Running A Handmade Jewellery Business During A Pandemic With 'Louy Magroos'
- Home Jewellery Studio Tour & Top Tips With Jodie Fern
- Let's Talk Business With Jeweller & Tutor, Karen Young
- Nature & Mental Health Jewellery With Lost Kove
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Hazey Designs
- Jewellery Making Storage Tour With Scruffy Dog Silver
- Meet The Beader Behind Dainty Rocks
- Jewellery Workshop Tour With Little Silver Star
- Mindful Gemstone Jewellery With The Sea Tree Company
- Let's Talk Sea Glass Jewellery With Sadie Jewellery
- Chatting Beads & Growing A Jewellery Business With Liz Lloyd
- Beading With Carolyn Anne Jewellery
- Jewellers Of Colour: Connecting BAME Jewellers In The Jewellery Industry
- Meet The Self-Taught Jeweller Behind Corzana
- Meet The Jeweller Behind The Messy Creative
- Handmade Button Jewellery With Crafty Little Koala
- Beautiful Gemstones For Beautiful Skin With Inlight Beauty
- Meet The Boho Jeweller Behind Moonsalt Jewellery
- Etsy Success & Personalisation With Little Homebird Jewellery
- How Jewellery Making Has Helped My Chronic Illness & Mental Health
- Jewellery Making With Nature's Treasures
- Meet Illustrator & Polymer Clay Jeweller, Nyassa Hinde
- Jewellery Trade Secrets With Metalsmith Society
- Sea Glass Jewellery & Launching A Business With Love Kernow
- Meet The Jeweller Behind London Jewellery School & Jewellers Academy
- Meet Stephen Goldsmith, Author Of Polishing & Finishing For Jewellers
- Resin, Flower & Gemstone Jewellery With Ellanor Aquitaine
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Trinkets By Moonlight
- Meet The Self-Taught Jeweller Behind Olivia Street Silver
- Personalised Handmade Jewellery With Ruby & Wonder
- Meet The Cosmic Jeweller, Vikki Hall
- Meet The Eco-Friendly Jeweller, Jemima Hurlock
- Meet The Cornish Jeweller, Thomas Matthews
- Beachcombing & Jewellery Making With Cornish Agates
- Festival & Boho Jewellery With Tegen
- Mokume Gane & Vessel Pendants With Nicola Bottono
- Meet The Jeweller Behind View Of The Sea
- Artists Residency With Jeweller, Jonathan Videgrain
- Meet The Jeweller & Gemstone Addict Behind Made By Oonagh
- Pre-Loved, Vintage Jewellery With Ella Masters
- Baker's Dozen Exhibition With Sarah Shelton-Palmer
- Meet The Jeweller, Tansy Wilson
- Celestial, Boho & Witchy Jewellery With Amber Wheatley Designs
- Let's Talk Metal Clay With Lisa Cain
- Meet The Jeweller Behind When Caitie Met Soda
- Make It Challenge: Recycling The Same Piece Of Silver For 100 Days
- Bespoke Engagement Rings With Blackacre
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Claire Howard Jewellery
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Award Winner Andrew Berry
- Meet The Nature Inspired Jeweller Behind Lima-Lima
- Creating An Opal Ring & Pendant With Little Joy Jewellery
- Jewellery Inspired By Your Home With Claire Halligan
- Award Winner Monique On Techniques & Cornish Inspiration
- Meet The Jeweller Jonathan Videgrain
- Meet The Jeweller Louella Jewellery
- Meet The Jeweller Behind Bijoux De Chagall
- Alternative Wedding Jewellery With Bloody Mary Metal
- Jeweller Chloe Michell Talks Working With Metal Clay, Tools and Inspiration
- Setting Up Your Work Bench With Jeweller Victoria Walker
- An Interview With NAJ Shortlisted Designer of the Year Sheila Kerr