Please introduce youself and your business
My name is Jacqui and I live on the top of a hill in South Oxfordshire with my husband Mike. Our nest is now rather empty as both our children have flown but this does mean I have been able to take over their old playroom to use as my workshop. This is in fact, a loft room over my kitchen, with a view out across the countryside to the Berkshire Downs, very windswept but very beautiful.
I keep a few chickens clucking around in the garden and we have also raised some pigs recently, although thankfully these were not kept in the garden! We also have a beloved VW campervan,
, now lovingly restored and an important member of the family since the children were very small! Doris
My Etsy shop is called Pennyfarthing Designs. I create handcrafted jewellery, much of which is inspired by the Steampunk movement. I love to incorporate upcycled watch pieces, keys, buttons and old coins into my jewellery pieces and often embellish them with Swarovski crystals.
When did you establish your business?
I began experimenting with jewellery styles just over a year ago and opened my shop on Etsy in August 2010.
What prompted you to start your own business?
Over the last 30 years I have had a very varied career. I worked in IT for 15 years; this was back in the days when the computer took up the whole ground floor of the building! I left IT when I had my children, as flexible working was not possible in those days and I wanted to be a hands-on mum.
Since then I have done many things and my current day job is helping students with learning difficulties at a local college. While I have enjoyed it all and love my current job working with students, I have always been frustrated at having no creative outlet.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with cancer and was off work for almost a year. I know it sounds like a cliché but my illness really made me realise that we only have one go at this life and I had better get on with living the rest of mine, how ever long it was going to be! The first thing I did was to throw a huge 50’s themed party to celebrate my 50th birthday, complete with jukebox, 50’s frocks, Teddy Boys and a fish and chip supper. Then, back to the day job and start thinking about what I really wanted to do.
If you make handmade items, when did you first start working in your chosen discipline?
My daughter wanted a necklace for her birthday and found an amazing one we both loved. Unfortunately, it had already been sold but I was so inspired by some of the pieces we had seen, that I wanted to have a go myself. I did loads of research and pored over lots of photographs before I eventually took the plunge. I found a wonderful pocket watch on Ebay, hunted around the internet to find a beautiful angel wing and eventually created a necklace for her.
Over the next few days she was approached by several people in
, all wanting to know where she had got the necklace and some even asked if I would make another one for them! London
This was my lightbulb moment! All paths then led towards Pennyfarthing Designs.
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes simply from the pieces laid out my worktable. Opening a package of beautiful watch parts is so exciting! Often, as soon as I see them I can see the finished piece of jewellery.
Other times, I may have watch faces, mechanisms, coins, embellishments and crystals that I keep rearranging until I am happy, much like doing a jigsaw, except that the ‘correct’ solution is simply down to me!
How did you hear about Etsy?
I found Etsy several years ago, as I love to trawl the internet for interesting and beautiful gifts for other people. The stores on Etsy were a revelation!
How did you feel when you made your first sale on Etsy?
Thrilled! It felt as though my jewellery making was becoming a proper business!
What do you like about being part of Etsy
I love the feeling of belonging to a community. Knowing I can ask for advice from other people who run small online businesses is great as their experience can be invaluable. I love the fact that I am constantly discovering beautiful new items, handcrafted by other Etsy members, without even trying!
What advice would you offer other Etsy sellers out there?
Do plenty of research before you start! Check out what other people are doing, check out what actually sells and be sure you have something to offer that people are going to love. Once you start, take the best photos you possibly can, and get involved on Etsy! I made the classic mistake of thinking I had finished the job by opening my shop. Wrong! Opening is only the first step, sadly it is easy to be completely invisible in such a huge marketplace and you need to work, work, work at keeping your profile up!
Would you like to offer the British Sellers on Etsy Blog readers a special offer?
Coupon code BLOG10
Where can we find you?