It has been a lifelong dream of mine to start my own business, but it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do. I spent fifteen years in creative roles in Fashion Retail and finally got to the level I had dreamed of before I decided enough was enough. It was time to start something of my own!
I was living in Sydney when I first discovered silver smithing. I was rooting around a charity shop when I picked up a book "Be a Free Range Human: Escape the 9-5" It intrigued me so I bought it and took it home. The book was a series of questionnaires to help discover your inner passions to start a business. Jewellery making had never entered my mind, not once, but after reading and completing the book it hit me as if it had been buried deep down inside of my core.
Without even taking a course to see if I liked it, I went full steam ahead. I watched hours of jewellery-making videos on YouTube, and bought all the tools I needed to get started. I was hooked instantly! When I felt confident enough I started an Instagram account which I named This Story, to show my progress and capture the story behind my journey into silversmithing, and to my surprise friends started asking me to make them jewellery.
After a while in Sydney I was offered a promotion at work which involved moving to Melbourne. This promotion took a lot of my energy and my hobby took a back seat for a very long time. For nearly a year my tools were sat in boxes waiting to be used again. It wasn't until I walked past a beautiful oak desk in a vintage shop that I decided to buy it and use it as a jewellers bench. It felt so good to create jewellery again, and although I hadn't done it for a long time it all came flooding back to me.
After a year and a half of living in Melbourne, my partner and I decided to move back to the UK. A decision that wasn't easy but one that felt like the right thing to do. My tools were once again packed up in boxes, but this time shipped to the other side of the world.
On our way home we decided to travel South America for six months. It was an emotional time for us. We loved Australia but it never felt like home, and after nearly 5 years away we were nervous about what was in store for us when we returned. I had pretty much made up my mind that I no longer wanted to work in the fast paced world of Fashion anymore. I had realised that if I was going to work as hard as I did, I wanted to do it for myself and not for someone else. As I was turning 30 and we were unsure about the future ahead of us, I decided it was the right time to make my hobby my business.
I spent our entire travels focused on This Story. With all the spare time we had, I planned my whole business strategy. I had drawn up designs, taking inspiration from our travels. I had written up a thorough business plan, booked refresher courses for when we returned and had a clear idea of what I wanted This Story to represent. Now all I had to do was start it. When I returned home I used my left over savings to invest in courses, a jewellers bench and all the tools I needed to make it successful.
I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been the hardest time. It takes up my whole life and every inch of my brain. I also have a small job to support me financially and there are some days when I get home and have no energy. But I persevere because I know there is nothing in the entire world i'd rather be doing. I have invested so much and it makes my heart happy.
If I could give one piece of advice to anyone that wants to take the leap and start their own business I'd say "don't hesitate a second longer". It might take a while to make money, and it will take up a lot of energy and all your spare time. However, it is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself. It's mine. I made it with my blood, sweat and tears. And I will continue love and grow it until my heart decides it's time to stop.