Hi I’m Julia, but I mainly go by the name Joolz
Tell us a bit about your business.
My business is Joolzery, which is a combination of two passions of mine, the healing power/energies of semi-precious gemstones and jewellery.
So I create one of a kind wearable gemstone jewellery.
I like to source the more unusual gemstones, or if a common gemstone then I will find an unusual cut or colour to create more interesting pieces.
The gemstones are combined mainly with Sterling silver wire, because it increases their healing properties/energies, with the exception of Turquoise and Chrysocolla, where I tend to use copper wire, in a synergistic manner to create an spiritual and/or holistic outcome.
The jewellery is then categorised by zodiac sign, birthstone or healing property, and includes statement necklaces, elegant pendants, earrings, cufflinks and bracelets.
What made you start your own business?
After developing a life threatening complication following a surgical procedure, I was unable to work for over 18 months, and I realised I needed an income that did not involve me physically being present.
I have always loved jewellery, and semi gemstones have been a part of my life for over 30 years, and can be found around my home and in my car, so it was a natural choice to create Joolzery.
Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I am self taught, although I have gone on a couple of 1 day courses to understand the basics of wire wrapping and wire crocheting, but as my jewellery is always about showing the gemstones in its natural state I like to keep my designs simple and clean.
I get my design inspiration from nature and architectural iron work, colour combinations, flower structures, the sound of the wind blowing the leaves of the trees and how gemstones combinations occur in nature
Explain your creative process.
I do not have a process as such, I would say my designs are simple and the design process is organic, usually late at night through to the early morning where I get in a zone and am inspired to just make the jewellery, as I see a gemstone, and automatically my mind comes up with a myriad of designs along with possible gemstone combinations and then I research to ensure that the gemstone combinations are compatible and what their resultant energies/healing powers would be.
Looking at my designs they seem to go along the lines of prime numbers 1,3,5 9, 11,13, 31 and 37, which is quite interesting.
Describe your typical day.
I don’t have a typical day as my other business which is an IT consultancy takes most of my time, and those clients comes first, and it runs on a freelance basis, so it’s very flexible.
That said I try and dedicate one day a week purely for making and photography of the jewellery, updating the website, writing blogs and the monthly newsletter.
But the creative process with me is very fickle, as my logical brain dominates my life, so I have to wait for it switch off, usually late at night, or be in nature to kick start the creativity.
But I make sure that I post on my social media, mainly Instagram daily, and take part in various twitter hours weekly.
What’s your biggest seller?
I do not have a biggest seller as all my pieces are one of a kind.
I like the idea, that unless someone has copied my design, that when someone is wearing a piece of jewellery from Joolzery, nobody else is wearing the same piece.
Sometimes I may use the same gemstones in different pieces, say earrings, but there will always be subtle design differences.
That said my most popular gemstones are Amethyst and Chrysocolla
And I sell more earrings than anything else
Code for Creative Corner Readers for 1st – 31st September 2018 CR387IVEI8 10% off all orders on www.joolzery.co.uk at checkout.
What have been the high and low points of running your own business?
My high was being accepted on the Summer Arts Market, 3 weeks after starting Joolzery.
In Liverpool this is one of the creme de la creme Handmade Arts and crafts market, that anyone who is anyone in the handmade movement wants to get in.
It’s what officially launched Joolzery, back in 2013, and at the time of applying I had no jewellery, no display, no website or business cards, but it was still a great opportunity, which I didn’t expect them to accept me..
But they did, and in 3 weeks I had a collection, the display was delivered the night before, I had business cards, but the website was not ready.
This was my first ever handmade market, and the first time I has sold face to face!
Those three weeks I was living on pure adrenaline driven to get everything sorted in time, it was a very steep learning curve, and although things didn’t go entirely to plan, As I lost £300 in sales because I couldn’t take card payments, it was a valuable experience and lesson, and gave me accessed to the handmade movement in Liverpool.
My lowest point was taking part in the British Craft Trade Fair this year. Last year I decided that I wanted to get Joolzery into retail and wholesale, as a way to get the brand out there, but I have no retail contacts.
As I am a member of the Guild of Jewellery Designers, we were offered a discount, and I thought that this would be another great opportunity especially as they state that they have a footfall of over 4000 over 3 days at their shows, so it made sense for me to take part to make those all important contacts.
This was a significant investment both in money, time and energy, and I was so excited to be taking part this year, unfortunately very few buyers turned up, and the footfall was less than 500, with most being students and designers.
Over those 3 days I spoke to a total of 5 buyers!
It was so disheartening and obviously very disappointing.
It kind of made me question my offering and what whether what I am creating, is commercially viable, but as you do not know who the buyers are, you might not be in the right location.
What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?
Know your pricing, know your customer and don’t compete with your competition.
I come across so many crafters that are underselling their work, for a number of reasons. I think you running this as a hobby, rather than a business.
When I created Joolzery, I created a database that allows me to accurate calculate the cost of each piece I create and what I need to sell it at.
Not everyone is my customer. I have a specific customer who loves and understand gemstones and their healing energies/properties. They get and understand what and why I create.
As my designs are simple and classic they never go out of style, and look fabulous dressed up or down.
There are so many jewellers out there, but we all have different design aesthetics. Our own stories and selling a bit of ourselves, so you should know the true value of your work.
It is tempting and easy to try and undercut your competition to try and increase sales. But then it becomes a volume selling exercise, and is really a short-term view.
If you have the right customer they will understand and value your offering. Thus pay the price you are asking.
What are your aspirations?
At some point in the near future I want to do a silver smithing course. So that I can really expand by design ideas, and experiment with different organic settings.
I would like to sell into a few retail outlets in the U.K. Including independents and boutiques, spiritual retreats and/or spas
I have created a separate collection for the retail, which can be accessed via the website.
Where can we find you?
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