I currently work part time on my business and full time for a jewellery company and I really like the flexibility
I have always had an interest in design and one of my early passions was architecture. I especially like Art Deco and many of my designs are inspired by the shapes you can see in traditional Art Deco doors.
Travel has also been a big inspiration for me and I decided to go to school for jewellery design in 2006. My course covered a lot of different materials like glass and ceramics so even though I have found a personal style, I love to try new techniques.
After school, I became part of a great community of jewellers called SilverHub and felt curious about running my own business. I currently work part time on my business hcsjewellery and full time for a jewellery company and I really like the flexibility. You get the best of both worlds even if it can be time consuming at times, but I like the added safety as I am growing.
HEATHER SAWERS JEWELLERY
photo credit: Josh Carson
"Even if it is not very detailed, just giving a peek at the process usually gives clients more appreciation for their final design"
What does your dream project look like?
I really like commissions because you can create something unique for a special day or event. A lot of my work is bespoke for weddings so I have the opportunity to create designs both for men and women.
What is something that makes you feel stressed in your job?
Balancing full time work and running my own business in my free time can be hard. I often work weekends or late nights on HCS Jewellery but it has become much easier now that I know more about how long it takes me to make a piece. I can plan more and don’t feel like I have to be in the studio just to feel like I’m progressing.
Managing client expectations can also be difficult. Sometimes people expect the process to be very quick or for some of the steps to be factory made. To overcome this, I always talk to the client about what they are looking for and explain how I go about making their piece. Even if it is not very detailed, just giving them a peek at the process usually gives them more appreciation for their final design.
photo credit: Stacey Bentley Photography
Where do you look for inspiration?
I find it very helpful to hear people’s thoughts on my designs when I exhibit or sell my jewellery. People often have ideas of what they would like and many of them can spark new inspiration for my next design. On the other hand, I have learned to trust my style. I really like to try new techniques and I used to be more influenced by what people say they want. Now, I use the feedback and translate it in to my style of designs.
"I think it is really important to not worry so much about what other people think. You can be more persistent and it is ok to be more confident and believe in your company"
What challenges do you think the creative field will face in the next 10 years?
Competition and being able to stand apart. There are more and more people starting their own businesses and you really need drive to succeed. I think the key thing is to know your niche. If you can be inspiring to the people you reach in a consistent way, you will see results over time.
What is your best tip for growing your business?
I attend shows and exhibitions but there are so many to choose from and it is quite new for me. I also use social media, especially Instagram and Facebook. I found that showing the behind the scenes and in progress work is really good for building trust and helping people connect with you.
photo credit: Johnny Inch Photography
What is something you want to learn more about?
Wax carving is something I really want to learn. I am always so curious of new techniques but I want to make sure I focus on what works and test one thing at a time. Marketing is also something that could improve, especially tracking what actions give me the best results.
Do you have any tips for staying productive and motivated?
Make sure you know what it costs you to provide a product or service. I sat down with a timer and made sure I knew exactly how long it takes me to make something. That way I can add my time and material costs together and make sure I charge enough. Knowing this made me feel less stressed and I end up making fewer mistakes.
What advice would you like to give someone who is just starting out?
I think it is really important to not worry so much about what other people think. You can be more persistent and it is ok to be more confident and believe in your company. Don’t take it personally if someone does not like your designs. Everyone has a different preference so just make sure you listen but only take helpful feedback to heart.
I also think finding the balance between being an artist and catering to a more commercial style is crucial to feel motivated and make the business work. If you have an idea you love but it might be different from what people are used to, test it out and welcome the feedback.