A little story about how it all started.

I can't believe that we're celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year. Not many people know the story of how I started my little jewellery business, so now's probably the time to share.

vicky_polaroidBack in 2004 I was a Make-up Artist, working freelance and also teaching at a local college. The teaching job was swallowing up my life and making me unhappy. Working as a freelance Make-up Artist was fun and something I was passionate about, but work was unpredictable. A career change was on the cards.  I'd always had a huge passion for jewellery and accessories (perhaps verging on a problem, judging by my credit card statements), so it seemed obvious that I did something that embraced my big love for anything sparkly. I took advantage of the courses available to me while teaching at college to train myself up in basic website coding and design. Using this new found knowledge I started my fledgling jewellery business on eBay, investing £50 in some simple silver jewellery. I still keep one of the original necklaces I started with as a reminder of how it all began. It's in a drawer at my office desk and occasionally I'll take a look at it and get all sentimental.

A few months later and my business was taking off, so I took the daunting decision of handing my notice in at the college. I remember my hand shaking as I posted the letter, wondering if I was doing the right thing. As soon as the letter was posted things got serious. I had to earn a barn_polaroidliving from this. I built my own basic website from scratch (the world of eCommerce was a lot more simple back in 2004) and started selling solely through the website. My first three brands were Dogeared, Butler & Wilson and Les Nereides. I worked from home; my front room was packed to the rafters with jewellery and packaging. I was shipping orders worldwide and found it really thrilling when an order dropped in from a country I'd not yet shipped to. It amazed me that people from all over the world were finding my little website and placing orders (and it still does). I keep meaning to get a map for the wall to mark all the countries we've shipped to over the years - I think we've covered most of the globe! We've sent our jewellery to Royal Palaces, remote tropical islands and high profile celebrities. Over the years, our eye for great style has been picked up on by the odd fashion editor or two, with our jewellery featuring in fashion magazines including Vogue, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar and even on TV.

In 2008 it reached the point where my office could only be entered by running at the door shoulder-first. My business had outgrown the house, so I started the hunt for shop and office premises. I wanted to avoid the high street and find somewhere that was as unique as the jewellery I was selling. My hunt led me to find our current home, The Well Barn in Little Crosby Village, Liverpool. It's a beautiful place to work - a cluster of 18th century converted farm buildings around an old stable yard. Little Crosby, between Southport and Liverpool, is a picturesque village with chocolate box cottages, surrounded by fields. Our initial shop and office was located in an old converted hay loft. Cramped was not the word. I soldiered on, contorted at my desk, surrounded by jewellery cabinets, packaging and piles of jewellery. In 2013 we moved into our current shop and office where we now happily have lots of space and a beautiful jewellery shop (take a virtual tour inside below).

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Years on, we're still a small business (a team of just two, or three if you include our office dog Holly the Dachshund). I've let the business grow slowly and have remained adamant that we keep the same passion for jewellery and the same business values that I started with. The world of eCommerce is a totally different beast nowadays, but the core of my business is still the same. My customers are so important to me. There are people I speak to that have been customers from the start. I know the names of all our good customers and it's always a pleasure to get an email from a happy customer or have a nice natter over the phone. That's what gives me the most pleasure from what I do (aside from getting to look at beautiful jewellery every day). We also have a really strong and loyal customer following on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where we love to keep in touch with everyone.

So, 10 years on, I'd like to say huge and heartfelt thanks to everybody who has helped my business along the way. It's been an absolute pleasure.




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