Lockdown has encouraged the growth of an earring-making hobby into a one-woman cottage industry.
Beth Brown can often be found with her nose in a book, or her ears modelling her latest hand-made collection.
Bibliophile Beth works at the Guille-Alles Library, but after lockdown prevented her from doing her day job, she expanded into making her own bespoke earrings. Her jewellery creations caught the eyes of friends, word quickly spread, and now Beth has developed her hobby into a one-woman cottage industry.
“I started playing around with polymer clay when I bought a quirky pair of avocado earrings from Etsy and found out the artist had used polymer clay to make them. Then I developed this hobby by looking through posts on Instagram.”
Pictured: Beth's reputation has spread through word-of-mouth and a smart social media presence.
Her first efforts drew appreciative comments from friends, though Beth was unsure whether there was a wider market for her earrings.
“Although I had been making them for a while, I only started selling earrings last summer after the first lockdown,” she said.
“I had been hesitant to sell them at first because I didn’t think they were good enough and I didn’t know enough about running a business. But after lockdown I pushed these doubts aside and kicked into gear.”
Whenever possible, Beth buys her supplies from local craft shops. Specialised tools come from online. As for a workshop, Beth uses a small desk in her own Town flat, complete with a table-top, electric mini-oven.
Pictured: The electric oven used for making the earrings - "small but reliable".
“One of the most important elements of earring-making is the baking of the polymer clay, which I do in my tiny little toaster oven. It’s small but reliable,” she said.
“Depending on how detailed the earrings are, they can take one to four hours to make. I don’t often plan what I want to make, I usually just leap right in, but as word has spread about my small business, I now do customised orders for clients.”
As well as the good old Guernsey grapevine word-of-mouth and stalls at local markets and events, Beth has embraced the power and reach of social media and her @CraftyBeShop can be found on Facebook and Instagram.
Pictured: Many of Beth’s creations have a plant-inspired theme, although she has also taken commissions based on her customers’ bespoke requests.
Pictured top: Beth Brown has used lockdown to expand her hobby into a growing mini-business (Photo credit: John White - johncwphotos).
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