For me, a great day is when I get a couple come into my shop to have an engagement ring designed for them, or really anyone who would like me to design and make a unique piece of jewellery for them to mark a special occasion. It’s as if I become a part of the celebration and to see the customers response when I show them the finished piece is priceless.
Bunbury is an awesome place. The CBD is so close to the beach and we have some excellent facilities. There is a diverse range of businesses in town with new ventures popping up all the time. For me the best thing about running a small business in Bunbury is my work/lifestyle mix.
The biggest challenge I think that I face is mass produced cheap overseas imports. I know I cannot compete with the prices of these, but I also know that they cannot compete with the quality of my handmade pieces.
There is a massive difference between mass produced, cast jewellery and handmade jewellery. Cast/mass produced jewellery is produced by pouring molten metal into a mould, which then solidifies, basically as the finished piece of jewellery, then only requiring sanding and polishing.
With this method there can be flaws in the metal as well as the metal never being worked to make it hard, thus making it much more prone to wear or failure down the track.
Whereas a handmade piece of jewellery is constructed from metal, I roll and forge all the components for the piece out of metal, if there are any flaws in the metal, they will be exposed in the rolling process. If this happens, I remelt the gold and start again. A Handmade piece of jewellery will be dense, usually weighing 15% or more than a similar cast piece, it will also be work hardened, enabling it to hold a polish and resist wear so much better. I aim to make pieces that can be handed down through generations.
I am thoroughly happy and content where I am now and fully expecting myself to be doing the same thing in 5 years’ time.