'Christina made it' is celebrating its 1st year in business. Firstly I'm amazed that a whole year has past since I started and secondly I can't believe I've made it this far. When I first set up I wasn't expecting to be able to go full time and I definitely wasn't expecting to sell as many pieces as I have.
I'll admit I did panic in the first two months that my business plan wasn't going to work out when I'd only sold about 20 pieces (I think I was expecting instant success without trying!) so I decided I was going to go travelling Instead and booked a month long tour around New Zealand. Ironically sales jumped straight after that and I broke even in October - three months to break even for a start-up is pretty good going.
I realised at this point I would be able to go travelling and run my business at the same time (with a lot of help from friends and family to post the orders) and as a result made this year my gap year/jewellery making year. I think it's important sometimes to just do all the things you've always wanted to to, so that's what I did.
The first piece I ever made was a salt spoon, I didn't actually realise a salt spoon was even a thing, but it looked cute in the instructions so I picked that one to make.
Unfortunately the first piece I made on my own got stolen, which was also one of my first batch of hallmarked pieces. It was a set of drop earrings for my mum, I even made the hooks.
I set up my hallmark quite early on, hallmarking is a nice touch but it's also quite costly for a new designer (and It takes ages to send away) so now I only get pieces hallmarked when it's needed (if it's over a certain weight). It's a shame really because I would love to have my name stamped on everything I make. I've noticed a lot of shops stamp the number 925 on their jewellery which is under the weight restriction. You can do it yourself for free and it means people will know it's silver rather than having nothing on it, so I might go down that route.
The first custom made piece was for my brother, which was a plain silver D-shaped band for his wedding ring.
After setting up an etsy shop I now ship all over the world. Based on the etsy figures which is my main selling site, 50% of the orders are to UK customers and 50% are to the rest the word, with the majority going to America. I definitely wasn't expecting to have customers in places like Russia, Slovenia and Hungry.
Last month I reached my 500th order, which is pretty good going when you take into account I was out of the country for 9 weeks of the year! I made a short clip to celebrate my 500th sale, head over to my Instagram to check it out
Since starting I've opened up online shops on Etsy, Folksy, EBay, Dwanda, Amazon and Asos Marketplace. Some have worked amazingly some not so much, but it's all a learning curve and you have to try them to know.
I've had a number of market stalls, the most successful being in my home town during the summer and a Christmas pop up shop I set up in a pub.
My biggest sellers are ear cuffs, I sell one almost every day. I have about 6 different designs and make them in rose gold, yellow gold and sterling silver. I think it's because I designed them to fit better around the ear compared to others you find on the high street. I've had a lot of great feedback and repeat customers, so I must be doing something right!
I recently made the first engagement rings. It was very scary to have such a big responsibility but equally an honour to have been asked. I was working with materials I had never worked with and setting stones which I'd never done before.
What does the future hold? I have no idea, I'd like to see my business grow and expand into more areas of jewellery design and to work on some high end collections and gallery pieces. My aim is to cover all aspects of jewellery making such as enamaling, ceramics, acrylic, resin and all the other remaining metals. Most of which I can learn through YouTube so I'm optistic that I can cover everything. My dream is to become the next Michael Kors or Channel with celebraties wearing my pieces. For now I'll just settle with trying to get a bigger customer base and having more people wearing my work.
I'll leave you with a couple of custom pieces I have made over the year.
If you would like to see some more, take a look at the custom section on my website. Or just follow me on social media as I usually post a new piece everyday.