What is your name, and the name of your business?
My name is Kelly; my business is called ‘Willow & Twigg’. I make handcrafted artisan jewellery; using silver, sea glass and semi-precious stones.
Where are you based?
I live in a village called Alverstoke in Hampshire; which is right on the south coast of the UK, overlooking the Isle of Wight.
How did you get the idea for your business?
I used to be an officer in the Royal Navy; having left after fifteen years to focus on my family. As the time approached for my children to start school; I began to consider what I would do with my time and, wanted a new occupation for myself.
It was important for me to be able to work from home; so I could still be available for my family at all times, so self-employment was the obvious choice. I have designed and created jewellery as a hobby for many years. Originally focussing on beading and wire wrapping techniques, and I decided to expand on that.
Once we moved to our current home, and I found myself living so close to the sea; I started picking up sea glass during my regular walks. That sparked not only an obsession with beachcombing; but I also began to study and learn traditional metalsmithing techniques so that I could work with silver and incorporate the sea glass into jewellery. Turning the things I found; into wearable treasure and my one-time hobby into a business!
What is the favourite part of your business?
Without a doubt the best part is the very end result; getting positive feedback and, such lovely responses from those who have bought; or been gifted my jewellery. It really is so rewarding to know that the things I have worked hard to create; have gone on to make people smile, and that what I do ultimately generates happiness in others. That’s such a lovely feeling!
Which is your favourite product that you sell?
That’s a tricky one; as a great many of my pieces are unique ‘one of a kind’ items that can’t be replicated. But I have to say my sea glass clasp bangles are a favourite thing of mine to make; and one of my most popular creations. Each one is always naturally different from the others; but the style and design is something I’ve worked hard to get right and I am proud of them!
One thing we don’t know about you?
I don’t drink tea or coffee. Or any hot drinks for that matter!
Biggest thing you’ve learned in business?
To be yourself and, stay true to your own beliefs, ideas and style. It may be a bit of a clichéd thing to say; but if you’re going to manage a business then you need to make sure it’s a reflection of who you are and. Have the confidence to make it your own; trying to be something or someone you’re not is too hard to sustain and, chances are you won’t enjoy it.
One thing you could not live without?
Apart from the obvious answer of my family; however I could not live without the sea, or at least be within close reach of it. I’ve spent too much of my life living or working on or around it now – it’s in my soul!
Favourite event of the year?
Christmas; without a doubt. I absolutely love Christmas and always have; but now I have three little girls, who totally believe in magic and it’s a really special time of year.
Shout out to your favourite brand?
That would have to be Lucy & Yak. They are ethical clothing retailers; I pretty much live in their dungarees when I’m working. I consider them my uniform these days!
Cats! My cat Lacey; is the best pet I’ve ever had. She is fourteen now and, has been with me since she was a kitten. She’s literally travelled the world with me as well; we once lived in America for three years, while my husband was on a military exchange with the US Navy, and Lacey came too.
If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be?
Probably a horse. Not a domestic horse, but a wild one; just to feel what it’s like to experience the euphoria of running completely free!
Where can we find you?
I have my own website www.willowandtwigg.com which not only has more information about me and, the jewellery I make; but also has links to all my social media pages including Instagram and Facebook.