|Easter cupcake from K’s Mum|
|Relaxation: sofa, blanket, tea, blog|
|Stunned my friend’s cat with the flash!|
|Work-related reading. Yes, seriously.|
|Beautiful. Visits here a perk of my job!|
|Cooking dinner by candlelight|
|Love this ring|
I wasfirst introduced to Oberon Jewellery by fellow blogger, Sarah of Sarahs-Scribbles. She was tweeting her excitement and delight upon receiving a bespokehand-crafted rabbit necklace she’d ordered and I loved the look of it sodecided to check out the rest of the collection.
Havingviewed the OberonJewelleryFacebook page and Etsyonline shop, I loved what I saw!
Thebrains behind Oberon is a lovely lady by the name of Sarah. As a busywife and mum-of-one, every piece of jewellery is created from a craft table inher living room and you can really see how much love and attention goes intoeach item when you see the final product.
Self-taught,unique and passionate, I spoke to Sarah to find out what Oberon Jewellery meansto her.
WHEN DID YOU START MAKINGJEWELLERY?
I first made jewellery when I was ateenager after a trip to Liberty’s(a long time ago now!) I bought some beads in their Bazaar Hall and madesome earrings, then took them apart again and remade them into variousthings. I still have the beads now! A few years ago I dabbledbriefly and sold a few pieces, but then life took over.
After undergoing IVF to have mybeautiful son, he had some health issues which took over, so my jewellerymaking was put on hold. Thankfully, my son improved enormously, I left mypart-time job and a couple of years ago was asked by a friend to make herwedding jewellery.
Although I started off creatingwith beads, the use of silver clay came about when a good friend of minetrusted me with a fair amount of her money to make her a silver bracelet. This lit the fire in me and I from then on I wanted to continue working withsilver. It took me another 6-months to build up both the supplies andfunds to make another silver clay piece (the silver print bird) but now I usethe silver more than I use beads! I love using the silver clay as it hasan eco twist with so much of it being recycled silver. I also think it’sreally adaptable for making different designs.
WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED, WAS ITFOR A HOBBY OR DID YOU START IT WITH A BUSINESS IN MIND?
It was definitely just a hobby whenI first started, but I began to believe it could be a business when myneighbour marched me to a local boutique with a piece of my work that she lovedand they showed an interest!
HOW DO YOU FIT YOURJEWELLERY-MAKING AROUND YOUR LIFE AS A BUSY MUM?
My son is at school so I fit myjewellery making around him, plus my mum helps out when I have a lot ofcommissions to work on, which is great. I also have a lot of very latenights as I love working when my husband and son are asleep as it’s so quiet!
IS MAKING JEWELLERY DIFFICULT?
It can be, but I love it! Ittook me until I reached the age of 40 to be able to say I was doing something Iloved. I’ve had lots of jobs in my life – from bars and shops, to lookingafter plants, being a dental technician and, lastly, being a school sciencetechnician! I work longer hours making my jewellery than I have in any ofthese other jobs, but I enjoy it so much more than anything else I’ve everdone.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULARPIECES YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF?
The work I do with silver isgetting better all the time – the more pieces I do, the more I can see animprovement, so I guess, in many ways, every piece becomes my newfavourite! I’ve been lucky enough to have had my jewellery featured inCosmopolitan magazine and I was commissioned to create a piece for thetelevision show Hollyoaks – I love spotting it on screen! But, aside fromthat, I love making pieces that are special gifts – the feeling of creating anitem that could become a family heirloom makes me very happy. I loveproducing bespoke items and turning people’s ideas into a reality.
DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR DESIGNTHAT YOU WOULD LOVE TO MAKE BUT HAVEN’T DONE SO YET?
Lots! I constantly have ideasrattling around inside my head – I have to write them all down so I don’tforget them and then I spend time sketching them all out. The biggestproblem with this is cashflow – I have to get a few sales or commission to beable to fund an ‘indulgent’ piece (ie one that I’m making “justbecause”). I love my customers to set me challenges and test my skills,in fact, I have a blogger at the moment who has asked me to create a piecewhich means learning new skills and buying new equipment, so that’s veryexciting! I’m also in the process of designing some pieces to celebratethe Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, so that’s pretty special.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE YOURBUSINESS IN 5-YEARS TIME?
To be honest, I very rarely thinkbeyond the next few months. I had a wish-list of three things: to see oneof my pieces in a major magazine, to have a piece on television and to see acelebrity wearing one of my items – I’ve achieved two out of three so far,which is great! My hope is that in 5-years time I will still be makingjewellery and still enjoying it as much as I am now. It would also benice to be able to pay off my credit card as I’m always funding new materialsand equipment!
My son was very ill again last yearand his condition became life-threatening. He is really well again now,although there are some ongoing issues which can be challenging, but I feelvery lucky to be able to be at home with my son when he needs me and still havemy jewellery as a creative outlet allowing me to be ‘me’.
WHO IS YOUR INSPIRATION WHEN ITCOMES TO BUSINESS/LIFE?
Life-wise, my mum. She was asingle parent with a successful career as a Head Teacher and she brought me upsurrounded by fun – I had a very happy childhood.
Work-wise, it’s hard to say who myinspiration is. It may sound a bit namby-pamby, but I take each day as itcomes and I’m terribly disorganised – I still can’t quite believe I run my ownbusiness!
I first heard of Alyssa on Twitter. Journalist and TV Presenter Dawn Porter posted a picture of herself wearing a bespoke piece that Alyssa had made for her and it caught my interest. I had a look at Alyssa’s website and started following her on Twitter, not knowing that soon she would be someone I would be proud to call a friend.
Despite her young age, Alyssa is a recognised entrepreneur – so much so that she is invited to events all over the country and is currently the resident entrepreneur at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in Hertfordshire. (She’s constantly rubbing shoulders with celebrities and takes it all in her stride!)
Barely a week goes by without Alyssa featuring in a newspaper or magazine article and she even had her own fan club – The Alyssa Groupies!
So, why all the attention for a girl who makes jewellery in the comfort of her little studio in Hertfordshire? Quite simply, because her work is stunning and her ambition is infectious.
I myself own two pieces of Alyssa’s jewellery – one is a heart shaped ‘Wish Box’ locket and the other is a bird house with a little bird peeking out of the doorway. Delicate, intricate and perfectly made, each item is made by hand with 100% concentration and dedication. Alyssa accepts nothing but perfection in her work and this is clear to be seen in the quality of the pieces she produces.
As well as making bespoke designs to order (tell her roughly what you want and she’ll make your idea into a reality) Alyssa has several collections, the most notable being her Tweetie birds. These were inspired by Twitter, the huge following she has on there and the amount of interest and support she has received from people she’s met through the site. The Tweetie birds are a top-selling range for Alyssa and are often spotted on celebrities in magazines and on the television.
Aside from her work, Alyssa is also a genuinely nice person. I’ve often seen her go out of her way to help those in need, once even arranging a Twitter-wide collection for one of her customers who sadly lost their home and belongings in a fire. Alyssa’s kindness saw people from far and wide sending donations to help them get their life back on track.
Alyssa is a perfect example of what can be achieved if you have a dream and are prepared to work hard to make it a reality.
She’s not just a jewellery designer or just an entrepreneur; she’s a role model too.
DO YOU ENJOY YOUR NEW ‘TWITTER-CELEB’ STATUS?
(laughs) Yes! It’s crazy but totally amazing!
WHAT’S THE BEST FREEBIE YOU EVER GOT, SIMPLY FROM BEING ALYSSA JEWELLERY?
I actually get lots of freebies, which surprises me! From jewellery hangers, facial creams, boxes of chocolates, to soya yoghurts! I enjoy them all because I never know they’re going to arrive!
IF YOU WERE A BISCUIT, WHICH WOULD YOU BE?
Definitely a Jammy Dodger!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
I love anything Tapas style!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DRINK?
Oh, that’s difficult! Non-alcoholic – probably Ribena. If alcoholic – bubbly (with Ribena in it!)
DO YOU SLEEP WALK?
IF YOU WERE ASKED, WOULD YOU DO A REALITY TV SHOW WHERE THE CAMERA FOLLOWED YOU EVERYWHERE?
Erm, do you know what? I think I would! As long as it didn’t follow me into the toilet and weird things like that!
CARS OR BIKES?
DOGS OR CATS?
WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR FRIDGE AT THE MOMENT?
Pretty much nothing, as usual. Some goats cheese, a few peppers, a bottle of pink champagne, some garlic puree, salad dressing and some olives. Nothing edible really…
HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES DO YOU OWN?
I can’t even count! But I like to line them up and look at them sometimes! Anything sparkly is a must for me. I recently bought some pink Vivienne Westwood ‘Melissa’ shoes and they smell of bubblegum – I love those ones!
ANY BAD HABITS?
Talking in the cinema?
IF YOU WERE AN ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
I don’t know. Maybe a pussy cat? They sleep a lot and lay around in the sun!
WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD, WHAT DID YOU DREAM OF BEING ‘WHEN YOU GREW UP’?
A jewellery designer! Once, when I was little, I got really into The Bill and wanted to be a policewoman, but that only lasted about a day. I’ve pretty much always wanted to be a jewellery designer for as long as I can remember! Even when I was 4 or 5, I was stringing up buttons and beads to make necklaces!
WHAT HOBBIES DO YOU HAVE?
I quite like cooking when I get the time and I enjoy going to my local spinning class when I can – strangely enough, I find it relaxes me! I also enjoy going to museums and galleries – that’s something I love to do when I get a chance. I also love architecture, so looking at old classical buildings is something I enjoy. I like Hatfield House and go there a lot in the summer for picnics, to look around their flower gardens and exhibitions. Spending time with my family, boyfriend and friends is also very important to me.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TV PROGRAMME?
At the moment, Pram Face and Suits!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FILM OF ALL TIME?
I have a few – Step Brothers, Pixar’s UP, Despicable Me, Alice in Wonderland, How to Train Your Dragon…
WOULD YOU RATHER FIGHT 10 DUCK-SIZED HORSES OR 1 HORSE-SIZED DUCK?
I’m not a fan of horses, they’re so BIG! Although I’d quite like 10 little duck-sized horses. I’d dress them up and brush their hair. May even put a little horn on them and pretend they were unicorns?
IF YOU COULD RENAME YOURSELF, WHAT NAME WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
I have NO idea! I quite like my name, it’s unusual, plus my surname is a clue as to what my profession is – total coincidence though!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD?
I haven’t found it yet!
WHAT SONG WILL ALWAYS GET YOU ON THE DANCEFLOOR?
‘Moves Like Jagger’ (recently) but I’m always the first one on the dancefloor anyway, so it doesn’t take much!
DO YOU HAVE ANY FEARS?
Growing up and dying, or having those I love die.
DO YOU PREFER A ROAST DINNER IN THE WINTER OR A BBQ IN THE SUMMER?
Can I have Tapas in the summer?
WHO HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE AND WHAT DID THEY TEACH YOU?
My mum and dad, and my boyfriend. They continuously teach me and spur me on to be who I am.
ARE THERE ANY WORDS OF WISDOM YOU WOULD LIKE TO PASS ON TO THE LILLIESANDLOVE READERS? PERHAPS A QUOTE OR MOTTO?
My favourite quote is: “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about”.
IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT 3 THINGS WOULD YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
Only 3? I can’t choose 10 things, let alone 3! Loo roll?
WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF IN YOUR LIFE?
I have so many proudest moments, I just can’t choose! I have some for my personal life and some for my professional life. It’s hard to pick just one.
WHAT WAS THE HAPPIEST MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE?
(laughs) Same as above! I’ve had so many good memories, some bad, like everyone does, but the happy moments outweigh the bad. I’ve loved celebrating birthdays with special people, spending time with special people, I’ve loved moving into my own house with my boyfriend and buying my dream car, I’ve loved seeing my favourite celebrities wearing my jewellery on television and in magazines, I’ve loved meeting amazing people and feel so lucky, I loved picking up my two kittens for the first time (Blossom Ruby Sapphire and Merlin Casper Picasso) and taking them home to their new house, I’ve loved going for picnics in the park, being shortlisted for some amazing awards… I haven’t got engaged yet so I can’t say that one! I do however cherish every moment of my life and live every day.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT?
Too many to list!
WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?
One of my earliest memories is having a Sylvanian Family baby duck, hedgehog and beaver, and carrying them around with me everywhere! I also remember I used to ‘bath’ my My Little Ponies and wash/brush/plait their hair… then my mum would have to throw them away because they got full of water and started going mouldy – yuck!
DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE LILLIESANDLOVE READERS?
No matter who are you, or what you do, always live life to the full! I’d say that sometimes we need bad days to appreciate the good ones – if we didn’t have the bad days, we wouldn’t know when we were having a really good day! Love those around you and don’t take anything for granted in life!