Two weeks retail experience
It all started with a few missed calls and a voicemail. If you know me you should know that I always somehow miss important phone calls. It was regarding a pilot scheme taking place in Birmingham’s Bullring Shopping centre.
Basically it was a set of high end markets set up by Appear Here to promote local and independent artists, not just in jewellery but other crafts such as skincare, chocolates, tea, watches and many more. It was a great chance to compete with high street stores and figure out the high street market.
This was a great opportunity to get my name out there and meet a different customer base. That was outside of craft fairs and jewellery shows. It was also humbling to learn that people came to see me because they saw or my recognised my jewellery from elsewhere. I must say from the beginning of this journey there is not a better feeling than being told that someone recognises your work. That has been the main focus to have my brand relate to my jewellery that it is instantly recognisable. Also it was equally amazing to meet other entrepreneurs in the same boat as me.
How did I find it
Retail has always been hard to tap into especially if people have not heard of you or your brand but as the days went by people did start responding to my craft. I am not going to say it was easy, some days were really hard especially people coming into Bullring shopping centre expecting to buy from retail stores. Mostly mass produced, they were not really expecting handmade bespoke pieces from local artists to be on show. On the other hand people that love buying from independent designers were more than excited to see us.
However, what I also experienced was a lot of people were reluctant to support the local independent businesses.
I believe thousands of graduates come out of universities each year. All skilled and talented but they get stuck into unwanted jobs. They get bored, their talent and their skills are lost. I believe that “handmade” now is considered a hobby rather than an appreciated art and skill. No machine can make them… We are more than happy to pay for a mass produced item only because it was mass produced without realising how it was made or its true worth. Believe that when you are buying from a local independent maker or an artist you are not just getting a product. You are investing in their passion and art. You are giving hope to the next generation and at the same time making sure their talent is not lost in this big crazy world. Invest in the future generation and make sure their craft is respected.
It has been a massive learning curve and I intend to take these experiences with me into the next stage of business. I am so grateful to have spent these two weeks at the bullring pop up shop and to have met so many different types of personalities from all walks of life. Experiences make you stronger and each experience builds you as a brand. Dream big. It may take its time and it may also seem like it is not achievable but trust me! Dream Big! As possibilities are endless.
It is true that it is a tough world out there. But learn from your mistakes, stay true to your brand and always trust yourself.
Thankyou to everyone that came to see and purchased my jewellery. Especially thank-you to everyone that helped cover my shop so that my days could be easier. Finally a massive thank-you to Appear Here and Bullring for giving me this experience.
Hats off to all the retail staff. These two weeks were the hardest ever for me and I cannot begin to imagine the pain retail staff go through on a daily basis. Thumbs up for doing your job well guys.
As for me I think I am ready to retire haha
Keep in touch
“My intention is to create an Inspiration blog for Handmade Jewellery Businesses. I hope through this blog I can encourage someone to not give up with their dreams and carry on bringing joy to others as a handmade bespoke jewellery business, as no matter how long it takes it will eventually come true. Think about how far you have come since you first started and how far you will to go until you have reached your destination to start a new journey again.”- Nadia