This week I interview my friend Lisa, a former Lanta local, whom I met whilst living on Koh Lanta. Since returning home to the North East of England, Lisa has started designing and making jewellery.
What made you start Northern Ray?
I have been in customer focused sales jobs for years, I owned . technical recruitment company and generally lost the passion for recruitment in general. After a year travelling I decided that life is too short and look to do something that I would be passionate about. As I have always been quite ‘crafty’ and made jewellery before it was a bit of a no-brainer.
What are your influences – what or who inspires you?
A lot of my inspirations for colours are the sea and nature; sunsets, ocean colours and the like. I do rather like mixed media and beadwork so try to mix natural colours and materials with an industrial look by using copper and steel. I believe it is very important to be aware of the waste we produce. I don’t use any plastics and am upcycling things I see into my items like junk shop finds, recycling old jewlellery and things I find. I am doing al ot of beer cap jewellery at the moment.
What are the best parts of the resin process?
De-moulding bangles, I get quite excited to see if an idea has worked.
What struggles have you come across?
I have developed a mild reaction to resin! This means that I have had to change resin a few times. As I use more Eco-friendly resin this limits the suppliers I can use and of course pushes up the price.
How do you interact with your customers?
Mainly online at the moment. In the summer I will be attending craft fayres and the like, however it is still a bit chilly for me to stand outside all day. I’m happy to wait for warmer weather.
Where do you see yourself and Northern Ray in five years?
I’d like to have a good range of stockists in the Northeast and be able to make more bespoke bangles. As I am committed to making everything by hand this limits the amount of products I can produce to a high standard so I am not committed to any significant growth, more being happy making jewellery people love to wear. At some point it would be nice to move to a larger studio away from home and work collaboratively with other jewellery makers.
Can you give some advice on starting your own jewellery business?
- Buy the best tools you can afford.
- No idea is too silly, listen to people if they offer ideas.
- Try not to spend too much on the marketing (cards etc) and even if you don’t want to (like me) get on with the social media stuff (I will soon!)
You can browse Lisa’s selection of hand-made jewellery at her online shop www.northernray.shop