I’m going to set the scene – It all began with $7 at Avian Park Raceway Paddy’s Market, its where they run the dogs and the trots in my home town. It doesn’t sound very glamorous, does it?
I am sure some of you will understand or remember when you had very young kids, mine would usually wake up at around 5am. I would have all of my household chores done by 7 am, the house would be shining. This would then leave a looong day ahead of me. It could be a bit like Groundhog Day at times.
One particular Sunday Morning about 11 years ago my day began as such so I decided to head down to Paddy’s Market to fill in some time, buy the paper and get the kids a 20cent lucky dip, in hindsight, I didn’t know how lucky I was in the day when a 20-cent lucky dip satisfied them – they’re much more expensive to please these days.
I was wandering around stopped to look at a trash and treasure stall and a little ring caught my eye. It was square, it had a sterling silver stamp so I knew it wasn’t junk and the inside of the square was red.
It was $7 and I tossed up whether to buy it or not for some time before I lashed out and handed over the money. Unbeknown to me that $7 would change the course of my life, it was my sliding door moment. I often wonder what would be happened if I had left it there that Sunday.
I didn’t know what the red insert on the ring was so I did a bit of research and decided that it was most likely resin. At this point my obsession with resin began.
My husband worked away for years when the kids were young – how convenient for him! The days were long and tiring but the kids were in bed quite early so I found the evenings quite lonely, this is when started spending quite a bit of time online surfing the net.
I had become quite intrigued with resin following the purchase of the ring, there were so many things you could do with it, you tube tutorials kept me up way later than I needed to be up.
I had a budget of $50 that I could spend on this new hobby so I purchase a resin starter kit on Etsy – it was from the USA and took forever to arrive – I’m not very patient either. That was way back in June 2009. as soon as it arrived I got straight to work and produced my first ever batch of resin jewellery – you tube was my tutor
I gave a lot of it away to family and friends (whether they liked it or not) and I did sell $125 worth. It was rough, really, really rough and looked pretty ordinary but I was as proud as punch. With that money, I purchased more equipment and slowly built the business by continuing to do this. I was lucky that there was absolutely zero financial risk involved in what I was doing and at this stage I would still have no idea what my hobby would turn into.
Effectively I started the business with just $50.
This period of my life was sadly also the hardest time of my life.In 2009 – just two weeks after purchasing the starter kit my eldest brother was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia – an horrific disease that would ultimately end his life in 2014
I was working for a Government Dept. at the time, it was a pretty emotionally tough job that was taking its toll on me, my brother was gravely ill, my husband was working away and my anxiety was through the roof – I was drowning fast.
My jewellery hobby was sweet relief in a really dark time – I honestly think it was a gift from an unknown force to get me through this time. It slowly dawned on me that I may actually be able to create an income from it. The local response what really overwhelming and to this day I thank the locals for supporting me from the very beginning.
My young niece suggested to me that I needed a Facebook business page and a business card – the business took off from here.
My goal was to eventually leave Centrelink but I knew I had to be equalling the income I made there for a 3-month period before I could resign. It was a really busy time working both jobs but before I knew it I realised it had become a reality – I could leave my day job.
It took me 2 years to quit Centrelink – I really feared failure (I still do)I would get the courage to resign and then somebody would make a tiny little remark like “you’re leaving such a secure job” and I would be back to square one.
Behind the scenes I was really struggling, trying to work two jobs, get to Melbourne to spend time with my brother who was slipping further away by the day, my kids were both really unsettled and anxious which I now realised was a reflection of my anxiety at the time. Life was pretty awful.
I had a pretty traumatic incident at Centrelink which made my decision, I needed to quit immediately or I was going to end up in being admitted.
I moved the boys into the same bedroom and set up my gear in the spare room, I would have customers coming to the house which was fine initially but after a couple of years I lacked boundaries working from home and knew it was time to move on – the little shop where I am at now and have been for 31/2 years was available and I knew it was perfect for me. This was when things really started to look up for me. Work was work and home became home again.
Over the years I’ve built the business up, I still pinch myself every day and don’t take it for granted for even a second. I have made some really good friendships over the years, shared lots of advice, tears and wins with the lovely community that has been created through it.
I have slowly fixed myself.
The business gave me flexibility with my boys, time with my brother before he died and time to heal without the pressure of an employer.
I’m eternally grateful that it all happened when it did, it may not last forever but it was there when I really, really needed it.
I love making the jewellery and being creative but I think it’s so much more than that it’s the connections that I have made with people that are far more important. I love people and I love talking so it’s the perfect job for me.
I listen to podcasts often when I work and I was recently listening to Shelly Craft and this stuck in my head “Family is life and the rest is just lovely cream on top”
Just a funny little story to end with, last year I did some work with a silversmith at Montsalvat in Melbourne. My aim was to recreate this ring as a bit of a tribute to my business journey. the jeweller I was working with was looking closely at the ring with her eye glass and advised me that the red insert was infact a piece of glass superglued into the recess of the ring, it wasn’t even resin after all!!