Tuesday, 20 December 2011

I won something!

I cannot believe it, the London Jewellery School had a competition running over the weekend where you submitted your designs and they chose their favourite.

I submitted my 18ct gold plated Gaia necklace. These are not only my favourite design but they are also becoming very popular with Beverley Knight taking ownership of hers last month!

Anyway, to get to the point I woke up this morning to a Facebook message saying I had won, not only that I was getting a voucher for one of their courses in London.
I have a long list of courses I want to take part in throughout the year but cannot for the life of me decide which I want to do first!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

I have been feeling like a real Scrooge this year with everything that has been happening lately I really couldn't be bothered.

I was asked to organise the staff Christmas meal for work, Friday morning came and I was terrified that it was going to be a disaster. I shouldn't have worried though, the venue was gorgeous and beautifully decorated, the staff were amazing and the meal was really scrummy!

Our company is quite small with only 16 of us but everyone gets on so well. The evening was for partners to come along as well so there was lots of chatting to be had. Our table was mainly talking about cars - no real surprise as we design transmissions for lots of car manufacturers.

I gave each couple one of my Christmas Cards with their meal choices in - good job I did as everyone had forgotten what they wanted!

Rob mentioned to the boss that the cards were my design and he was very impressed, they have been so supportive of my business and word quickly got around about what I do which is great!

The drink was flowing all night and everyone was 'merry' not wanting to leave at the end of the night!

The bosses are already talking about having a summer barbecue to celebrate the companies 5th birthday (I'd better get organising!)

Makes me realised what a fantastic company I work for.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Zazu Videography

Have you seen this fantastic video of one of my cards being made?
Photos were taken of every movement made to make the design and hey presto a video has been created!

and this is the finished design, I decided to turn it into postcards instead but may get some cards done too.

Postcards in packs of 4 with envelopes for just £2.50 available here

Gift Wrap £1.10 available here

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

What a Knight!

As some of you may know last night myself and Rob headed down into town to the Leamington Spa Assembly to see a gig.
I have been told for a couple of years now that I need to go as it is an amazing live venue and boy they werent wrong.
The venue is very intimate with intricate wall paper and decor, very art deco.

We had a great spot just two away from the front and had an amazing view.
The first group up were a group of 4 lads all of which played their own instruments and had incredible voices. They are from Australia and this was their debut in the UK. They are called Electric Empire so check them out.

There was another chap who's name I can't remember but was famous when I was just a little girl.

And then there was the absolutely stunning Beverley Knight. I didn't realise I knew so many of the songs, it was a real blast from the past and I will definitely be getting her albums now as the powerful voice coming out of this petite lady was incredible.
She came on stage in skin tight black trousers (like Sandy on Greece) and absolutely rocked the place!
There were a number of super quick outfit changes each time having more of a wow factor. I honestly dont know how she got changed so quickly!

At the end of the night the whole crowd sang Happy Birthday to her backing singer Bryan.

Myself and Rob were lucky enough to get passes to see Beverley after the show. There were only about 10 or so people who got to meet her so feel very privalaged.

We were all ushered to the bar area where Beverley came to meet up after getting changed a few minutes later. She came in with her cup of tea - very rock and roll!

She spent a few minutes talking to people and then came over to Rob and scaredy cat me  in the corner!
Beverley is the nicest person, just so lovely and friendly. I made her a necklace which I hope she liked, it was based on my Gaia necklace but a little more intricate.

I just want to say a huge thank you Beverley for putting on an amazing show and for putting up with me waffling to you last night!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Thinking about my New Years Resolution already

I have been at another event today and it has got me thinking about next year and where I want to go with the business.

So here goes:
I will not be attending smaller events
I will not be making things that I don't enjoy just because I think it will sell
I want to gain more stockist for both the cards and jewellery
I would like to have more of an online presence so will be looking into SEO a bit more
I would love to make more of a mixture of price ranges so make some lovely top quality gemstone jewellery
I want to attend a wedding fayre
The gift range is going to grow and I would love to add new items regularly

Well thats my thinking done until next year!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Been Featured

Just a quick post to give you an update on our new card range.
Well they seem to be very popular so far. Some have made their way to Studio 61 in Derbyshire and another lot will be working their way onto an online shop soon too.
My Nan has taken lots to sell at her local craft fair in West Wales.

I have also been featured on lovely Laura's blog check it out A Daisy Chain Dream please do take a look.

Present Greeting Card

Nearly forgot, I am running another offer with GoodyPass. Get a £15 voucher for my website which costs you just £5 - Christmas isn't that far away you know! GoodyPass

Friday, 23 September 2011

Cards, Post Cards & Wrapping Papers

I have been doing a lot of talking recently about launching a new gift range.
Well (drum roll please) hear is the first of it - YAY!

All of the designs have been made using beads I use in my jewellery

We have launched 4 postcard designs which will be sold in packs of 4 with envelopes these retail at £2.50 per pack.

There are 4 greeting card designs, left blank on the inside to use as you wish. These retail at £1.80 each

This is my favourite on, images of the rest will follow.

Some of the designs have also been made into gift wraps, these retail at £1.10 each gift tags will follow soon
These are large sheets measuring 50cm x 70cm

I hope you all like them, would love to hear your comments
We will be looking for shops to stock these items, if you would be interested please do get in touch here.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Halifax - Who Gives You Extra?!

As some of you may know 'R' lost his job in August. When it happened the first thing we did was to go into our local Halifax branch to arrange a payment holiday.

The chap was really helpful and said we would be eligible for up to 6 months payment free. We initially only took out 1 month and decided to take each month as it comes.

So we are coming to the end of the month and 'R' still hasn't got any full time work, although things are looking promising. This morning we headed into branch again and they said it wasn't anything they could do in branch. What? Only a month ago did we sort the last one out.

They said we needed to phone up to sort it so we requested to use one of their phones. I was on hold for 15 minutes only to be told we cant have another holiday. Again, What? We were told 6 months last month.

The bloke on the phone sounded as if he was half asleep and couldn't really give a damn about our case, he even asked us why we wanted the holiday... erm the same reason as last month.
He then went onto ask, 'well is he getting a job?' that is the plan I replied but it still means another month without money.

So as I tend to, I lost my rag a little, for him to finally say he has another solution.
His solution was that because 'R' had been making regular over payments we could have October off as it would be coming out of that money but after that nothing, zilch, Nada!

So what has Halifax done to give us extra.....
Naff all, just given us our own money back but refusing to help after that.
What happens if R isn't working in November? Are they prepared to just let us lose our home?

What else has happened between me and Halifax?

Last month went in branch to reduce my overdraft, they took all relevant information put it through the system and gave me a print out, so why did it fail to change on my account?

Had issues making payments when paying for shopping on my card, luckily I have a spare card with a different back.
Went into branch, they said there was nothing wrong but maybe I should try the card by making a small payment like buying a coffee before buying food shopping - thanks for that!

I phoned up recently to discuss my loan, I got through to someone who went on to transfer me to Sainsbury's - Yep I kid you not! The lady at Sainsbury's was very helpful, I just wish I would have taken the loan with them now!

When we took out the mortgage with Halifax they would be prepared to lend us 170k but wouldn't give us a joint bank account for us to put some of our wages into to pay the mortgage and bills. How does that work?

That's enough from me because I am about to boil!

Thanks Halifax for all your help over the last 24 years. I cannot wait till next year as when my loan comes to an end I will be moving current account, mortgage and ISA too.
It may not be much of a loss to Halifax but it will give me great satisfaction to go into branch and close each of the accounts.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

My Holidays

We hadn't been on holiday for about three years and with Rob losing his job recently it seemed like a good time to go away.

We headed down to my sisters near Cardiff last Saturday where we had a lovely relaxing time. We went down to their local beach which was scorching and then ate (lots!).

On Monday morning we headed to Cornwall. We decided to camp in Bodmin so set up camp ended up asleep by 8 because we forgot batteries for the light!

On Tuesday we visited Looe and Fowey. It rained constantly but this didn't stop us having a great time.

Wednesday we went to St Ives. I absolutely love it there, Rob ended up being dragged around all the shops!
We went to the pretty Cath Kidston shop, Poppy Treffry and Red Hot Sal amongst others.
We took a walk on the beach and managed to find some small bits of sea glass too which was a bonus!

On Thursday we went to the Eden Project. I have been before, not long after it had opened but it has changed so much. Loved every minute of it.
On Friday we went to Padstow, it wasn't long before the sky turned grey and we heard rumbles of thunder. Then there was the flashes of lightening and suddenly all plans for the day went out the window! To stay in the dry we went to the Jamaica Inn, had a lovely roast dinner and a wander round the museum.

We left only to see massive queues on the A30 so we de-toured for what seemed like hours in the fog and torrential rain over Bodmin Moors. 

The rain and wind continued all night, I did think that the wind was going to take our little tent but we were safe. Lots of other campers didn't last the night and packed up in the pitch black.

We are now back in Leamington Spa but so wishing we were back in Cornwall - I'm longing for a little shop down there now!

P.S Very annoyed we forgot to get pasties!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Liberty - Best of British

Well as some of you may seen from my tweets @zazujewellery myself and Rob headed down to London at the crack of dawn yesterday morning to join the queue for Liberty's Open Call.

So we got up at 5:00am and left for the train station at 6:20am.
We got into London and made our way to the back of the queue which was already all round the building at 8:30am.

We knew that we would be waiting for up to 3 hours but thought it would soon fly by as each person only had 3 minutes to make their pitch.
Doors opened at 9:30am and we were indoors within 15 minutes. Thinking about how quickly we had been moving  I stupidly thought we would be in and out by 11:00 at the latest!

After another 10 minutes we had made it half way up their four storey stair case. I was starting to get a little nervous thinking I was going to get in so quickly!

I had needed the toilet since leaving the train station but thought I could wait as we were flying up these stairs. How wrong I was!

When we had got half way up the stairs a lovely member of staff kept coming down to see if there were any people pitching Home wares and Gifts. These people were being moved to the front on the queue to be seen.
This kept happening, and as the hours went by we were getting more and more fed up standing on a single step as people behind were racing their way up the queue.

When it seemed as if there were no more people from Home wares and Gifts we did start moving again. All out our neighbours were jewellery people. It was weird how we were not being moved into the final room.

We spent another good hour on the last step waiting to go through where I registered my name to see a jewellery buyer.
We got in and the staff members that were registering artists mentioned that they were just going to rush people through. It did make me feel that they just wanted the day over and done with and we were the dregs of the queue that they just wanted to get rid of!
My name got called and I went to sit with 2 buyers (not convinced they were jewellery buyers). They liked my jewellery, made positive remarks and some suggestions but did say that they would of liked to have seen the whole collection. I had bought 3 pendants from the range in 3 different finishes as they did say on the invite  only to bring a maximum of 4 things.

So I left the building feeling great that they hadn't slated me but a little down that we were rushed through at the last minute after waiting for hours.

All in all I do think that Liberty's Best of British open call is a brilliant idea but I did feel it was disorganised, although the two girls running up and down the stairs were lovely.

Maybe as they only select such a small amount of people to go through to the next round it would be better to do a bit amount of vetting on application from the designers. If they don't think your work is right on the photo's then you don't get invited. They know exactly what kind of look they want and I feel that they would end up with fewer amounts of people to see but the work is something that has taken their interest.
I think this way they will see more potential designers that are better suited to the store and then potentially more people going through to the second round.
The last thing I heard yesterday was that 12 people had been selected to go through to the second round, not a lot for the number of people that turned up.

These are what I took, sorry about the rubbish pic it was done on my mobile.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

What a month!

We are only half way through the month but so much has happened, some good, some bad.

Our camping holiday to Cornwall has been booked - I cant wait. I haven't had a holiday for 3 years so it has been a long time coming. I just hope the weather is bearable!

R lost his job last Monday - not great news but he is keeping himself busy and i'm sure I have a whole host of jobs he can get on with! He is bored already so I may have to get some paint and get him decorating.
I couldn't believe it when he let me know he had lost his job, he was head hunted by someone he used to work with. He left a good job for this one and 3 months later they are laying people off.

On Tuesday I got some photography done for my new card ranges, it was a long day but so enjoyable spending time with my friend Sally Crane the photos that she has sent through so far are amazing. Here is a sneaky look!

What do you think?

On Friday I went to West Wales to see my Dad, I love going home. It is such a friendly place and I saw someone I worked with about 6 years ago which was lovely.
 I do miss the relaxed atmosphere down there and on the way to pick by sister up from the next town (20 miles away) I realised just how many people worked for themselves from their homes and workshops. There are so many talented people living down there.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

August Birthstone - Peridot

The modern birthstone for August is Peridot and I have to say I love it to bits. 
This necklace has a Lapis Lazuli star with little hanging Peridots on an oxidised silver chain.
Available from my shop here

The traditional birthstone is Sardonyx, I have just launched a new range featuring Sardonyx and lava. It is still waiting to be loaded to the website though

The cabochon birthstone is Carnelian, a pretty orangy red colour as seen here

Friday, 29 July 2011

Badge Machine, Stickers & Progress

Well this week has gone so quickly and that's because there has been a lot going on.

So only 10 minutes ago did the badge machine arrive. It has been unpacked, set up and a quite try out done. Not a good image but you get an idea

So this is what I made, a 25mm badge using my Gaia Spirals design. I can also make 48mm and 58mm items. Not just badges, but magnets and mirrors too.

This cupboard was bare last week when I moved my room around but now is full of badge making components.

I have also been making stickers, daisies and butterflies. There are 12 of each in every pack. Designs vary for each pack

So what else has been happening? I have been busy designing cards which will be printed once the photography has been completed.

I have also had a couple of jewellery jobs to do. Making a single earring to replace a lost one that I sold to a lady only last month.
She also wants me to repair some earrings ready for her wedding next week and make a pair of silver cufflinks for the husband to be.

I still have another pair of her earrings to fix but there is no immediate rush for those.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Craft Room Re-Shuffle

When I first set up my craft room it was in my spare bedroom, to make room the spare bed got moved into the corner of my bedroom.

Now a little fed up of seeing the bed everyday, the fact that I end up sleeping on the sofa whenever we have guests and now that we finally have wireless internet we don't have the need for a proper study.

So I decided to move my craft room into the study, its still very much a work in progress but it gives me the time to go through all my bits and have a good clear out.

Im soon going to be getting my own giftware line which means I have to find a home for 4000 gift wraps, greeting cards and postcards!

So this is my progress so far:

The main desk is in, just waiting for a jewellers bench now

Still need to find somewhere to put the telescope and get the mahoosive printer on ebay

And still need to sort the cupboard out & the spare room, I haven't even looked in there yet!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Competition Time!

As some of you may know Zazu Jewellery is soon to be expanding into the Gift ware market.

We will be introducing cards, postcards, wrapping paper, mugs, stickers, magnets, badges and mirrors initially and then expanding even more in the near future - Exciting eh!

I couldn't have done this with out the financial and morale support of one very generous person. You know who you are so thank you very much.xxxx

Before we get onto the competition we have 8 packs of our initial sample gift tags for sale. They will be £3 including postage for 10 instead of 5! Just get in touch if you are interested.

Right, competition time........
As I mentioned above we are going to be making stickers, and these are some that we have been playing around with. In the shape of daisy's. They will however come in many shapes and sizes and want to make them for various uses so everyone can enjoy them.

Now all you have to do to win some of these fab stickers is to leave us a comment and tell us what kind of things you would use stickers for and if for decoration what shapes and colours. There will be 10 lucky winners.

Good luck.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Zazu Needs You!

I have been thinking for a long time about introducing a giftware range to the business. This will tie back to the jewellery by using my beads and jewellery as the focus.

One slight problem though is funding. Unfortunately as I am not a big shop nor turning over 10s of thousands of pounds each year people (banks) do not take me seriously.

I have found a site that enables me to raise money through the help of the general public and  in my case as a thank you, each investor will receive products from the new giftware ranges. You will be the official reviewers for these products and only once you are happy with them will they be made to be sold.

The investments will be from as little as just £5.00 and I really would love it if you could join me in growing this new product range.

I will let you know step by step what progress is being made and what the next steps will be.

If you have any money to spare in return for some lovely goodies please do bear me in mind.

The website is: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/investment/zazu-jewellery-think-outside-the-box-265

If you have any questions please do get in touch with me.
My email is: chloe@zazu-jewellery.co.uk

Thank you

Sunday, 3 July 2011

July's Birthstone - Ruby

The Ruby is July's birthstone. They are meant to be nurturing, help with spiritual wisdom, attainment of values, economic stability, protection from distress.

I have found some amazing jewellery made from jewellery. 

This necklace from Liv jewellery

And these earrings from The Atelier

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Exciting Times Ahead

Zazu Jewellery has been trading for two years now and has moved on so much from where it started.

At first I was a little nervous of selling my own creations so I used to buy LOTS in. In fact I still  have lots that I'm selling though car boot sales! I have hundreds of pairs of £1.00 earrings still lying around!

My Mum came to visit me one weekend and noticed all the things I had been making, but most were never completed (my way of making sure they couldn't be sold!). She persuaded me to start selling them that weekend and I have never looked back.

At first I was keen to sell through any event I could possibly find. This meant I was selling somewhere at least once each weekend. I soon realised that a lot of events were not 'craft fairs' and simply a jazzed up boot sale or people were selling for peanuts and couldn't possibly even cover costs.

It was frustrating to see these people doing well as they seriously de value your items and when speaking to many they only consider themselves as hobby sellers - therefore don't pay all their hard earned takings to the HMRC!

2011 so far has been very positive, I exhibited at the British Craft Trade Fair and gained new stockists. Just before I exhibited at the BCTF I saw a job vacancy in the local paper and said to myself  'I could do that' so I applied and also quickly forgot about it. During the BCTF I got an email asking if I wanted to come for an interview and now I have got the job!

I started this week. it is part time giving me 2 days during the week to make and sell jewellery. Things will be a little tight financially for a while so there is a bit of healthy pressure on me now to make sure I get more sales, more stockists and in general more successful!

I am so excited about what this opportunity will bring to me and Zazu Jewellery. Hopefully the second half of 2011 will be just as good as the first!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Power Of Twitter

I joined Twitter in April 2009, not really knowing how it would benefit my business. Who was I meant to follow, what was I meant to talk about?

So two years later and I am completely hooked!

How has it helped me and my business?
Well I have gained new business from it (which was my goal)

I have made some lovely cyber friends from it, some of which I have since met others I haven't had chance to yet.

I have gained press coverage from it.

In March a networking evening was set up with local tweeters. It was a huge success and about 80 people turned up. We have just had our second event which was a quiz night. It was a great night and our team came third - YAY!

And now this week I got a tweet from one of my cyber friends saying she had something she didn't need and would I like it. It is just so lovely when people you haven't even met before think of you for these things.

I think that Twitter is a great free marketing tool and also a great way to make new friends.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Silver Explained

So how do we find out what our jewellery is made from?

Well if a piece weighs more 7.78 grams it needs to be hallmarked otherwise it cannot be classed as "sterling Silver" (or any other silver, we will come onto that in a min!)

If your jewellery is hallmarked you will usually see 3 or more little marks

AB Sponsor
or maker
Assay Office

The sponsors mark is your initials or company initials in one of many different shapes. Mine is ZJ for Zazu Jewellery in a shield. Each sponsors mark is unique and when you apply you have to put a range down incase its already taken.

The standard mark states what purity of the metal is. In silver there are 3 main marks that you will see.
925 - Sterling Silver meaning there are 925 parts in 1000 of silver
958 - Britannia Silver
999 - Fine Silver, which is a lot softer than sterling and is the metal that is produced from Precious Metal Clay

There are four Assay Offices in the country and each has their own mark.



You may also have a date stamp although this isn't mandatory.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Keeping the sparkle in your silver

So far all my blog posts have been real ramblings about things going on with my business. I am now going to try and add some jewellery information and hints and tips too.

One thing that I really hate doing is cleaning silver, so why not try and prevent having to spend valuable time carrying out this tedious task in the first place.

So what is tarnish?

Well it is a thin layer of corrosion that can appear on metals making it look dull in colour.
It occurs from various airborne chemicals, which will speed up the tarnishing process if jewellery is left  out in the open.
So what can we do to prevent it?

1. Grip Seal Bags
Always store your jewellery in an air tight bag to try and prevent any airborne chemicals getting to your pretties.

2. Silver Tarnish Cloth
You can wrap your pieces in one of these cloths to keep them out of direct contact with the air.

3. Anti Tarnish Strips
These are tiny little black strips which can be bought and placed in your jewellery box or displays to help keep them glistening.

4. Acid Free Tissue Paper
Store your jewellery in white acid free tissue paper in your jewellery box, this will not only prevent it from scratches against your other items but also keep it out of the air.

5. Quick Wipe Over
After wearing your jewellery always give it a quick wipe over before placing it back in its box, this will remove any oils that have come from your skin.

6. Apply perfume before jewellery
Always make sure that you put your perfume on long before your jewellery as this can speed up tarnishing.

Silver Studs based on the seaside

Sunday, 10 April 2011

More Beadies For Sale

So I am back from the British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) and busy making up orders. It was a really positive experience and learnt a hell of a lot from it. There are a few things that I would now do differently but all in all really good feedback was received.

This morning I decided to do a car boot sale to get rid of some unwanted items. Made a decent amount of money which unfortunately will be paying my credit card off :-(

I have ideas for some new ranges that require a little cash so some of my beads that dont make up my collections will be for sale. I still have a fair few beads that need to go to new homes and here are just a few.

Murano Glass Stars 13mm available in green, blue, dark gold. Each pair is £2.00 including postage
Murano Hearts also available

A 23" strand of various semi precious stones including Cherry Quartz, Tigers Eye, Goldstone, Jade, Black Agate hearts, Rhodonite, Jade Hearts and Jasper - £4.50 including postage

15.off 10mm Swarovski Crystal hearts in Bermuda. £4.50 including postage

17.off 20mm Jade hearts £4.00 including postage

15.off 15mm Black Agate Hearts £3.00 including postage

16" strand of 10mm Goldstone beads £2.50 including postage.

This is all for now bit still a few bits to go. If you are interested please dont hesitate to get in touch via: mail@zazu-jewellery.co.uk or leave a message on the blog

Sunday, 3 April 2011

British Craft Trade Fair - Day 1

The big event has finally arrived and day 1 now completed.

Yesterday we left home bright and early and got into Harrogate at 9am just in time for a spot of breakfast. We stopped at the famous Betty's Tearooms for an English Breakfast

We got to the Great Yorkshire Showground at about 10am and started to set up.
This was the space having just assembled the cabinets.

And this is us all set up.

There has been interest today but it did seem a little quiet. Maybe it was because it is Mothers Day?
Hopefully tomorrow will be nice and busy.