Every Wednesday The Folksy Blog will be finding out a little bit more about one of our sellers in this new series called ‘Shop Talk’. This week we’re talking to Jemima Lumley from Folksy shop ‘Jemima Lumley Jewellery’
“Jemima Lumley Jewellery – One-off handcrafted sterling silver and 18k gold jewellery”
For many Folksy sellers, owning and running a little independent shop where we can create and sell our art and craft to members of our local community is the dream. But Jemima Lumley already has a bricks and mortar shop on the Gloucester Road in Bristol! She uses her Folksy shop as an outlet for her more unusual and individual pieces. Her current work on Folksy is delicate and feminine, with most pieces featuring tiny songbirds and pretty daisies.
Could you describe your shop?
My shop is a selection of the silver jewellery found in my B&M shop in Bristol – my best sellers and some favourite pieces. Much of my work is delicate looking, pretty and feminine, but also playful and practical. Influenced by Rob Ryan, Tord Boontje, Victorian mourning jewellery, 1950’s textiles, my talented colleagues in the shop….
Who will ‘Jemima Lumley Jewellery’ appeal to?
I like to think it appeals to lots of women out there, of all ages. Certainly the customers in my shop are a complete cross section – though, obviously, they are all very stylish!
Is running Jemima Lumley Jewellery your day job?
It is my day (and often, evening) job. I’m very lucky to have been able to build up my business in a fairly organic way. For nearly twenty years I was a graphic designer in children’s publishing, but when I went freelance I realised that what I really wanted was to be making things in real life, not on the computer. After an unsuccessful attempt to make money from my inadequate crochet work, I went on a silver jewellery course, and ended up here 4 years later.
Along with my fellow craft people, we run our little craft shop/workshop on the Gloucester Road in Bristol. There are six of us at Fig making all sorts of different items, from screen printing, appliqué, polymer jewellery, mixed media…. a real treasure trove of goodies! You can read about the goings on at our very un-techie blog.
Have you been into craft and the handmade lifestyle for long?
I think I always was in some way! My mother had a hand knitting company when I was young, and has always been an excellent crafts woman of all types – knitting, tapestry, quilting, cooking (she’s even written a cook book!) and gardening. Most of my family are or were artists or crafts people, so it’s always been around me, and seen as an ‘normal’ way of life. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at many crafts (mainly unsuccessfully), but I do bake a mean cake. Often. My husband was a practicing artist, but his career hasn’t taken off, so he is just finishing his retraining as a cabinet maker. It certainly helps to be with someone who understands the highs and lows of a crafts person’s lifestyle, though it does place a strain on er…. cash flow shall we say!
When you’re not selling online where do you promote and sell your stock?
Luckily my own shop is my chief outlet, which allows me to quickly gauge interest in a new product (or lack of it in many cases!). I do have several galleries who also stock my work – from Devon to Edinburgh – alongside my online sellers.
Do you have plans to expand your business in the future?
Ah, yes, the five-year-plan question! I’m told by clever friends that I should have proper plans for the next 5 and 10 year periods, but they are rather vague. I have 9 years to run on the lease on the shop, so at least I know where I’ll be physically! Having worked in a big industry for many years, and ending up managing a department of people, I’m reluctant to employ anyone to help on a permanent basis, and I love the fact that everything bought from me has been made solely by me. I do have someone who does my paperwork (I have paperwork-blindness) and an accountant (I have accounts-blindness too). But things have been gradually improving, and I’m pretty much as busy as I can be without deserting my children, so I really need to have a think about long term plans. Soon. Very soon. Honest.
Jemima’s Chaos theory – The Messy Area!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about opening up a shop here on Folksy?
Photography, photography, photography. Bad photos of a good product = no sales. No matter how good your product, sub standard photos will kill it dead. I took my own photos for a while and couldn’t work out why real customers would buy the items, and virtual ones didn’t. I now have all my photos taken by a professional photographer. It’s money well spent as I can use her photos for postcards, websites, business cards, labels, packaging…. her work has made me look a lot more professional. I don’t think you have to use a professional photographer, but be honest with yourself, and get feedback. If they’re not good enough get someone else to take them.
Also be prepared to try different products if things aren’t shifting, ask lots of advice on the fabulous forum, have a smart looking banner and avatar and promote like mad if you have the time and energy. Finally, I’m very shallow – I’m a complete sucker for lovely packaging! Making people feel good before they’ve even opened the box is apparently good psychology. Well it works on me anyhow!
We’d love to hear your comments!