Meet the Maker: Handmade Retro Jewellery
Like most children of the 1980s, Fallon Rice from Handmade Retro Jewellery can’t resist a pastel-coloured party ring, fondant fancy, jazzy Liquorice Allsort or Rubik’s Cube. But unlike most, she loves them so much she built an entire handmade business around them, starting off by making food-themed jewellery in polymer clay and later adding home decorations to her cute and quirky range. Here, Fallon talks to fellow maker and Folksy seller Clara Castner about recreating memories, running a creative business during Covid and the best biscuits for dunking.
To celebrate being our featured maker, Fallon is offering 15% off everything in her shop with code RETRO2020 until Sunday 6 December 2020. Click here to shop Handmade Retro Jewellery on Folksy >
Learn how to make your own polymer clay Christmas decoration in this tutorial by Fallon – https://blog.folksy.com/2020/11/27/christmas-decoration-tutorial
I’m an eighties child, so the retro food you find at old school birthday parties is an absolute favourite at mine – plates of iced ring biscuits, fondant fancies…Fallon Rice, Handmade Retro Jewellery
I absolutely love your work! Please introduce yourself and tell us all a bit about yourself.
Thank you very much! I’m Fallon, a thirty-something year old, living in Hertfordshire with my husband and two-year-old daughter. I’m an avid crafter, have been all my life, trying my hand at many different activities for fun and making numerous things for my daughter and as gifts. I also love home baking and drinking copious cups of tea! I have a degree in photography and shoot freelance baby and children photography (when global pandemics don’t get in the way!).
What drew you to polymer clay? And what made you choose what you make?
I’ve been using polymer clay since I was a child, initially making teeny tiny food for my dolls house – which is how most people tend to start! My husband bought me a food-themed polymer clay book many years ago and, after experimenting with cakes and sweets, I decided to start selling the increasing number of makes I produced, mainly to clear some space! From there I set up my Folksy shop, increased my online presence and am now here today!
I chose to continue the foodie theme as I love all things quirky and retro. I’m an eighties child, so the retro food you find at old school birthday parties is an absolute favourite at mine – plates of iced ring biscuits, fondant fancies, etc. Whenever we have a birthday at home, we always have that kind of tea party to celebrate. I think the theme evokes a sense of nostalgia and brings back good memories from the past – my Allsorts sweetie bracelet was one of my very first makes, and is still so popular today with the young and old!
I think the my jewellery evokes a sense of nostalgia and brings back good memories from the past. My Allsorts sweetie bracelet was one of my very first makes, and is still so popular today, with the young and old!Fallon Rice, Handmade Retro Jewellery
What are your inspirations?
Inspiration strikes me at any time. I generally get distracted by anything cute and quirky, especially colourful eye-catching things. I love kawaii styles, and have incorporated that into some of my pieces – adding faces on them. Current trends inspire me, as well as actual foods. Being a keen baker, I follow lots of baking accounts on social media, and sometimes try to recreate something edible into clay form. I’ve also had many commissions and special requests over the years, and have then made these into pieces for my shops too.
I branched out to making home décor pieces last year in 2019, as I’ve always loved little decorations and hanging pieces myself – I have a whole collection of trinkets I’ve picked up from other crafters, which hang on a decoration tree in my lounge. My first makes for my homeware collection were little tags for home baking – flour, sugar, etc – which I kept for myself, then made more at people’s requests. I also decided to make things that a wider audience might enjoy. Although the jewellery is designed for anyone, not everyone would wear a sweetie bracelet or biscuit necklace! So I wanted to expand into non-wearable pieces too, while still keeping my cute and quirky theme.
I branched out to making home décor pieces last year in 2019, as I’ve always loved little decorations and, although my jewellery is designed for anyone, not everyone would wear a sweetie bracelet or biscuit necklace!
What do you like to do in your downtime (if or when you have any!).
Well, having a part-time job, running this business and having a two year old doesn’t leave me much free time! But mental health is very important to me, so when I do have a spare evening I love to sit down and cross stitch. In the past few years, there have been lots more modern patterns available, especially cute foodie-themed ones, so naturally I’ve been drawn to these (traditional twee cottages and flowers just aren’t my style, I’m afraid!). I love to stitch while watching a box set on my tablet, headphones in and a nice cup of tea at hand – it really helps me to unwind and I’m in my own little bubble! During the lockdowns, I’ve also been planning lots of activities and messy play ideas for my daughter to keep her entertained. Pinterest has really been a great help for this!
What can’t you live without when you’re working?
Aside from my essential tools when working with clay (especially baby wipes to clean hands in between colours), I always need some kind of TV or music to keep me company while making or doing the admin – it’s usually This Morning on the TV (but only with Eamonn and Ruth!). I’m also partial to having snacks on the side to keep me going and, of course, a cup of tea!
I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved since starting this venture in 2011, especially how my business has grown throughout this strange year of 2020.Fallon Rice, Handmade Retro Jewellery
What are you most proud of in your business?
I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved since starting this venture in 2011, especially how my business has grown throughout this strange year of 2020. I’ve managed to increase my brand awareness during these lockdowns, possibly because I’ve had more regular time to promote online, and through that I’ve started to host regular social media market nights to launch new products and collections. Previously, I would attend ones with other makers, but recent ones have been just on my own pages and with my own products, and the response has been overwhelming!
I’ve also made lots more ‘virtual’ fellow crafter friends, and had more repeat, loyal customers, who have also become friends. I’ve launched lots of new ranges recently too, but one of my major achievements has been to start holding more ‘live chats’ on social media. I used to avoid talking on camera like the plague before, but I’m really proud that I’ve overcome that this year and started interacting with my followers more.
What’s been your biggest challenge through Covid?
Although my business has rocketed online during lockdown, which I’m so grateful for and overwhelmed by, moving EVERYTHING online this year has been a challenge. I would usually attend various craft fairs, but these have all, of course, been cancelled. The same goes for my lovely children’s jewellery parties, which can’t happen when not in person (I provide all the tools, materials and teach the children how to make the jewellery at the parties). I love interacting with people face to face and talking about my products and craft with them, so I’m really missing my markets and parties, but I guess there’s always next year!
Over the last year I’ve grown incredibly fond of a Lotus Biscoff biscuit… great for dunking in my tea.Fallon Rice, Handmade Retro Jewellery
Well, before I would always have said a Bourbon biscuit, hands down, but over the last year I’ve grown incredibly fond of a Lotus Biscoff! Both are great for dunking in my cup of tea, anyway!
If you love what you do, it does tend to take over your life!Fallon Rice, Handmade Retro Jewellery
What single piece of advice would you give someone starting their own creative business?
Although it’s great to have ambition and aim for the top, start small and once you’ve gained more knowledge and experience, grow with your business. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but be patient, work hard and keep going. What you put in, you will get out of it. If you love what you do, it does tend to take over your life.
Of course, there has been a lot of trial and error with my business over the years, and you can find yourself spending a lot on supplies and materials while you get more familiar with what you’re doing and the direction you want to go in. But be willing to constantly learn and improve – slow and steady wins the race!
Get 15% off Handmade Retro Jewellery with the code –
Click here to shop Handmade Retro Jewellery on Folksy >
Meet the Interviewer
The seller asking the questions this week is Clara Castner, maker of beautiful ceramic vessels and decorations inspired by geology and natural surfaces.