Tell us about yourself. Who you are, where you live and a
little bit about you and what you do in your spare time.|
I am Rachel Johns, a full time mum of two (Robert, 5 and Lily, 2.5) and full time jewellery designer.
I live in Hebden Bridge, an old mill town in the heart of the Pennines in Yorkshire.
It's become a creative centre, a melting pot of all kinds of creative people and I love it here!
I love all things design, am a real natural history and animal nerd but I was a bit of a telly head before I
discovered designing and making jewellery. Since I became a mum and started creating jewellery I don't
seem to have much spare time, but I love it!
What do you make?
I make sterling silver, semi-precious bead and freshwater pearl wire jewellery. I enjoy searching out unusual beads
and using them in a way that shows them off to their best advantage.
I create pieces with casual glamour that I want to wear and that can be worn with anything,
dress up or dress down so my customers can feel the investment they have made in something handmade they will
hopefully want to wear for years to come.
How & when did you get started designing & making?
I only started designing and making my own jewellery last year, it being my first ever creative endeavour at the age of 36! I used to take great interest in art, design, crafts, interior design, anything visual, but was more of an armchair admirer.
I don't know what happened to me last spring, it all started when I got a wad
of birthday money and wanted to treat myself to some beautiful and unusual jewellery. I couldn't find any! I hadn't
heard of Etsy then. This started me on a long journey which within about a month had me thinking, not only do I want to
design & create my own jewellery, I want this as my job! When I think back, I was always really interested
in jewellery when I was younger, but never in the mass produced items, my interest was in unique, one of a kind pieces.
What venues / websites do you sell from?
I currently sell nationwide in four galleries; Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge, Pyramid Gallery in York, The Bessemer Gallery in Sheffield and The Karen Taylor Gallery in Twickenham. Over the past year I have also been in three other galleries.
Online I am delighted to be accepted for and now selling on
Notonthehighstreet.com, and I really love the creative community and freedom of my Etsy shop. I am amazed at my success in my first year, especially in the current financial climate.
What / who inspires your work?
My main inspiration is from early twentieth century design, whimsy, glitter, glamour, faded opulence, Art Deco,
My designs don't look like Art Deco jewellery, though, they look like the mixed up concoction from that era
that is in my head! My pieces are all about quality jewellery that lasts and my passion is semi-precious stones
and 925 sterling silver.
My Grandma (‘Gilly’) had a silver and ivory inlaid sandalwood box with all the broken necklaces and beads she'd
kept from the 1930’s, and her mothers and her grandmother’s jewellery - rock crystal, chrysophrase, turquoise, pearls, jade, green onyx, originally from great long strings of beads. I spent hours as a child asking her the names and threading my own ‘necklaces’. Gilly also had a string of pearls she was given for her 21st and had worn it every week for the last 60 years. I loved how those pearls looked. Vintage is very ‘now’ but I think I’ve always been there, I’m glad everyone else joined me!
What are your plans for Rachel Lucie Jewellery Designs for the next 12 months?
Well, I need to knuckle down and get that business plan sorted! I am severely limited by time until my youngest
starts school in two years, so I need to be realistic about what I can achieve until then but it’s an ideal time to
test the water and learn more about the business and what works. Ideally, I would love to stock 10 or more galleries and really capitalize on my online stores by the end of this year.
Trade fairs are a big goal, I see this as being a way of really getting ‘out there’ but don’t have the resources as yet.
Studying silver-smithing or learning PMC techniques to take my work to the next level would be fantastic if I
can squeeze it in!
What marketing tips do you have for other artists, designers, crafters & makers?
No big tips, but I would say just keep at it! I approached my galleries by sending a speculative email with
good pictures of my work and got in to more than half of the ones I contacted. I really thought I had to have been
trained or a graduate but largely found that my jewellery and passion spoke for itself.
Believe in what you do,
make what you feel passionate about and keep getting yourself out there and things will start to happen for you.
There is also a great online handmade community springing up, become part of it.