Running your own keepsake business

Running your own keepsake business

Being your own boss with a keepsake jewellery business

We are delighted to share this blog with you from our lovely member Gemma, owner of Lasting Touch Fingerprint Jewellery and Keepsakes. Read Gemma’s journey and if your desire to run your own keepsake jewellery business ignites, contact us here.


Gemma IllmanWelcome to Lasting Touch Fingerprint Jewellery and Keepsakes

Lasting Touch began in March 2013.  Having been made redundant from my previous job as a breastfeeding peer supporter, I was actually looking for ways to build my existing online jewellery business.  When I came across keepsake jewellery it seemed like the perfect business for me. It ticked all of my boxes and included all of the things I love most.  I could make jewellery, coo over babies, work from home, choose my own hours and tinker with websites, all in one role!!

A creative side I never knew I had

Before I started my keepsake jewellery business I had been running an online body jewellery business for many years.  I enjoyed doing that as I love websites and jewellery, but it was just buying and selling. I never made any of the jewellery myself.  To be honest, I didn’t even know that I could!!
I was nervous about the prospect of learning how to make my own jewellery.  Would it be really hard, what tools would I need, would my work be good enough to sell, was I actually going to be able to make any money out of this?   I started learning how to make the pieces by watching the training videos supplied by The Keepsake Association, using the kit that they had supplied me….it looked simple enough.   Safe to say, although it was a simple process, it wasn’t as easy as it looked and my first few pieces were pretty awful!  Luckily, I don’t give up easily, and having made my first few pieces I began to feel more confident that actually, I could get good at this if I worked at it.   At this stage, access to the TKA facebook group was invaluable, there were only a handful of us at that point, but we were all in the same boat and all supporting each other.
I began approaching friends and family, who I made pieces for at close to cost price so that I could practice, and before I knew it I was making some really beautiful things. I even surprised myself, I had never done anything creative before.

 

But could I sell to the general public?

Now this was scary! Was my work good enough to sell at a price I could sustain? Would I be able to sell enough pieces to make a living? These questions were worrying and put quite a bit of pressure on our financial situation at home.
The TKA support group was great at this point, lots of people were finding success with lots of different methods of selling.  I tried a few different things, small craft sales, parties at friends houses, sessions at the local soft play, play groups and children’s centres etc.  I was making sales but I wasn’t enjoying it. I loved making the jewellery, I just didn’t love selling it and it was disheartening to see other people posting pictures of their stalls and displays and being really happy doing them, that just wasn’t me.
A few months into my keepsake business, I was ready to give it up.  Luckily Victoria Casebourne came to my rescue on one of our 1:1 video calls and we had a good chat about finding the best way to run my business for me.  I had been so busy focusing on what was working for everyone else in the group that I wasn’t looking inwards to figure out what was going to work for me.  Victoria gave me the confidence to start to run my business, my way.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner but the one thing I do enjoy is selling online.  I’d had a website for over 10 years and all the skills I needed to run a website, and so from that point on I decided that that would be what I would focus on, and from there I have never looked back. Once I found where my own personal passion was, I was off!!

Lasting Touch Online

Some people believe that if you want to sell online, you throw up a website and people will come to it and buy your stuff, simple eh, you’ll be a millionaire before you know it!!    Not so!  Online selling is unfortunately not quite that simple and there is a minefield of information to wade through.  I already had a good lot of experience, but the internet was changing so much that I needed to learn up to date info, social media wasn’t even a thing when I started my first website!

Once again TKA to my rescue, Victoria invested in having some of the best experts in the field come and talk to us via video link about social media, SEO, creating adverts, taking photos and other aspects of online marketing that we would need to know if we were going to make a success of it.  As the group has grown, so has the list of experts and resources that we can access. All the expert calls get recorded so they are accessible to new members too.

I had my first website customer on Christmas day 2013!  Yay!
Unfortunately, I didn’t make a single sale in January 2014!  Boo!
BUT, I took £500 in February 2014 and my sales have increased month on month since then.
It’s been a journey for sure, but month by month I have analysed what’s worked and what hasn’t and 3 years later….  well lets just say I am taking my family to Disneyland this year on my keepsake business earnings just from the 2016 Christmas period.
My keepsake jewellery business hasn’t been a quick money maker, I’m 4 years in now and I still have a long way to go to reach my full potential, but I am learning along the way and most importantly I am thoroughly enjoying what I do.

I really found my passion in creating amazing pieces that capture not only fingerprints, but also hand and footprints, doodles & handwriting and even pawprints in sterling silver jewellery.
Although the majority of my pieces have baby and small children’s prints, I love working with adult prints too and I have even started to make pieces with cremation ashes.

hand and footprint star jewelleryDouble Fingerprint necklace with 2 heart charms

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