A story of a self taught ceramicist & jeweler

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A story of a self taught ceramicist & jeweler

One and Eight run by mum of 3

Susie is a designer, creator and owner of One & Eight, she’s a self taught ceramicist & jeweler, who enjoys learning through experimentation.

What influenced you to start this business?

For a number of years I worked in London as a buyer and product developer at a large department store. A fast paced and fun career but for me, not manageable when children came along. A few years ago I took a night class in Pottery and things spiraled from there. I loved the simplicity and crisp whiteness of porcelain clay, which I have been working with ever since. I have created many things from plates to bowls to decorations but it is making jewelry that I have fallen in love with. 

My retail experience has been invaluable when trying to navigate the process of setting up a small business. Don’t get me wrong, this is an ongoing process but I think you have to just get out there and try! 

How would you describe One & Eight/ What does the One & Eight brand mean to you? 

At One & Eight our aim is simple – to design timeless collections of delicate & individual jewelry.

Our ranges offer a unique fusion of quality fine metal pieces with handcrafted porcelain. Our love of simplicity shine through in our timeless, delicate designs.

Original, elegant packaging completes the look to create the perfect gift. 

I am passionate about good design and quality, with my aim being to create pieces that are constructed to last and evolve with their owner. 

I’ll let you into a secret. It takes a lot of hard work to create a brand image that is simple and elegant. We recently designed a print that is used (at least in part) on all our packaging and promotional material. It helps people identify One & Eight. 

 

What makes One & Eight unique?

Our designs (no two porcelain pieces are exactly the same)

Our packaging (our pieces come in little glass bottles or tins!) 

Our giftwrap service (we are a one stop shop for the perfect gift!)

Our quality materials at affordable prices!

Our uncluttered, simple, unique branding!

Where do you derive your design/ style inspiration from?

The jewelry is a reflection of all the things I love: Unique, quirky and just a little bit different.

Nature and my local environment play a huge role in the creative process. Our studio is nestled in the leafy countryside but also not far from the coast. I love the outdoors. – Fresh air helps me order my thoughts and allows space for my creative side! Natural form is evident in many of my designs – leaves, stones, shells etc. My latest obsession is casting (using moulds to shape the clay). I have been using this technique to create little porcelain sea urchins. 

Inspiration for me also comes from chatting with and listening to people. Oh and I love to travel and experience new things, this often stimulates an idea for a new piece of jewelry or the look for a collection. 

We are all part of the digital world and Pinterest helps me create my virtual mood board – really useful for developing new packaging and display ideas. 

Describe or outline how you spend a typical day at your business.

No two days are the same. When you run a small business you have to be willing to do anything!

We are a team of 4 and without the support and hard work of my colleagues we just couldn’t have got to where we are today! 

My day normally starts with dropping my children at school then back home for a run. This is when I think about the tasks for the day ahead or try to resolve any issues that may have arisen. Sometimes I have the odd brainwave whilst pounding the pavement. 

Over a cup of coffee we usually have an early team meeting so everyone is clear on what needs to be done. 

If I am not working on new collection my time is spent promoting and selling One & Eight as a brand. I also have to be on top of our finances -managing cash flow effectively and planning for growth!

Do you design and make every product yourself and by hand? 

When I first started the business everything was made by me but now we have grown this isn’t possible. All the porcelain pieces are made in our studio (we have a kiln on site) but the gold and silver pieces are designed by me and manufacture is outsourced. 

Everything is packaged and dispatched by us so we can be sure that the final pieces meet out quality standards! 

What motivates you to continue building this business?

Motivation can be challenging. I have a family so sometimes struggle with work life balance but ultimately I love what I do. I feel proud that I have managed to create pieces that people want to buy and build a brand they customers associate with (we get a lot of repeat custom). 

I have also learned that to continue to be creative and focused it is important to step away from the business sometimes (at the beginning I worked continuously and nearly burned out). Now I make sure I take time for myself and my family!

Where do you see yourself and your business is 10 years? 20 years?

I would love for One & Eight to be a well know brand selling in multiple countries. We are currently looking to expand our ranges to include collections other than jewelry. Watch this space!!

Thanks for reading!

Susie xx

 

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