Jewellery and accessories are a great way to enjoy your favourite outfits again and again in all kinds of combinations, colours and styles.
But what if you want to buy ethical, sustainable jewellery from a smaller business?
Well, you're in luck! We've reached out to Rebeccaannejewellery.co.uk, who has a fantastic and varied range of jewellery and accessories that tread more lightly on the planet.
So, Rebecca, what does upcycling mean to you?
I hate waste! Like many people, I’ve become more and more aware of how much we use and how much we throw away. This has become even more apparent now that I have a child and see how much waste there is from the outgrown clothes to the abundance of plastic and throw away toys out there. I try hard to buy second hand clothes and toys and my daughter and I love a trip to the charity shops! Having these values is so in line with my business and I love that I can find an item used for one purpose and make something completely different out of it. It is so satisfying when I inform customers that the accessory they have was made from a sweet tin, a used magazine, seeds, nuts or even beetle wings!
Tell us how you first got started? How long have you been making jewellery and accessories?
I love accessorising outfits and have lots of costume jewellery. I was working in a job I didn’t like and always had dreams of being my own boss. A break in roles allowed me to do this and that was over 10 years ago! After attending a few trade shows across the country, I decided that I wasn’t going to go down the of selling the standard costume jewellery, I wanted to sell items which had a story. I found suppliers who used sustainable and recycled materials and started to sell their products, loving the fact each item was unique. I signed up for an intensive business start-up course at the London Jewellery School in Hatton Garden, went to numerous business events and managed to set up my business at minimal cost. After a year or so of doing this, I felt comfortable to start making my own jewellery. I had a better understanding of the process and had lots of ideas!
How much do you enjoy the process of upcycling or reclaiming materials?
I love it! Every piece is unique and has its own story.
I can’t deny it is great when you make something from materials which have been given or donated. There can be high overheads for small businesses so knowing that some of the material didn’t cost you anything does help a lot! I can then make my items more affordable as most of my products are priced under £20 so this makes it beneficial both to myself and the consumer.
What is it that inspires your designs?
A lot does come from customer requests. If they mention something I haven’t thought of or made before then I will see that as a challenge and try it. It if fails at least I tried! Recently I made a necklace from tins and the customer wanted the initials of all her mother’s grandchildren (5 of them). I tried a couple of different ways to achieve this. The first was awful and looked too much like a charm bracelet, something the customer was trying to steer away from. The second attempt was better and the customer was happy with it, but I wasn’t!! The third was a success. Although it took me much longer than usual to make the piece I was so pleased it had worked out.
What's in the Works for 2022?
I would like to expand my audience and tap into the male customers. I have recently been making items from craft beer tins and looking to link this with my local craft beer brewers and pubs.