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Featured Creative: Hayley Wright (Jewellery)

June 3, 2011

I have always been very arty at 11 years old my art work was GCSE standard, at 16 I trained as a nail technician and worked in a beauty salon  specialising in nails, I entered the world beauty Olympics 2002 and I achieved 2nd place in creative nail design but had grown tired of the industry.

I studied art at Wolverhampton University but couldn’t really see a job for myself at the end of it, I worked freelance as an artist painting and making life-size figurative sculptures but I still wasn’t satisfied  and took another degree with the gemological association this involved the lab testing of gemstones. I took an additional silver smithing course alongside this and realised I had found what i had been searching for.

My company has the most humble of beginnings, I started making jewellery just for myself two years ago.  Occasionally, I would post pictures of my work on facebook, there was a lot of interest and I was getting lots of commissions through friends. I received a phone call one day from a shop who had seen a ring on a friend of mine and insisted they wanted my range of jewellery in their shop, that was my first realisation that there was a way of turning my skills into business. Having no business skills I attended a Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and its been the best thing I ever did!

Over a period of 6 months I pitched my business to an investment panel to get financial investment , designed the four collections of my jewellery range and designed my website with the help of a web designer I had met  through the Prince’s Trust.

I work largely independently at the moment. I have a great web design team, a photographer and a business mentor and great friends in the industry which help me through my hectic work load although between me and you I would very much like someone doing the admin side of it all as I find the paper work very frustrating and have a somewhat volatile relationship with the printer!

I work in many metals but decided the bulk of the products launched would be in silver its one of my favourite metals to work in, although the majority of the private commissions do tend to be in gold.  

Inspiration wise my favourite designer is Vivienne Westwood, and my favourite period jewellery is Victorian 1873-1901. But to be honest inspiration comes though every single day in the most unlikely of places it’s not something I research and it’s not as fickle as the current fashions it’s a natural and imaginative process.

My future aim is grow the brand Romantic Eccentric, and to eventually have a team helping me with the making of the jewellery, although I’m keen that I will always have laid my hands on each piece of jewellery. I’m currently working on a union jack bunting necklace and this year I will be launching the 7 sins collection of gold gem set rings each with its own personality. I hope one day to leave city living and fulfil my dream of having a big studio the countryside somewhere

My advice for someone wanting to go into jewellery design, would be to start with the basics you can buy beading kits very cheaply and will quickly get an idea if its something you enjoy or if it’s a bit to fiddly, then if you want something a bit more specialist try to find a course through your local education service or try to get some work experience assisting a jeweller. Always show the world what you are making via friends and social networking sites for feedback and potential commissions.  silver smithing  isn’t glamorous its hard graft and dirty work i cut and burn my fingers to bits but for me the results that can be achieved are second to none and that’s where the reward is.

The best thing about running my own company is doing what I’m passionate about. I keep chickens at the studio as reminder of that little place in the country I’m working towards.

My work philosophy: live your dreams.

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