Rhiannon of Audrey + George (you say the + as 'plus') makes contemporary polymer clay earrings in a variety of shapes, colours and patterns inspired by fashion, art and the world around her.
Tell us a bit about how you began making earrings.
Audrey + George was born circa 2010, it started out as a vintage bag business where I used to buy wholesale bags and resell on eBay. I had just finished a fashion degree and was looking to carve out a path for myself whilst working in retail to pay the bills. The name came to me through my love of the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, where the main characters Holly & Paul were played by the actors Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. The bag business was a bit of a non-starter... skip forward nearly 10 years later and it's September 2019 and I'm ready for a new project. The creative maker side of me was still alive and I was itching for something new that would help me save a little bit extra for a house as well as being a creative outlet from time to time.
Having always loved big costume jewellery and in particular earrings, I decided to buy myself an inexpensive clay kit to experiment and see if I could make anything of use. The first few results turned out better than I could have expected and I fell quickly into making, morning, noon and night.
I still needed a name for the business, so I put to my friends a selection of names, including my old vintage bag business; Audrey + George> It got the lions share of the votes and so it was reborn.
Did you find there were many barriers to starting and thriving in your new business venture? If so, how did you overcome them?
The biggest barrier I have is definitely time. I have SO many ideas and just not enough time to create them all and make them all. But aside from that the hardest thing is trying not be bothered when people copy your designs or your branding or how you set up your stall.
I've had it done so many times... it's really upsetting as I try and pride myself on being different and carving my own identity out. I just have to keep reminding myself to keep evolving and then they'll always be one step behind!
Tell us a bit more about why you are so passionate about making earrings with clay.
At first it began as a side hustle just to help me save more but then my gran passed away and my boyfriend was away at the time. Literally all I did for that week was throw myself into my earrings to stop myself from getting upset. The very first pair I made I then named after her.
My point is that I find I can just completely lose myself in it all. Weekends fly by as I sit down, start making and before you know it hours have passed. I just love creating something new. As soon as the current styles are baked I'm already thinking about what the next ones will look like. I have SO many ideas and just not enough time to make them all.
Unfortunately running a clay earrings business involves a lot more than just rolling out and playing with clay. I do also LOVE meeting other makers. Doing the markets has made me so many friends and it's definitely started me shopping more locally than I've ever been before as I appreciate it so much more now.
What would you say to makers who are thinking of taking up a crafty hobby or even wanting to start a craft business?
Yes definitely, do it! If you're on the fence about doing something, just take the leap. It seemed expensive at first to get all my materials, packaging and setup costs but as soon as I was up and started I soon make your money back. I'd recommend setting a budget and then set goals, for example if I make X amount then I can buy this for the business and so on. As long as you love what you're doing, someone else will too. The chances are if you want to keep what you've made then you'll get customers feeling the same. Make sure you keep a spreadsheet with all your outgoings and what you're spending money on too so you can see when you start to become and stay profitable on a month by month basis. Oh and also don't undersell yourself!
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