Sapphire from Sapphire Frills

Midday Makers

My name is Sapphire, I’m 26 years old, I graduated in 2015 with a 1:1 in fashion from the Norwich university of arts. I went onto work as a design assistant at Ted Baker HQ in London, lived there for 5 months but found it a really lonely place. At the time, my mum and sister was talking about moving to Spain and because we are so close it was just too difficult for me so I made the decision to leave and came back to Norwich. It took me about a month to get back into employment.

I worked for a tailoring company for about a year in Norwich while saving to start my menswear brand which I no longer work for now. I started a men’s company making and selling t-shirts in Norwich for about 2 years but I just remember thinking ‘do I want to do this forever’ and the answer was no. It wasn’t something that I could be personally passionate about so I asked myself, what am I passionate? What do I love? What can I make for me? That’s when I started Sapphire Frills.

I now hand-make statement earrings from polymer clay taking lots of inspiration from animals. My favourite animal is a leopard and I use a hell of a lot of leopard print in my collection so I also decided to donate every month to WWF to help protect Amur leopards in the wild. 

There is a lot of work that goes into making each pair of earring, more than you’d think. There is about 9 to 11 stages to making each pair of earrings depending on whether they are studs or dangles.

I offer all of my studs on either hooks or hoops along with offering clip on backs and sterling silver for sensitive ears which is also very popular. The standard backs are made from hypoallergenic surgical steel which is nickel free. I have now been trading for 14 months with Sapphire Frills which has gone super fast but has been the best journey of my life! I started SF worked 3 days a week in employment but made the jump a month ago to go full time which has been the best decision yet!

I love being part of MMFH because it has connected me to so many kind people. It has brought me closer to the makers community and it’s so lovely to be able to support each other. It was also the first market that I took place in since lockdown, I have been with you from the start, one of the originals and it is very much my favourite one. I love the way you run the market Andy and this is the reason why I made the decision to tie my live Instagram markets in with yours. There’s no other market day I would choose to do a live.

Watch our #MiddayMakers chat with Sapphire on our IGTV channel

Visit her shop on Etsy SapphireFrills

Instagram @sapphirefrills 

Katy from Katy Wilkinson Jewellery

Midday Makers

Hello! Nice to meet you. I’m Katy and I am the face, the designer, the maker and sales person behind Katy Wilkinson Jewellery. Oh and the photographer, finance manager, etc, etc… I am a wife and mum to two gorgeous small ones and after years of having my own business, I can finally now say it is my Day Job! Hooray!

I handcraft simple and timeless jewellery designs in sterling silver, gold and gemstones, make to order and also take on a lot of commissions. I work from home in a purpose built studio within my double garage and love spending every minute I can in there. Having a fairly recent obsession with gemstones, I really enjoy creating one-off pieces using hand-picked gemstones. Having a small and growing collection gives me the opportunity to offer a really personal design service, whereby the customer can choose a stone they love the most to be set in their commissioned or made to order piece of jewellery.

My creative journey started when I was a lot younger. I was always one of the ‘arty’ ones at school and eventually went on to take Art, Product Design and Biology (I know – seems weird, but I loved it!) A-Levels. After A-levels I didn’t feel ready for Uni so I decided to go to collage to complete a Level 3 Diploma in Art Foundation Studies. It was only for a year, but it was a year of experimentation in different art mediums and it was great fun.

It gave me the opportunity to explore different areas of design that I hadn’t had exposure to before, such as 3D design and from there I started creating body adornments from all sorts of materials. After finding out that there were Uni courses focusing on Jewellery design, I jumped at the chance of heading in this direction and applied to a few including Birmingham City University – The School of Jewellery, where I spent the next three years.

I had such an amazing three years at the School of Jewellery. It was hard work and we were in School every day, using the workshops and learning new techniques. But as an Art based course we were really encouraged to think outside the box and so my Degree Show comprised of a collection of pieces and adornments based on the emotion of Frustration, mostly created using an amazing piece of kit, called a Laser Welder, to create cage like structures from Stainless Steel and Gold.

During my third year I won a few awards, one of which, the Marketing Birmingham’s Jewellery Student of the year 2006, gave me the opportunity to have my work modelled by Erin O’Connor (used to model for M&S) and have my work worn on the Catwalk. These experiences further fuelled my love for the industry and so as soon as I graduated in 2006, I returned home (to Wiltshire) to set up my business.

Since then, I had been working part time as a Jeweller whilst having a day job in Marketing. During this time I had built up collections and ranges, taken on commissions, had been attending craft fairs and sold online, determined to make a go of it so that one day I could finally be a Jewellery Designer Maker full time!

Guess what, in 2019 I made the leap!! When the time came to decide if I was going to head back to the day job after my second maternity leave, I decided to bite the bullet and resign! And it truly was the best decision I’ve ever made. I can now focus on being the creative that I’ve always wanted to be and at the same time, working from home gives me the opportunity to spend more time with my family.

Finding the MakersMarketFromHome and taking part in every one of the markets so far has been a great experience and a fabulous way to spend some of the Saturdays that I would have ordinarily been at physical local markets selling my creations. It’s also been a great way of growing my online profile and I have met some other fabulous makers who ordinarily I would never have met by attending my local markets and who I chat to on a regular basis now. It’s such a fabulous community to be a part of.

Watch Katy’s interview on our IGTV channel here.

Visit Katy’s website

Instagram @KewJewellery