2013 – Looking Forward

•31/01/2013 • Leave a Comment

January has brought the difficult decision to stop trading at Greenwich Market. 2012 was an interesting year for Greenwich, with the Jubilee, the Olympics and the ‘economic climate’, and as much as I enjoyed being there throughout all of this, business has been very slow, and the finances involved in trading simply don’t add up for me any longer. I’m lucky in that I haven’t lost any money trading for the last year, however I simply have not made enough to justify the long cold hours and the sheer frustration at the lack of footfall during the winter months. Greenwich is a lot like a seaside town, it relies on the tourist trade during the summer to keep it afloat, and while the Olympics may have been amazing for sport and British international relations, they were a death blow to the normal tourist trade and retail, and as I understand it, not just in Greenwich. I was hoping that the Christmas trade would earn me enough money to get through the slow winter season in the lead up to this summer, however Christmas was horrendously slow as well, with people obviously tightening their belts (understandably as we are in the same boat) and I just didn’t make enough money to continue. It’s been a tough decision to make, as I have had a great time working there and made some wonderful friends over the last year, and I will miss them.
So, new year, fresh start. January I have taken some time off and spent quality time with my husband (who I barely saw the last three months of 2012 as our work was incredibly busy) and given my home some much needed TLC (you know all those niggly jobs that pile up when you’re not looking?) My husband goes back to work full time tomorrow so now I’m looking at the market stock I have left, the design ideas I’ve been meaning to work on for months, and the ‘to do’ list that has just been getting longer and longer! I’m honestly unsure what the next step is, but now I’m feeling refreshed and ready to tackle it, so we shall see what February brings.

My first shop order

•17/07/2012 • Leave a Comment

Last Monday I delivered my first wholesale order to a new shop opening up in Greenwich selling jewellery and accessories.
The manager had been past my stall a few times in the last couple of weeks and spoken to me about how much she loved my Top Hat hairclips, and then on the Friday she came by again with another person who was involved, asked me to come and look at the shop and see what I thought of what they were doing, and the following Monday I went down with my stock and spent an hour arranging it all in a display cabinet, while they were finishing off painting and putting the fixtures and fittings in. This Sunday when I passed I saw that the doors were open and the shop was trading. I’m incredibly flattered to have been approached and asked, and quietly excited to see how well my jewellery and accessories sell in a shop environment. The shop is run by Traffic People, and is next door to their clothing store on Greenwich Church Street. I have my fingers firmly crossed that this will be the first step of many in the right direction to being able to make a living selling my jewellery. Since then I have been working very hard to get my stock levels back up for the stall, and I’m also working on a couple of new design ideas.

Unfortunately it’s not all good news – for the first time since I started trading at the Market I’m going to have to put my prices up. The price of the materials I use has gone up by 20%, and obviously the cost of postage went up in April, which has a two fold effect in terms of how much it costs me to send orders out, but also how much it costs me to get supplies sent to me. I would really rather not have to do this, I know that people don’t have a lot of money at the moment (as I’m one of them!) but if my work isn’t financially viable then I’m doing myself a disservice right from the start. I’m also a bit annoyed that I have to do this two weeks before the Olympic Games starts, because I’m furious with all of the hotels, shops etc that are whacking their prices up specifically to get as much cash as possible out of the games, and I really don’t want to get dumped into that category of opportunistic scumbags, however I probably should have done this a couple of months ago, I’ve just been holding out as long as possible for the benefit of my customers. Also, the shop will be selling my pieces at a higher price as obviously they have larger overheads to pay, so making the difference between the prices less pronounced seems fairer to those that buy my work from the shop (although it will still be cheaper to buy from me directly).

Speaking of the Olympics – from Friday 27th the Market will be changing it’s trading hours to 12-8pm right through until September after the Paralympics finish. This is to try and avoid the large amount of traffic coming through first thing in the morning heading to the Equestrian events in Greenwich Park. It’s going to be an interesting experience trading through this – I’m really not sure what to expect, I suspect it will either be utterly amazing or a complete disaster – time will tell!

Pillbox Hat

•10/04/2012 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been working on some new hat ideas for a while now, and finally completed one based on a 1940’s style pillbox hat. This took some tweaking to adapt to wire and a miniature style, and to work out how to decorate it so that it doesn’t overwhelm the base. It’s made from crocheted enamelled copper wire, the same as the miniature top hats, and measures just over three inches in diameter. This version is beaded throughout with rocailles, and decorated with feathers, diamante and organza ribbon. It’s held on with an alice band the same as the top hats, although it’s considerably lighter to wear. I’m very pleased with the peak at the front, as it took several attempts to get that right!
I decided originally to make all the Top Hat models slightly different in some way so that anyone who bought one had a unique piece, and I’m currently trying to decide whether or not to apply the same principle to these. I’m inclined not to, as being able to replicate them will make the final product slightly cheaper and therefore more accessible to people wanting to buy one, however I’m open to feedback on that idea. I’m still finalising the price of these, but they will definitely be cheaper than the Top Hats. I have another base to decorate in ivory, and then I shall get these up for sale in the shop. If you’re interested in buying one in the meantime then please get in touch directly.

Jump Rings

•20/03/2012 • Leave a Comment

Eight hours solid work, four broken saw blades, and one very sore thumb later and I’ve refilled my jump ring box with a selection of different colours and I’m all set to make up some new chainmaille pieces. Sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of making all my own rings over just ordering them made up, but it does work out cheaper and despite the sore fingers I do enjoy it and take pride in turning a roll of wire into jewellery. The first set I plan to make with this new batch will be red and black byzantine. It’s been a productive day all round, I’ve ordered some ribbon to finish off a brand new hat design, I’ve received some new recycled paper bags and boxes for packaging up my stall sales, and I’m just waiting on the findings to arrive to finish up several new crochet bracelet designs. Now time for a long hot bath and then to sort my stock out ready for the market tomorrow.

My work space

Freshly cut vivid red copper rings

My chainmaille box of tricks

Silver Chainmaille Bracelet

•06/03/2012 • Leave a Comment

This was ordered by one of my regular customers last month – I had previously made a version of this design bracelet in copper and it was wonderful to work it up in silver. This is definitely one of the most fluid pieces I’ve ever made, it’s a very simple piece of 4 in 1 European Chainmaille and it just flows over the wrist.

Earrings

•06/03/2012 • Leave a Comment

A selection of earrings I’ve made recently – some new designs, some variations of older ones.

4-1 Chainmaille earrings made from coloured copper wire.

Circle earrings made from crocheted copper wire with rocaille details in a variety of different colours.

Sterling silver byzantine chainmaille earrings with Swarovski crystals.

All of my earrings have sterling silver earwires – I’ve had to change the earwires on two many pieces of costume jewellery over the years to ever use anything else!

I’m currently working on updating the website shop to include all the new pieces I’ve been working on lately and also to cover the complete range of colours that are available. It’s taking a while due to all the photographs I’ve got to get taken, so in the meantime, if there is a piece you’ve seen here, on Facebook or at Greenwich Market that you would like to purchase/order then please send me an email: becky@silvernightshade.co.uk and I can sort that out for you directly.

A great start to 2012

•31/01/2012 • 1 Comment

Surprisingly this January, rather than being a really quiet time where I catch up on accounts and sleep, has proven to be remarkably busy! I’ve been given a Friday spot as well as Wednesdays at Greenwich Market, which is absolutely brilliant – although really, really damned cold at the moment! I’m very much looking forward to working there over the summer where I can wear sleeveless tops and sandals rather than so many layers I feel like the Michelin Man!
I’ve had a lot of enquiries about crochet pieces made to order and a couple of larger silver commissions which has been absolutely wonderful – and the majority of these are turning into orders, which is brilliant. It’s a great start to the year and if the rest of 2012 continues at this rate I’m going to be very busy and very happy!

This set was ordered by a lovely lady in America for her to wear to a Masquerade Ball this month, and I’ve been promised pictures of her wearing them which I am looking forward to seeing. It’s the Cicella necklace made from silver coloured copper wire with black rocailles with matching earrings.

A more detailed picture of the crochet earrings. This is a new design and I’m very pleased with it. I have a couple of pairs in different colours to list on the website shortly and they can be made in pretty much any colour copper wire. It’s nice to have a design that matches the crochet bracelets and necklaces properly.