Blog

Photoshoots

We've just shot our SS19 collection. Photographs are key to our business. We send a catalogue to stores so they can order, we update our website, we use them in social media, our shops use them in their social media. A lot rides on the photos!

photo shoot for One and Eight Jewellery

Jewellery is very tricky to shoot, especially ours as it's not big statement pieces but smaller more classic ones. We look around and find that other brands find that kind of jewellery difficult to shoot too. You end up with a lot of closeups of ears! Added to this getting a professional photographer is expensive so a lot rides on photoshoot day and we are all a bit stressed. However we feel that getting a photographer is really worth it. We've seen a huge increase in people using our imagery since we have had it done professionally - no surprise there really!

After a tense wait we got our photos back and can't believe we got so much done in one day. They aren't all perfect but there are lots we can use for the next season so it's time to get on with the catalogue now.

Black Friday

So we've just been through Black Friday. We ran a 20% off offer and had a lovely number of orders. However running a small business we make almost no profit so was it really the best option for us?

gold hoop necklace on Black Friday One & Eight

Let's be honest we felt a little pressured to run some kind of offer as everyone else was doing one. Then we saw some really inspirational Instagram posts from other small businesses who had decided not to take part in Black Friday for several reasons. The main reasons were the stress it puts people under to buy everything in one weekend and the negative impact on small businesses as they can't offer the discounts that bigger businesses can. So next year we are going to think about all the inspirational small businesses out there and go with what's best for us not what we feel pressured to do. Thank you other small businesses for the amazing support xx

Thank you for supporting a small business

This week we are talking about supporting a small business. Before I worked for a small jewellery company, to be honest I didn't even think about it. I bought my birthday or Christmas presents from big stores without a second thought. Since working for a small business and living in a town full of them I now shop a lot more carefully.

Unlike big businesses we don't make huge profits whilst paying our workers the minimum wage or try to undercut our competition. We employ 5 local people and use local photographers, interior designers, printers and craftsman. We pay the living wage or above. We don't make much profit but what we do is put back into the business and the local economy. 

So at One & Eight we'd like to say thank you to everyone who has bought from us. I know it isn't always easy buying from small businesses as sometimes the big ones do such great deals so we really appreciate it. 

Shopping from One & Eight a small business

Gold, Gold, Gold

The last few weeks have been all about gold!

gold porcelain dipped earring and necklace in bottle One & Eight

As we all know it always looks like everyone else is finding things easy and you are the only one finding it hard. It's always nice when people admit it isn't all plain sailing, so here goes....

The last 3 weeks for us have been crazy. We ran out of gold chains! Yep that's half our necklaces we weren't able to make. We used up every chain we could possibly find including the sample we ALWAYS keep so we can cross check it. We've had all these half orders sitting around the office so they were ready to go as soon as the chains arrived and we were beginning to panic. 

Finally, thank goodness, they arrived and we frantically made all our necklaces and had the craziest day packing the orders. The office was hilarious with boxes and trays everywhere. The bag we took to Post Office was huge. 

So thank you to all our stockists for putting up with the late orders and thank goodness we all get on so well in the office. We can see our desks again now!

Sample Sales

At One & Eight we have an office/studio where we work and a store room which we store/dump everything in. The store room is essential as bottles, the boxes we ship in and our clay all come in big boxes and we need somewhere to store them. It's unheated and mostly we just run in, grab what we need and run out again! However it's also the place where we put the couple of necklaces that are left at the end of the line, the earrings we made but decided they didn't go with the rest of the range and that kind of thing. These things mount up and last week we decided to run our first ever sample sale. 

Sample sale porcelain jewellery

I have to admit we were pretty nervous. We invited friends but kept it quite small, bought some sale and return fizz and anxiously waited for people to turn up. Well, it was a huge success! Our friends loved getting Christmas presents, we loved getting rid of somethings that had been in the storeroom for ages, but most of all it was a really lovely social evening. It was so nice to chat to everyone, in a relaxed environment. So you heard it here first - we'll be doing it again next year!

Getting Christmassy

 

One & Eight Christmas decorations

Christmas is such a busy time of year for so many types of businesses and we are one of them. It's the same for loads of us, it all gets a bit crazy, from September! By December you always hope things will have calmed down a bit but it never quite works out like that. 

We create a new range each year that is ready in September and all our regular wholesale customers put in big orders, we normally pick up a few new customers around this time too. Then everyone is back for top up orders for the last minute buyers. Of course we have all our lovely online customers too. We all work super hard in the office and studio getting everything done. Added to that we all have families to plan for so it's a bit manic. We love it though and feel really satisfied when we get to the end of December. 

Right now we are in the very busy lead up faze so there is a ridiculous amount of cutting, moulding, making and packing going on. We wouldn't have it any other way!

Picking Colours

In our first couple of years we used white porcelain with decoration in gold or silver and sometimes a little colour. It's funny how you can look back on the things you did early on and think "Eurgh!". Gold and Silver look great, they are still the basis of our range but some of those colours! How we've moved on! Now we pick a couple of colours each season that we feel will compliment each other. Darker tones tend to lend themselves to the winter and lighter ones to Spring/Summer. 

costal inspirations devon coastline beachIt's not hard to find colour inspiration living round here. Every trip to the beach brings up a hundred different blues and greens. Devon changes so much with the seasons so there is always something new to look at. 

However then comes the hard bit! We need to mix coloured clay then pop it in the kiln for 24 hours and wait for the result. There's a lot of trial and error and we record the number of grams of each colour used each time. The colours going into the kiln are so different from the ones that come out.

colour picking clayThese samples are about to go into the kiln. They are all light but will come out much darker. 

porcelain necklace One & Eight

Our midnight blue raindrop necklace is light blue the first time it goes in the kiln. 

We play around with shapes at the same time then eventually find shapes and colours that we love and build the collection around them. Anyway enough blogging, need to get on with S/S19!

Reduce Reuse Recycle

We love packaging! We genuinely get excited about bottles, pots, tins and string. Sad I know, but we can't help it!

We are really proud that our packaging is reusable. Our customers have told us so many times that they love the fact you get jewellery and a little bottle or tin to use as you want. 

This is how Tasha's mum uses her's:

It's a long process though. We obviously recycle everything from the studio and office - it helps that we are based opposite a recycling centre! We are working with our suppliers and are gradually getting our components sent with less and less packaging. It's our aim to have a complete supply chain that we are totally proud of. 

The change starts here and we definitely want to be part of it!

How your order gets to you

So this is what happens once you order a piece of our jewellery online. 

Before you order we are busy working on our porcelain. Our porcelain discs are all made in our studio and fired in our kiln. We make them in small batches, dying the clay first, rolling it out and cutting it into the right shape. These are fired in the kiln and if they have a transfer on they are re-fired. It's time consuming but we love the handmade feel of our jewellery. It's organic and tactile. 

We make our jewellery in small quantities, incorporating sterling silver or gold plating sterling silver with porcelain. 

porcelain stars made into handmade jewellery

Here's Tasha's desk as she's making up some grey porcelain stars on silver hoop earrings. 

When someone orders we pick the item off the shelves and package it up with loads of love and care! 

One and Eight Packaging

We love packaging so we love wrapping up the little bottles and packing them in boxes for our lovely customers. Then we are straight down to the post office which luckily for us is only down the road!

So order now and we'll start on it straight away! 

#Devonlife!

 

So the blog is back....it's been a while! As you probably know writing a blog takes time and effort and as a business gets busier it's often the thing that gets forgotten. Since we last published a blog, we've got busier and it's got forgotten! 

I thought I'd start by writing about living in Devon. It's our inspiration everyday. We are lucky enough to live and work in Totnes and we love it. If you drive out of town in any direction you can see rolling hills. The moor is 20 minutes away and full of adventure - though we really need to up our game and start doing some wild camping or something else equally impressive rather than a quick walk and a pub lunch. The beach is in the other direction and our new sea glass range is inspired by the tiny bits of glass we've spent hours finding with our kids on Devon beaches. 

Right here in town we are so lucky to be surrounded by inspirational, creative, local businesses. From potters to caterers, yoga teachers to printers, everyone is happy to support each other. The feeling that comes from living and working in that community can't be described. They understand it all, from the feeling of achievement when you get it right to the sheer dog tiredness when you just need to finish one more thing before bed.  

So cheesy as it sounds and much as we hate the hashtag. #Devonlife really is our inspiration and we are grateful for it! Xx

How did we get here?


 

I’ll let you into a little secret. I recently celebrated my 40th Birthday! Does it unsettle me? Make me feel old? Insight panic? No, none of these things. I have though found I am in a reflective mood. I do look in the mirror and recognize that the wrinkles are a little bit deeper (or laughter lines as I like to convince myself) and the hours spent running don’t tone me in quite the same way but mostly what I am thinking about is how I ended up where I am today.

 

Looking back over the last, OMG 20 years (that is hard to write) I realize all the things that didn’t make sense, seemed like failures or a waste of time were actually the building blocks to something bigger.

 

I’ve had jobs I’ve loved and started many things I’ve never finished and over the years I have beaten myself up about this. Excitement at the beginning of a course, only for it to wane as the weeks went by. Then there were the excuses about why I couldn’t complete it! I know many of us have been there but for me it was a reoccurring theme. The bookkeeping course, the pottery course, the online interior design course, the career in buying halted by an unexpected pregnancy – they have all lead me to where I am today and given me the confidence to meet the demands of running my own business.

 

Mum of 3 kids, wife and owner of a jewellery and lifesetyle business. I’m happy with my lot and looking back, it all makes sense.

 

This is the era of female entrepreneur. My business network, which consists of a graphic designer, web designer, artists, phototrapher and other small business owners are all ladies (I think to think of us as girls). We are in our 40’s with a dedicated work ethic and we are successful (however you may classify that). This is our time and we have a huge a mount to offer. Can I dare say, life begins at 40?!

 

I’m definitely tougher, stronger and less affected by others opinions now I am, shall we say it, more mature! Xx

Follow our blog as there is more to come from these ladies…..