May's Blog, Dubai, The Dread Bead Shop goes viral, new stall, Wild Flower Trading, a history of supremily stalls
May 2015 Blog
Welcome to May's edition of my ramblings! Although this edition is actually jam packed full of exciting news, I almost can't keep up with it....I might pop like a massive bubble of joy!
I'm back from quality family time in Dubai and feeling like a brand new human being! All that sunshine did me the world of good, warmed me to the bone (something I've not actually felt for what seems like forever!).
So!!! As promised last month, here's a photo of me ticking off a rather strange life ambition.. riding a camel!! Although no desert safari, we found this guy doing Camel rides on the beach! The desert safari would have been an early rise and an all day event...I don't think I'd have coped in the heat! I think it reached 40degrees on one of our days there!
We visited Deira, the old part of Dubai which I absolutely loved. Other highlights included the butterfly garden and miracle gardens (42million flowers growing in the desert!!...all irregated of course!).
Going to the different venues to see my sister DJ was also fantastic...the pure sky lounge in the Hilton, 30 floors up at a rooftop bar! The Palm with private beach...it was all very surreal. The main thing about Dubai that struck me is that everybody is so very nice.
You can go anywhere you like, taxi's are so cheap and nobody blinks an eye if you swan into the poshest of places with dreadlocks! (not like in London I'm sure!).
It's all about hospitality and business, with people from all over the world coming together in this one crazy place, all running the show. From restaurant staff to taxi drivers, beauticians to bar staff. It's the most multi-cultural place I've ever had the pleasure of being in. I think this is what I like about Dubai the most. Human beings, all together in one place...being human beings!
I have to just say a few words to my beautiful Mum and Sister here, whom I miss very much a lot of the time. It was so special spending this time with you both, which is so very rare these days! Our first family holiday in well over a decade...maybe 15 years? Thank you for all your incredible generosity and the amazing company you both are, you're hilarious. I'm very lucky to have had you guys bringing me up and looking out for me. You are truly loved ....THANK YOU Xxx
Okay! No more emotive family moments....on to the nitty gritty mega exciting moments plus a bit of back story (which I guess are emotive moments but BUSINESS ones at least!).
May this year marks a very very special time for me. It was in this month FIVE years ago that I officially registered 'Supremily Jewellery' with HMRC and left an £18,500 a year salary with only £400 in the bank to start selling from an old pasting table I picked up from Free-cycle (yes, this is true!)
I'd actually planned to work an extra month to have more money but I simply couldn't wait to leave my job and make jewellery!
Who remembers this old gem of a scene?! Yes, that's borrowed blue tarpaulin keeping the table down on a windy day (leant to me by two very kind Monks!...)...and yes those are dumbbells keeping the tarpaulin down. Well, you've gotta start somewhere..and this is where it all began!
Most people thought I was taking a massive risk when I left work, told me I was brave and many thought I was mad. The honest truth is I was sick of being sad, and making jewellery made me feel amazing. That was all that mattered at the time. Money just didn't seem important. I had a creative vision...and it's taken me a heck of a long time to build up this business due to very little funds in the first few years.
I'm proud to say that I've never had a bank loan/business loan/credit card or grant. Nor have I had any business advice or previous experience. I've built this all from nothing, in the most unique and unusual of circumstances! Had I rushed into getting loans I'd have made so many mistakes and would maybe not have survived..and be in debt!
Next was the Asda gaffa taped gazebo...and the day this photo was taken, I arrived at the market to find I was the only trader of 3 that day who'd turned up to trade! Out of over 100 traders! The market officers said we were all mad, gave us free rent for the day and went home! I set up on snow and ice, was visited by my lovely friends, traded until about 1pm after taking £30 (I was super chuffed with this considering there was nobody there!) and had the rest of the afternoon at home!
The gazebo didn't last too long, it broke in the wind one day and my pasting table blew over spilling beads and jewellery onto the ground and into the crowds. People scrambled like children trying to pick up all the tiny flying beads (I used to sell single beads in a bowl!) and all the other things from the stall while I stood there in silent disbelief, shaking! I gave up that day...I really felt I'd had enough! It was so embarrassing! However, it was after this auspicious day that the council finally gave me a stall to rent!
I was in luck! I'd certainly worked hard and proved I was a hardened trader whatever the weather! It was great having the luxury of the stall, not worrying about any tiny gusts of wind. Only problem was, I was paying £28 to trade each Sunday and some days only taking £40-£60. These were the days before Tynemouth Market on a Saturday, so my weekly income used to be very little most of the time. People used to ask me all the time 'do you trade at Tynemouth....oh you should!' Truth be told, I never had the money to trade twice a week as I'd be paying out £53 in stall rent a week..let alone the money for more clay, more gift boxes, more petrol. It was too risky.
My work requires much patience, hours and hours of sculpting...and I see now that this is maybe a strong quality of mine, as I have been the most patient in growing this business too!
"Good things come to those that wait!" And patience certainly comes from within.
One day, a couple of Buddhist monks who'd traded opposite me at the Quayside (and who'd come to my rescue time and time again back in the pasting table/gaffa taped gazebo days) were moving down to Brighton and selling their little stall. They'd approached me first to see if I would like to buy it. I said I would, but I was going away for a few weeks (I think I was having an operation in London...) but could try and come up with the money on my return.
Upon my return, I went to ask the monks about the stall, to which they replied that they were really sorry but had sold the stall to someone who had bought all their stock from them too. It turned out that the stall bars wouldn't have fitted in my little car anyway. Defeated I was...so I continued to trade on the council stalls and struggled to make ends meet (the rent is cheaper if you have your own stall!).
I was soon rescued by a lady who went on to become a very close friend of mine, Karen. She had a walk in stall and needed help setting up/packing down. I set up my jewellery down one side, and together we ran our businesses, side by side! My sales increased, and my little business grew a little more!
And in a twist of fate, it turned out that it had been Karen who had bought the monks stall and stock and was planning on taking it to trade in Durham every Saturday, and would I like to run it! So, every Saturday for a little time, I traded on the monks stall, selling their Buddha's, incense, wind chimes and more...along with a little bit of my jewellery too!
A little while after, the monks steel framed stall bars had been so kindly cut down to size for me so that the stall fitted in my little car, and I began trading with it at the Quayside with my Supremily Jewellery....right next to Karen (actually attached to her stall!)....on the Monks stall! What amazing company, friendship and memories were made! Thank you Karen, from the bottom of my heart!
I remember when the monks left, they gave me some old jewellery display boards and told me that they hoped everything worked out exactly the way I wanted it to. I call this little section in the history of Supremily Jewellery 'The Monks Prophecy!'
Karen moved away for new beginnings, and so I headed back to the council stalls and had a really successful Christmas. I then was able to buy a second hand stall of my own (after getting a bigger car first!) and was back on my permanent pitch opposite the Slug and Lettuce...although with no Karen there it took a little while to adjust! We were like two peas in a pod! (Love you Karen!)
Phew! What a journey so far! And there's more to come! This has all been very gradual, over five years!
In writing about this now, it seems surreal that it was actually me doing all this. Looking back at the photos of my old stalls used to make me cringe, but it's now that I see them in a different light. They are a representation of how far I've come, how hard I've worked, and how strongly I've believed in something to make it so.
Baring in mind that while all this was going on I was in and out of surgery in London to try to remove a vascular tumour on my face (and all those hundreds of people I faced each weekend....whoosh!), Vogue Magazine had also approached me telling me they loved my work on my website and would like to feature my little business in their back pages! Little me! Vogue! Aye....go on then!!
And so this brings us to the next part of this creative,adventurous, erratic yet passionate adventure of mine...
I've done it! I've bought a walk in stall! Not a second hand one, no! A brand spanking new, custom built pop up Supremily shop! My little dream is manifesting.... it's currently being built for me (with two overhangs to trade at festivals and custom built tables to fit inside) and will be with me on the 15th of this month ready to test drive at the Quayside on the 16th!
And with a new stall....comes a new name!!!
WILD FLOWER TRADING!!
As many of you already know, I've been selling other things on my stall as well as my own creations for a couple of years or so now. This has helped me to keep a well stocked stall when my own creations are running low. Jewellery and trinket boxes from India, personally collected by my friend Andy each year for me. Arty cards by my friends Rebecca and Susan....I even used to put some of Karen's carved wood figures on my stall! People have always asked if I have all these things on line too...to which I've always replied 'No, just the Supremily Jewellery'...
I've made yet another website (that's 3 now!) and now run yet another on line shop (5 in total now!) and this new website (and my stall!) will be filling up with amazing hand crafted goodies from around the globe gradually more and more over the next few months.
If you'd like to have a peek...check out the website link below....and if there's anything you like about it/don't like about it or any parts of it that aren't working properly..I would like to know! You guys are all amazing for following me/supporting me/reading my ramblings all this time so it's your opinions that I value the most!
Have a read of the contact/about section of the website.....I'll save putting the details in this newsletter as I've written so much already...but exciting times ahead my friends!
I've been doing Yoga every morning (mostly around 6.30am!) for the last 10 days or so and my god do I feel alive! I've never felt so in control of my body, or my mind! It's helping me massively to stay focused and it's keeping me really fit too! I'm also eating a lot better, and NEED to recommend this book to you..
buy it, cook it, do it. Her recipes are amazing, vegan, gluten and wheat free, super healthy and packed full of energy.
Last Sunday at the Quayside was extremely exciting, with one of my photos of my dread beads going viral on instagram having been posted by an account with 72,000 followers! It had 3,064 likes in less than 6 hours! I now have well over 1000 followers to my dread bead profile and have been posting dread beads everyday this week to Czech Republic, Italy, South Africa, America and Uk!
I've also just received a wholesale order from my friend Mark from Orchid Trading ~ every year he buys a load of my work to sell on his stall at festivals over the summer....last year Glastonbury being one of them!
His yearly order has increased and I'm now beginning to make 150 dread beads, 50 pairs of stud earrings, 50 pairs of my teardrop dangley's, 100 rings and 25 pendants for his stall, which will be appearing at 10 different festivals over the summer!
I'm also trying to make as much stock as I can for my new stall and preparing for the festivals I'll be trading at too (cannot WAIT!!!).
So yes, no custom orders being taken at the moment....until I've got Mark's order out of the way anyhoo.
Where to find me in MAY
Saturday 2nd ~ St. Mary's Heritage Craft Fair, Gateshead
Quayside Market ~ Sun 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st
Saturday 9th ~ Hexham Spring Fair
Tynemouth Market ~ 16th, 23rd, 30th
Woah! Lots of events this month!
Here's a few pics of some new creations....not much time to show you more but there's loads of new designs on the way! (I've been writing this since 6.30am and it's now 11.30am!! Nearly done, then Yoga!)
Oh my goodness what a long post this has been! If you're new to these monthly ramblings...they don't usually go on this long, I promise! Thank you for reading this months news, and thank you for being a part of Supremily and her ridiculously creative adventures! I've a feeling that Wild Flower is going to bring as much joy as the wild flower meadows around me...in which I plan to get married in next summer! Now that'll be a good blog post I'm sure!
So! The heat is on, wish me luck for the next few weeks...I have a lot of creating to do, as well as sorting new stock, buying and making new displays/material and ordering new business cards and a banner ready for the big grand opening of Wild Flower Trading on the 16th of this month down at the Quayside! Photo's to come in next months blog post. Yay!