We got some lovely news at Lulu + Belle this September when we found out that we had been awarded in the 'Too Good to Miss' category in this year's Jewel Fund. Jewel Fund is an annual award, specifically for jewellers and jewellery businesses, granted by Jewellers Academy, which is all about supporting jewellery businesses through mentorship, online training and access to a community of other jewellers.
I'm going to let you in to a secret that you may not already know. Lulu + Belle is a very small business - there is myself - owner, jewellery maker and manager and we have one 'fantastic' goldsmith on our team. Many people are really surprised to hear that and often think that Lulu + Belle is a much bigger company (thank you - we are always flattered to hear this). Our business is small and personal, so if you ring us or email us, we will be putting down a hammer to answer your call or reply to your message. When you have a query about a custom necklace, you will be speaking directly to the jeweller that is making it.
So as the owner/manager I work on every aspect of the business from hand-making the jewellery, ordering supplies, customer service, social media, photography, teaching jewellery making classes, building and maintaining our website, shipping the orders, doing tax returns, stressing out about the impact of Brexit and making sure there is milk for the coffee. The list of tasks is endless and while I am sometimes daunted - the love of making our personalised jewellery and continuing to grow our brand gets me out of bed every morning. There is often very little time left to stop and take a breath and develop my own skills as a jeweller.
The Jewel Fund will give us access to a huge resource of online training in both practical goldsmithing skills and business training specific for jewellery businesses. We have one year to delve deep into the resources available and to also benefit from one to one mentoring with Jessica Rose, the director behind Jewellers Academy and The London Jewellery School, who has set up multiple award winning jewellery businesses.
Training bench at The London Jewellery School
Stone set ring made at a recent stone setting course in London
This month I also took a trip to London to take part in a stone setting course at Jessica's London Jewellery School. It was challenging and intense and gave me a huge sense of respect for jewellers who set stones all day and a desire to push the boundaries of what we make at Lulu + Belle. If you follow us on social media, you'll see that I love wax carving and I'm slowly building my skills in carving wax. I'll be using the Jewel Fund to develop my skills in wax carving this year and to continue to develop the Lulu + Belle collection. We are most excited to have mentoring, support and all the online chats with other jewellery business owners who really get what running a small creative business is all about !
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In March we launched our mini 'Guiding Star' collection which you have already loved so much. This pretty personalised jewellery collection is inspired by the North Star or Polaris, the brightest star in the night sky, a beacon of guidance in times when you may feel in need of a little direction. Covid 19 and the ongoing restrictions have upended the way we live, work and interact with each other.