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Petal & Plume Part 1


Originally intended as a way to switch off from the hectic routines of her teaching profession, Jo’s hobby has evolved into a business. She has merged two of her passions in life, collecting jewellery and the outdoors, to create Petal and Plume, a handcrafted jewellery company located in the South of England.

This is part one of a three-part story.

petal and plume owner portrait
Could you introduce yourself and your business?

I’m Jo, the owner of Petal & Plume which is a handmade jewellery and trinket making business. I design and create various items such as trinket pots, bookmarks, earrings, keyrings, and other small, bespoke, personalised gifts all encased in Apex resin or UV resin.

Petal and Plum website

Petal and Plume []

examples of petal and plume's products
The business is just you or …

Just me, but I rope in family and friends to help out on occasion, usually to assist in setting up for craft fairs and other events.

I think that you’ve just celebrated your first year in business?

Yes, I’ve just tipped over into the start of the second year.

Did you have a big party?

[Laughs] We were away celebrating my mother-in-laws 70th birthday, but I did raise a glass to the business.

Petal and Plume Celebrate their first year in business with birthday cake and a glass of wine
How did you come up with the name Petal & Plume?

It was very much a whole family discussion which stretched out over quite a few months. We went through about two A4 pages exploring names [laughs]. I wanted something that had a bit of a ring to it, but would focus on my interest in nature. We went backwards and forwards with names, at one point we considered a french name, ‘Belle Âme’ (Beautiful Soul).

Why a French name?

Because I love France and have a French degree, and at the time it seemed appropriate [laughs]. I even went as far as buying the Internet domain name. However, I was never 100% happy with it, and looking back now I’m glad I didn’t go with it. Eventually, it was my husband, James, who suggested Petal & Plume, based on what I was actually putting in the resin. He also designed the logo, a man of many talents [laughs]

Petal & Plume's logotype
How would you describe your role in the business?

Well, if I’m honest, when I first started I didn’t realise how much there is to running even a small business like mine. The obvious things like creating the products goes without saying, but then there are all aspects of marketing, sales, photography, branding, building a website and being constantly active on social media. They’ve all been big learning curves for me.

You’re a part time teacher at an infant school in Gosport.

Yes, I currently teach year 1 and I’ve recently taken on a new subject leader role. So, with the business taking off, it’s lots of new things all in one go.

You run the business from your home in Lovedean, have you always lived in the area?

No I haven’t actually. I grew up in a little hamlet called ‘Dragons Green’, which is not far from Billingshurst, West Sussex. I moved to Hampshire for teacher training and have stayed here since.

And that’s where you met your husband?

Yes. I met James, who’s also in education, during my first teaching post. He’s a bigger cheese than I am [laughs].

You have two daughters – do they get involved in Petal & Plume?

They’ve had a go at making some earrings and designing some items. They have some good ideas actually. My eldest daughter is particularly good at colour matching and my youngest loves thinking up new ideas. I tend to restrict their time working with the resin though because it’s quite tricky to handle, and the raw material is quite expensive. It’s more the artistic aspect rather than the production side.

The color wheel is a valuable tool for artists, designers, and photographers to enhance visual compositions.
Are they interested in art at school?

Yes, they love arts and crafts. My oldest is very good at drawing, my youngest loves anything hands on, making things with cardboard, boxes, sellotape, you name it!

general arts and crafts items. Tissue paper, tape, scissors, craft knife, rubber bands, push pins, paper clips, pens
So, why artistic resin products?

My teaching day job is quite full on. I found that I had a yearning to do something quite relaxing which was completely different. I’ve always liked arts and crafts and, as a family, we love being outside as much as possible, going on country walks and appreciating nature’s small details. I also like buying jewellery [laughs], so I fancied combining those interests in some way.

I eventually settled on using resin to capture those natural world details and when I started wearing what I was making, friends and colleagues began asking about the jewellery pieces. It was suggested to me that I could try selling some of them, and it’s progressed from there really. James has been really supportive and the pastime became what is now Petal & Plume.

You mention on your website that you are quite eco-conscious.

As a family we like to think of ourselves as having some green credentials. James drives an electric car and we’re trying to raise our children to understand the importance of caring for the flora and fauna. I’m learning to grow, dry, and press some flowers to add to my jewellery in the future. All the feathers used in my products are found by ourselves on walks, or sourced ethically from other companies.

I assume that applies to your product packaging as well?

I try wherever possible to ensure that it’s recyclable and biodegradable, even down to the tissue paper or any labels. Any leftover resin is reused to make items we use around the home or given as gifts to friends and family. I always research my supplies before I buy them, to make sure I’m aware of the contents.

What sort of things do you put in the resin?

Real dried flowers that have been grown by me, the family or friends. If I can’t find exactly what I want, they will be bought from online suppliers. I’ve also used feathers, which is where the name for the business came from. I’ve always made sure they’ve been ethically sourced. Some have come from my step-son, Harry, who loves countryside walking.

Flowers are used not just because they’re attractive?

That’s right, they can have strong associations for people. I’ve recently had orders for ‘Forget-Me-Nots’ and ‘Chrysanthemums’ to create something for a loved one because the flowers meant something special to them.

forget me nots and Chrysanthemum flowers
What’s the largest product that you’ve created? You mentioned using feathers, they can be relatively large.

Yes, it’s actually quite difficult to find a really tiny feather, which is why I don’t have many products featuring them. I did make a bookmark using a peacock feather once, I guess that’s probably the largest item.


I had to trim it down quite a bit [laughs]

Do you use regular suppliers or is everything sourced fresh each time?

I try to go back to the same suppliers if possible, most of them are small businesses as well, so I want to give my support if I can. I buy my resin from ‘Just 4 You Online UK’.

There’s also a lady called Lou at ‘Create and Bloom Crafts’; I get a lot of my glitter from her. I’ve followed her right from the start of my business journey. She’s been very supportive and gives out lots of advice to small businesses like me. She also runs art, design and resin production classes both online and as private tuition.

just 4 you uk and create and bloom websites

Just 4 You UK Online []   |   Create & Bloom Crafts []

What would you say is the most challenging part of what you do?

Juggling everything, all the different hats that I wear. It’s my choice of course, so I’m not really complaining. As a solo business I’m a marketeer, sales woman, finance director, head of procurement and IT specialist among other things, whilst still being committed to my teaching job. With a side order of mum and wife for good measure! [Laughs].

… and your favourite part?

That’s easy, actually making the products and talking about them with customers. I find it really relaxing sitting down and creating. Getting feedback and ideas from customers is great. I think making earrings is my favourite product.

three different styles of resin encapsulated earrings by petal and plume
Why earrings in particular?

Because that’s where I feel I can capture the personality and meaning for people, although saying that, the same applies to the pots and bookmarks. But I think jewellery makes people feel special and if it’s bespoke it has more meaning. I like that I can help create that feeling for people.

Do you think the intricacy and level of detail required appeals to you in some way?

I think so – I’m discovering things about myself as the business is growing and I find that I enjoy the challenge.

close up of petals set in resin key fob
Are there any unusual pieces that stand out from what you make?

I’ve worked with funeral and wedding flowers and put them into very tiny bracelets. Seeing a big bunch refined down to an intricate keepsake still amazes me, and I’m the one doing it! [Laughs]. I’m always really nervous about doing them as they’re so special for the people who are receiving them but I enjoy creating something unique and memorable, especially when you see the reaction to the final piece by the customer.

memories necklace by petal and plume
Thank you for your time Jo. What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

The best way is via my Website or email:

In the second part of her story, we talk to Jo about the actual process of making her resin products. Watch this space.

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