Petal and Plume’s owner, Jo, has told us about how the business was formed and the process of making her handmade resin jewellery. In this final part of her story, we get some insight into her marketing and collaborations with other business owners.
This is the final part of a three-part story.
You have quite a good social media presence
I love the community aspect of Instagram. Although we’ve never met in person, it’s good to know that like-minded business owners are out there to give support.
You sell your products through your website, do you maintain that yourself?
I try to [laughs]. It was my friend’s sister Vikki, from ‘The Cake Tasting Club’, who made the website for me. It’s been one of the many things that I’ve had to learn on the go.
How do you promote the business?
I wear my products [laughs]. Friends help by leaving business cards in places that they visit and I’m a regular at craft fairs.
Other than your website where else can I find your products?
I have a full range of stock in ‘Gallery No.30’ which is a fantastic cafe in Petersfield. Nadine Travis, the owner, is well known for her support of local artists and holds art exhibitions and workshops, she also has display space for local business products such as mine. Also, during the lead-up to Christmas, I was given an area to display some of my products at The Titchfield Barn at Silver Springs Garden Centre in Titchfield.
You recently struck up a business relationship with Becky from Hampshire Wick?
Yes. It’s been really nice actually, working with another small local business. We get to explore new ideas and help promote each other for both our benefits. We were both at the Drift Road, Clanfield, Late Night Shopping Market this year as well. Becky has been a great support since the start of my business.
What are your most popular items?
So far it’s been trinket pots, bookmarks and Christmas decorations. But that’s more so in the lead up to Christmas. I think that’s because people are less likely to treat themselves and are looking for personalised gifts. During the rest of the year it’s been the earrings. My Huggie earrings are popular.
Huggie earrings are a style of hoop earrings that are small in size and hug the ear. They fit close to the earlobe and do not dangle. They are on-trend, fashionable, and versatile. They can be made of different metals, such as gold or silver, and can have different embellishments, such as diamonds or other stones.
Would you expect some of your products to be seasonal? Christmas is different as you have said.
Some of them: I did create a small range of themed items for Halloween, and Easter was really about using pastel colours. Spring and Summer are dominated by flowers of course, so floral themed earrings were a big seller last Summer .
You mentioned earlier that you attend craft fairs.
More so in the Christmas period, but it’s something that I really enjoy throughout the year. I like meeting my customers face to face. It gives me a chance to talk about my products, how they’re made, what’s special about them.
Drift Road craft fair [14th Dec 2023]
Is it just you at the fair?
Sometimes I drag my husband along, or my two young girls. My Mum is also a big supporter and has helped me at several events and my step-daughter has joined me for one and sold some of her own felt items. Although they’re not so keen when it’s cold weather. I have to make sure they don’t take my kitty and spend it on other craft fair items though [laughs]. I also have some great friends, Charlotte and John, who have helped me out at fairs. Charlotte regularly models my jewellery, helping to promote it, too!
When did you start going to craft fairs?
Actually it was right from the start, the first one was being held at Waterlooville Library. It’s been really nice going there again one year on. Catching up with the same knitting ladies, who are fantastic, my girls love them, and Bev from ‘Just Bev Soaps’.
Do you have plans for any new products?
Yes. My Huggies [the earrings] are popular and from talking with customers at markets I’ve realised that it would be a good idea for the charms to be replaceable but to keep the same hoop. It will reduce the cost and give the wearer the opportunity to have alternative designs. The aim is for a sort of Huggies ‘pick n mix’ bar, where you choose the style of hoop and designs for different occasions or moods.
You make bespoke items on request, do you get product suggestions from customers?
One thing that was mentioned recently, by a male customer, was that I’m only catering for fifty percent of the market as far as jewellery is concerned. He suggested that I might like to consider making some cufflinks, for example. After that suggestion I had a go at making some, but I need to experiment a bit more with different sizes first before offering them to the public.
Maybe you could work with a jeweller to create some pieces jointly?
Actually I did that recently for a necklace. A lovely lady on Etsy designed something for me because I couldn’t find what I was looking for. She created the setting and I added my design. It was a fun collaboration which we both enjoyed.
To finish up it’s the Magic wand question. If money, time and resources were no object, what does the future hold for Petal & Plume?
I would love to have a dedicated building for the business. An area to do demonstrations and hold resin workshops. Maybe a little shop where I could sell my products, but also those of other small, local, businesses. One day maybe [laughs]. In the short term, it’s learning the best way to make the most of my website.