Anne Morgan, Anne Morgan Jewellery, Penarth, Wales
Anne Morgan’s passion for jewellery started at a young age, when she was more preoccupied with adorning herself with silver Christmas cracker trinkets than her actual presents.
Now, working as an award-winning jeweller, Anne also owns a gallery dedicated to contemporary jewellery where she exhibits her work among other designer-makers. We spoke to Anne about turning her passion into a successful business.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background before running your own business?
Although the Anne Morgan Jewellery Gallery has only been open since October 2015, I’ve been making jewellery for the last 20 years. I graduated from Buckinghamshire College, High Wycombe in 1996 and have been supplying jewellery to galleries and shops and exhibiting at craft fairs in that time.
I had also been selected to design and make the crown for the National Eisteddfod in 2012, a festival celebrating the Welsh language and culture.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a jeweller and why?
I think I’ve always had a great love and passion for jewellery and would often play with my grandmother’s and mother’s jewellery boxes.
One Christmas I remember playing with and wearing all the cracker prizes. I can’t remember what my main present actually was!
Did you have to do any training or earn any qualifications?
I didn’t really follow the usual art education and didn’t study art GCSE as I couldn’t draw well and had no satisfaction with the results. I was able to take a creative studies GCSE that allowed me to make jewellery.
I immediately loved the results and process. My teacher was hugely encouraging so I continued my education with a BTEC foundation art course then a degree in designed metalwork and jewellery.
I set up my first workshop after graduating and moving to South Wales.
Can you take us through the process of designing a piece of jewellery? What inspires your designs?
My designs come from experimentation and a lot of years of practice. It’s now almost an instinct: what shapes work well with what combinations of colour and texture.
I usually photograph the design I have as a type of sketchbook and some are variations of existing designs.
Textures are a great inspiration to me and the natural landscapes of the coastline I live near to have always spoken to me. My ‘erosion’ pieces are inspired by the beach combing I do with my family.
How important is social media to a business like yours?
I use social media a lot. Usually I post photos of commissions or finished pieces onto Instagram and Facebook. They also feed into Twitter and each other so it’s not a lot of work to keep on top of it.
I love Pinterest and try and use that as an extension of the gallery with my maker’s images and internal images of the gallery – although it’s a great time-waster, so I keep that for when I have more time on my hands.
What words of advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming a jeweller?
I think the trick is to stand out and do your research. Practice your craft and get as much advice from makers and organisations as you can.
And if you are going to sell your work then price it correctly. It’s important that your RRP reflects your time and money and what a shop or gallery would mark that up to, even if you sell it directly to the customer.
It has to reflect the industry and what your peers are charging. Under-pricing your work doesn’t help you and it makes customers question the pricing of other work.
Keeping it in line gives consumer confidence and helps them understand the value of handmade items.
Fancy emulating Anne? Check out our fashion-accessory businesses for sale