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Catherine March designs and makes her own jewellery by hand, in London. She has a fascinating story of how she started selling the odd piece she’d made in jewellery making classes in London on Etsy (back when Etsy was really new!) – to having a showroom in the Oxo Tower today.

Listen in to hear Catherine share:

  • An introduction to making and selling jewellery made from recycled metals (1:46)
  • How she learnt to create her own jewellery and why she got started (3:24)
  • How she started to sell her products – and why she hadn’t actually planned to sell them (6:08)
  • How she went from selling the odd piece on Etsy to having her pieces in Hatton Garden (7:22)
  • Making jewellery that’s easy to wear (8:50)
  • Where she finds the inspiration for her jewellery designs (9:40)
  • When and why she decided to take a business course (11:55)
  • Selling on Etsy, back when Etsy was still a new platform (12:46)
  • Where she finds the metal to make her pieces (15:40)
  • The point at which she decided to start a business (16:28)
  • The advantage of selling products on your own website (18:01)
  • Where else her products are stocked and sold (19:41)
  • How Covid has affected her business and how (and where) she works (22:50)
  • What she enjoys about creating and selling her jewellery designs (25:25)
  • How her business works around family life (26:30)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (28:48)

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Transcript
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Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast,

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practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell

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your own physical products. Here's your host. Vicki Weinberg

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Make sure that you price it properly. You know, it's

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not a showrunner that you are running. I mean, price

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it properly. That's no, and I've seen people who really

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know like need the cardigan and the tech hurdle seven

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days of eight hours. So that's what the 50 plus

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hours to make the car to them. And then they're

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going to study something like What teach two pounds. And

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if you think that's that, even the course of the

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wool, right?

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That was just a snippet from this week's guest Catherine

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Marche Catherine helps people feel and look fabulously, stylish and

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happy by creating timeless takens of love. I find your

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way is ethically handmade in London we've recycled silver and

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gold and infused with a French sheek twist. We have

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a great chat touch on all kinds of things, including

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how caffeine makes her do her jewelry and her take

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on how to price your products. This was a fantastic

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conversation and I can't wait to introduce you to Catherine.

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So Hi Catherine. Thank you so much for being here.

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Hello, Vicki, how are you today?

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Really good. Thank you. And I hope you are too.

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Is that nice to be able to see you through

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the power of zoom? I do like that. I can

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see people's faces.

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I agree.

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So can we please start by you telling us about

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your business analyst? It is that you saw Please and

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actually what it is that you make, because I know

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that you actually handmade all of your products.

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So hi, my name is Catherine Marche and I had

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to make a fine jewelry in precious metals, gold and

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silver, and they tend to use recycled metals because I

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want you to have a sense of the environment and

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the planet. So I use a golden silver, which has

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been recycled locally in London, where I live or a

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melt old jury, myself and recycled myself. So,

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Oh, wow. Yeah. I might start with that. And how,

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and how do you, do you melt down? Oh, Jovi?

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Is it like, do you need like a special equipment

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for that? That, that,

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Yes, yes, yes. Do you need to talk to me

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and also something called boric acid, one thing that you

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apply a lot of heat until the metal becomes liquid,

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and then you're going to pour it into are kind

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of dunno, another frame, I would say middle of middle

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or shark, or to give it a little bit of

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a shape and you can start working From and then

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you are going to either transform it as a sheet

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of metal as a rock. Like for example, I have,

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when they're, you know, there's a camera yet, so that's

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gold, which has been recycled From rings or rings is

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going to become another band and other wedding bands.

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Oh, that's amazing. So how did you, well, yeah, two

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things, really one is how did you land to do

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all of that? So it sounds absolutely fascinating. And let's

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start there. How did you learn to do all of

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this?

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I had to go to school again. I, when I

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first started rolling in classes to see 'em, if it's

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something that could interest me and then I just started

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to go to a degree. So I went back to

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college, I'm a trained or do to several years to

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learn. And I think I still haven't finished because it's

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such a vast domain, but you can keep learning all

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your life if you take weeks to She ways of

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doing something. So it's a question to a resting in

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that respect.

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Yeah. I'm sure. I'm sure if it isn't, as you

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say, you must just be able to continually hone your

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skills, learned new skills. So what was it? So, first

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of all, how long ago was it that you went

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back to the college and, and started learning how to,

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how to do this?

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Oh, it was about 16 years ago.

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Okay. And what was the inspiration for deciding to do

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that? What have you been doing up until that point?

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And I was in it, so I was working with

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computers on the programming side, managing projects and to, to

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make programs and software is for the company's and also

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working as I'm a consultant. I have to consultants and

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permission to the community and I quite enjoy it, but

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I always also had a creative side. So while I

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had been working in this city, I also went to

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our classes. I'll also do it at sharing bang to

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engraving.

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I mean, quite a lot of different things and I've

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always had this two sides, but then I wanted to,

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to have a family. And, ah, the problem was it

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is that I was working very long hours sometimes, you

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know, because you have to deliver on P M or

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being too. And if that was a problem with something,

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or how did you work at the weekends? And I

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thought that it wasn't really a compatible, it was having

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young children. So I was trying to see what else

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I could do. One thing that they never had enough

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when I was conditioning was a jury and Libby, instead

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of commissioning that I should just know how to make

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it myself.

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And that's kind of how I got started.

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So when you got started, did you intend that it

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would become a business and S you know, you had

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to sell your pieces? Or is it something you planned

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to, just for yourself right at the outset?

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The thing I think, no, no, I didn't, it, it

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was competing, it just happened. I was already in the

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class, but it was started in some of the things

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that was making me in the class when she was

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on my toes, because the workload, one of the teachers

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has guidelines. And then I put them on for several

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minutes and sold and was the money. I put them

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off classes and basically that's how I'd send it on

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my training. Like I was looking at something, she, I

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was sending it and it was built by some tools

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or I would get on to more training. So it

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just happened. And then when I decided to go to

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a degree, I think I thought that actually, since I

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have had started to sell things that are shipped home

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the skills.

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And so that's why then I went there and then

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also took a little business class as well.

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So it sounds like initially you would just, Selling sort

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of one of the pieces on Etsy, but now you

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say you have a, quite a large door and am

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I right in thinking you were Designs I've also been

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having some gardens as well, and some, a few other

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places. So how did you go from selling the OD

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piece on Etsy to where you are now? I know

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it's been 16 years when it was going to be

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quite a journey, you know, overnight.

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Yeah. Good question. I think that answered a few awards.

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I won some, so maybe the started to get some

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press coverage. I think that probably helped as well, and

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then knocked on doors. I think I just thought nobody

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is going to come and find me. So I just

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asked, would you like to do is stop my work,

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the worst that can happen with that. So, you know,

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That's great. Well, that's great. And I think probably as

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you said, you've been doing this for 16 years, which

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is a long time, so yeah, no one is, you

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probably can't remember exactly how you got from there to

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here. I'm not sure. I remember my life 16 years

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ago that clearly either, but I think, yeah, it just,

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I guess it's partly carrying on doing what you've been

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doing as it sounds like you're continually learning and improving

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what you're doing and I've had to look at your

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pieces and they're so original and beautiful. Thank you. Yeah.

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I guess there was something to be said of just

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doing, just doing it. So which one is your favorite?

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I like, I can't remember what you call the range

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with the flowers.

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Yes. Yes. The, the rings was that made from the

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different metals of the flowers that you can stack. Those,

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I thought were beautiful and very simple, a simple but

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beautiful, which is kind of like my style. I don't

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like things to very too big or too right.

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I like to keep it simple personally as well. I

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think if to elaborate is not something that I would

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personally wear too often. So, and also a thing that

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when something is simple, you can then combine all those

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items. You're going to have more easily.

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Yeah. I did like that. Your jewelry looks really wearable

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if that makes sense. Right. Because not all the jewelry

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for me is, you know, when you are, especially your

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mom and do you have all these other things? I

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don't, I don't know. Some jewelry just feels like it

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was sitting in a box or at the time, because

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you think are what you have, where will I wear

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that? So, yeah, I like that you have Designs are

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so wearable. I can imagine you can just wear them

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or they every day. And then just go with all

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of your outfits, which I think is really nice. So

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where do you find the inspiration for your jewelry?

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I'm not sure. I think, I think it's a mix,

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a mix of, you know, drawing from my own experiences

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on my travels, from my culture. So then when you

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can be a simple, as I like this, too, and

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what could I do with it, or I have a

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nice to go to you and I want you to

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wear that dress. I'm like be nice, kind of a

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dress. And that, for them, not really someone who was

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wanting to look up at the building and things see

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inspiration like that at all, or, you know, looking at

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a cloud or something, or you just think it's most

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spontaneous for me, I think he's quite spontaneous.

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It it's more of a baby or more tactile. And

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some of them just by touching things on, playing around

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with them, Designs, that's why I'm saying that mind you,

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I do have sketch books, which are Designs as well,

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but sometime you just know you on the phone and

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sketch then, and then you'll do I looked at what

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I've done or why not? I don't know. Why does

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it come from everywhere? Right.

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And I just wonder if I were, it was sort

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of, you know, you made pieces that you would like

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to show yourself the other's like, or whether demean to

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people. I know you do see a bespoke Designs as

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well as ain't you, so you have, so I guess

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client is also tell you exactly what they would like.

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Yeah, of course. Yeah. That's true. That's in a way,

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I think that the clients will come to me, come

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to me because the light of my side already, so

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then the commission's I work, or I'm not that far

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removed from my own, so I would say that. Right.

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Yeah. And that's interesting, but I suppose that make sense

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that you'd have to like somebody style to think of

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it. That would suit you if that doesn't make sense.

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So you mentioned that right at the beginning, when you

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decided to take your degree, you took a business course

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as well, or was that at the stage where you

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were thinking actually I could, might build a business around

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this topic.

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Yes and no. The thing is that it wasn't a

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business course as such as the sense that it was

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really something for shooters. So it was more about how

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to price your items, how to, you know, keep track

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of your stock or how to do a seller, a

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written agreement or your terms and conditions. I mean, it

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really more practical. I wish I had an MDA that

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would be easier, I think, but a know it was

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a, something that I've found that the local out of

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fashion. So I think it was more tailored for creative

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people.

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Okay. And you mentioned that at the beginning, you were

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selling pieces on Etsy and I feel like you must

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have just been around then as well. It wasn't quite

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right.

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Yes. It was quite new. I think it was two

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years old. Oh, wow. Well, I'll tell you, I, even

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at the time had the thing, it was lunch or

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dinner with one of the founders, because at the time,

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you know, as it was quite small, they want to

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get from people in London and it was, it was

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a completely different from now. That's been a challenge that

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more commercial now, but before that it was more focused

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on highlight in creations.

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Yeah. And then I guess, as well as a lot

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more sellers on there now than they were 16 years

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ago. And as you say, I have definitely seen the

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change and the products that are sold, that they've also

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done the best. It was a lot of handmade, but

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they were also products that, you know, your day, maybe

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they've been printed or a digital product that haven't necessarily

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been made by hand. And do you still sell that

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now? I have to be in touch.

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I'll have a few items to add. Yes.

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And, but the base of your sales come through your

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website?

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Yes. From my website. And they'll sell from the, the,

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the showroom.

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This is that your, is that the show room in

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the Oxo Tower yeah. Okay. So we'll come to that

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in a second. Okay. No, no, no, go, go, go

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with what your saying,

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Right? No, I was just going to say that because

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of all the Covid issues, I think the, the, the,

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the workshop is going to go back and look to

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the short is going to do with the more quiet

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you got to have less visitors. Definitely.

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So has your workshops, there'll be in APEC throughout the

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pandemic?

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Yeah. During the lockdown apps we can. Yeah.

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All right. Okay. And since you've opened up a gate,

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are you still getting the visitors that are coming in

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to see you they're or was it gone down on

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it?

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And I try to arrange visits outside of the workshop

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have to touch you, meet them at the showroom because

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they have more space or, or you can respect the

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social distance.

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Okay. So with a workshop on the show we have

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in separate locations. Okay.

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I mean the short and that's how the time the

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bench, and you can't do a little bit of work

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there. It doesn't have all the tools and the missionaries.

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Right. And I imagine you've got a lot of tools

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and machinery as well, especially if you are slightly, you

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know, repurpose in existing jewelry. Yeah. That must, that must

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involve a lot. Well, that's true. There's probably,

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And nobody's for me. Yes, I do. I do have

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some equipment next to me.

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And so Where, and I've gone completely off track of

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what I was going to ask you, but where do

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you find the jewelry two, if you're sort of using

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existing gold, for example, how do you find that to

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make into your pieces

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At the moment? Most of it was coming from the

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client's.

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OK

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Sometimes it, it has happened that they want me to

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use the goal, that they have to make some goals

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for them. So I used that some of the times

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some people have to read, they really did not like

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in a more, and so it's a part of that

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payment.

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Okay. Well, that's interesting. And so coming back to when

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you first started, so you told a few pieces on

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that and see, and then you did your degree, or

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at what point did you think actually, I'm going to

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set up a website and I'm going to make a

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business out of this?

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I think I did the website of the, almost the

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same time, because I was in it. So the website,

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it was like easy peasy. I was just like a

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website.

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Oh, actually it's the same as any people. The website

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is a really big deal, but for you to imagine

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it was just an office,

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Where are the biggest that it is also about the

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kinematics. We just think, okay, what do I do? I

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do, I have my items. I'm in a place that

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was 500,000 other people, which means that's what happened to

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me at a few times that it's, you know, if

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you send people to the Etsy shop and then they

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are really happy to tell you that this is something,

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because they think that they bought from me, but in

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the end up buying it from another seller on the

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same platform, because they don't realize that everything is mixed

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together. Right.

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That's true. And I think now probably people who are

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a bit more sappy with that, because we're more used

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the online market places, but yet back then at 16

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years ago. Yeah. I can imagine that that would be,

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it was quite a new concept. It actually marketplaces with

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sellers. Yeah.

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That was some in Germany and France. When you be

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where, so there wasn't much in the UK, I think

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at the time. But I think also the other thing

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is that if you have your own website, you don't

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have to pay a third party, a commission to another

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company, you know, like you have a shop or to

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another platform, right.

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Yeah. And, and do you have complete control as well?

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I mean, I, I suggest to people, even now that

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it doesn't matter where you are going to sell, even

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if you think your whole business will be on that

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C is a good idea. You still have to have

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some kind of web presence, just so people know they're

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buying from you. Right.

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Right. But the other thing is that a with the

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ed, the terms and conditions, you're not allow them to

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contact the clients again. So it's, it's hard to have

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a relationship with them.

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Yeah. And that she was like,

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If you have them on your own website, that its

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easier. If you want to send them some news or

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invite them to event, or if you have a special

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cell for them or something.

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Yeah, exactly. You can sort of, you are in the

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customer, which I think that's the case on most online

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marketplaces now is that you've got no idea who's buying

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for me. You might have a postal address or something,

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but you don't have permission to contact that person ever

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again

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Because there's, there's GDPR as well. Yeah.

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Yes. And a lot. Do you get repeat customers? Do

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you get people that are delighted with something you've made

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for you and then come back again. So we're going

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to mention that. But if you find someone that you'd

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like, especially for spoke pieces that you might come back

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or you'd recommend to a friend say, yeah, I think

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it's really nice. If you could have a relationship with

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people and they know that it's you they're buying from,

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that makes such a difference. So in terms of where

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else so you sell, 'em obviously so a little bit

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on Etsy on and do our own website. So where

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else can people go and buy your products? You mentioned

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the show room, which is in the, in the Oxo

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Tower. So where else can people buy your products at

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the moment?

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Well, With depending make how to say that. Most of

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the other Stuckey's they have to close down because there

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are several of them went on to go to sustain

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the costs of keeping back at it. Right. So I

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have been on several of my websites now that's When

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trends. And then if you are in the UK, like

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sick and there's electrical to resolve, there is also another

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one court. And one of which is also what I

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like also that a lot of time only focused on

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sustainable, ethical jewelry by it.

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She was exclusive jewelry or so yes I'm you can

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is like that to help people find me.

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But it sounds like it's really changed that over the

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last six months. And we're recording this for context. And

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if people are listening, we are recording this in the

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middle of oxide. So it sounds like when the last

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six months it's really changed a lot for you.

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Yes. Not just me. I think probably. And lots. Yeah.

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Lots of people who have things in shops. I mean,

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for example, in New York. So Tower where we have

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a show room, I would say since March probaby, Paul

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Thanks a lot. Yeah. And I think it might

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be more coming. You ask a question, you can actually,

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it started difficult because on one hand, you know, you

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knew people the need for something nice and that life

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to feel good or to, to, to have a nice

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surroundings.

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But it, it is difficult if you are, you know,

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a business, a local business to, to have the client's

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come to you when the physical places don't trade anymore.

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So yeah. You have to go to more online places.

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I guess I've seen a lot of people try to

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do, even in some places like Instagram, I don't know

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if it works or not. I hope it does for

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them, but a lot of people don't do online. So

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yeah.

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I don't know.

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I'm sure that they have a more people moving online

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because as you say, for some people that are probably

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the only other option now, so have you had to

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do anything differently since the pandemic? I wear a mask.

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Yes, yes. Yes. That's it

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It's just a real things. Like you used to go

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to a specific place, how's it go to, to have

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your stones set up in a ring? If it's something

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very specific, like we said to him, for example, but

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of course, a few of their students that are not

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able to keep that a workshop will have to go

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up. And so you have to allow much more time

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for every jury commissioned that you work on. Because something

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that would take me to be, I dunno, for five

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days now will take 15 days because you have to

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find if the person who is still trading, see where

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it allows, you know, how you can get the work

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they're then it has to come back to you.

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And even things like having your work, I stayed the

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service of Paris, you know, or reduced hours. So you'd

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have to change the way you organize your day in

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order to go exactly during this limited hours in that

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place. But another shop has a limited hours. So it

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seems to the dealer you have to, do you remember

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a moment? I mean, if you do have to adapt

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definitely to that. And also the other thing is I

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do not want to take the time when it's busy,

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so my day is going to be, you are right

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in the middle, outside of rush hours.

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So yeah, I think you have to not take precautions

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because the last thing is wanting to get sick, but

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you don't have to pass it to a new one.

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You don't want it to, to be the person who

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is going to spread the virus because you are being

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callous. So if you have to take special care of

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everything, we still joke that should be making as well.

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Or if you have a meeting with somebody, it goes

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to grandma, you know, the that she will be call

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called after.

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Everything is a lot more difficult. Now it doesn't it.

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So that it's yeah. Let's just bring things up a

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bit and, and talk about something is a more positive.

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So I'd love to know some of the things that

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you love about your business. So whether that's about on

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the creative side or the business side, let's talk about

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some of the things that you enjoy.

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I really like being part of that love story and

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we were all helping them find something that I didn't

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know, whether it's a power of hearings or facial to

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Reeves a emotional one time. I think you it's it's

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really, yeah. We have a blessing to have to have

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the chance to do, to help with that. Knowing that

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something that you make, you know, might pass on generations

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or is it is going to celebrate the girls, or

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I don't know how many of us, sorry, or a

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graduation, it's really a special and I will show you

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that.

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Right.

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That is lovely. And you mentioned at the beginning that

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one of the things that sort of prompted you to

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move from your it career was starting a family. So

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how has that worked as you expected, has this business

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works around your family life in a way that you've

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thought it might?

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Yes, I knew so. Yes. I have to be able

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to tell her my days too, the kids, especially when

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they went into and breastfeeding and you know, things like

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that. And being able to do a parent teachers is

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a wall, but then I find that it's very difficult.

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When you have your own business, do you have boundaries

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between your lives and your business? So there has been

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some times, you know, some times I would check my

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emails on the Sunday when I'm not supposed to check

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my email on a Sunday because Sunday the weekends So.

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So I think you have to really be self-disciplined and

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combating business right. Provides.

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Yeah, I think that is it. That is a challenge

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when you own your own business, because it can just

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start to blend together. And is your workshop separate from

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your home or is it in a separate place? All

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of that is quite nice. And I suppose, because there's

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no temptation is going to another room and start making

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something or is that normally the case?

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Well, the thing is that it was a defendant. I

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did bring her back and she thinks that because you

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know, you have to close down for how long, so

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yeah. There's some stations sometimes.

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Yeah. I can see that, especially if you love what,

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like what you do. And I can tell that you

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do so we just have one final question to finish

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off if that's okay. Catherine which is one of my

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ask everybody. And that's it. So what was your number

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one piece of advice be to someone else you wanted

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to start creating and selling products, whether that's jewelry or

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just anything that they're creating

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You mean like taking the steps to go from?

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Yeah. Maybe making this up for moving from a corporate

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career to doing something creative, just any advice. Do you

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think that you would want someone to know or that

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you would like to have had 16 years ago?

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Well, I told her you listen to you for advice.

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So I'm, that's a very good, so I would say

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you have to do listen to yourself. Oh, you are

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the only one who really knows exactly what do you

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want to do on a cry? And sometimes people who

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are going to give you advice are going to show

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you in there. Your I would have to say your

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judgment that's then going to put brakes too. Your if

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that makes sense. So I would say that sometime you

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are going to, you know, try to tell Her for

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the mess, but the thing is that everybody has this

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specific something special, which she is not necessarily for every

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one.

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And by being yourself and staying true to yourself, you're

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going to attract the people are going to love what

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you really do. But if you try to not be

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yourself, if you're not going to enjoy what she Making

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or what you are going to try to do a

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lot more, and then it's going to take longer and

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it's going to get the ball rolling. But you have

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a thing I would say is also GMs. I see

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so many times people trying to make a living, but

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the price or a small, because he don't take him

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to recount that time. We don't take into account everything

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that comes around like insurance. And, and I think that

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if you really want to be seen as a puzzle

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of the one, you do something you love, the way

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you want to you.

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And this is something that is possible or not. And

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I don't know that we make sure that if you

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price it properly, you know, it's not a sheriff that

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you are running. I mean, price it properly. There's no,

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and I've seen people who are like need a cardigan

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and the tech hurdled seven days of eight hours. So

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that's what the 50 plus hours to make a cardigan.

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And then they are going to study something like what

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to teach two pounds. And if you think that's that,

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even the price of the womb, but I wouldn't, you

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know, make 50 hours of work for a one hour.

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I mean, yeah. You have to make sure that you

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price it out.

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Yeah. I think that's fantastic advice. And I'm having, it

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actually felt a bit like that, but I guess you

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could, in fact, even to set an hourly rate for

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yourself, just so you know what your aim yeah. Is

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that how you tend to work? Would you, do you,

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do you know what an hour you don't have to

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tell me? Why do you know what an hour of

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your time is worth to you?

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Yeah. The thing is that if you're the only source

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of info that you have, and you have to pay

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your rent, your food's, your friends for blah, blah, blah.

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We need to make sure that you're getting to have

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that coming in. If it doesn't come in your house,

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you know? So even if let's say you have it,

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you know, and know the same things, you can see

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it on, who covers those bills? What happens if that's

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the other person decides to go away, you still have

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to, you know, make a living. You can't, you can

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sell something for a one pound an hour and 15

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an hour. That's how, I mean, how come you have

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self-esteem you need to be proud of what you make.

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You need to understand that what the difference between something

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that is handmade and some things that she spoke, she

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met in a factual way where people are not paid

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decently or where the price of the cost of living

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is. There is no, you, you, you, you are not

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in the same category. You can't, you shouldn't compete with

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that.

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Yeah, absolutely. That, that, I think that's fantastic if I

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spanked you and no one has ever said that yet.

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So I think it's good. No, it's good. It's good.

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I think, I think that that's good for people to

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hear it. And in fact, yeah, it is giving me

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things to think about it. So I think that's, yeah,

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that's really good advice because I think that it probably

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is very easy to understand for yourself and to price

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yourself. I'm sure that happens much more than the other

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way round. So I don't know this for a fact,

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but my instinct tells me that there are plenty of

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people who aren't charging enough for what they do on

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a bit. I've seen it myself. I've seen people selling

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things. And I think, why did you sell them for

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this price? Because you could charge double that because they're

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really good.

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And I don't know, maybe it's a self-esteem thing partially.

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Right?

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I think it was probably a set of confidence thing,

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but I think that I've also heard that people have

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to see if I'm at the end, coaster making are

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not worth it or that nobody's ever going to pay

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that much for what they've done. And it's not true.

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I think the thing, you know,

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And you love something, that's why you want to get

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it. So you don't really look at the price, try

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to justify the question in your head that, Oh, I

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don't need to know the code. Oh gosh. And I,

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you know, you wanted it to you just get it

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to whatever the price are you going to eat potatoes

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for all of a sudden, then you are going to

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go and get it when somebody really wants something, they

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find a way

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That was good. Thank you. And I think you'll probably

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right. That there's lots of mindset issues around pricing and

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under the pricing product and time as well. I think,

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yeah. That's definitely a lot in that.

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Or if you could take some of the hours and

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some people will not it and do it with some

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low noble materials at diamond buttons and bits of gold,

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Right?

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Yeah. Those on the sell yourself.

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That was fantastic advice. Thank you so much. Catherine so

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I'm going to put some links over in the show

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notes. So people can go over to your website and

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take a look at it at your pieces, which are

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USEFUL and what also link to your social media I'm

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and everywhere else so that everyone can come and find

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you. Okay. So thank you so much for being here

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and for sharing have really enjoyed talking to you.

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Wow. Thank you for the interview was really interesting or

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enjoy it as well.

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Fantastic. Well, thank you so much as always. I hope

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you really enjoy that conversation with Catherine and myself. I'd

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love to know what you think you can email me.

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Vicki@tinychipmunk.com or you could find me on Instagram at VickiWeinbergproductcreation,

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or remember to subscribe to the show. So you don't

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miss out on any future episodes. Thank you as always

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for being here. And I looked forward to talking to