Throughout April, we are shining a light on how ACJ started and what a journey it has been! This is a story of quiet and subtle persistence - which has led to the beautiful brand you see today….
It all began in 2003 when I headed to Loughborough University to study Jewellery Design and Silversmithing. After graduating, I returned home, got a job at my local council, took over a corner of my mum's summer house, and put my workbench in there. I didn't really have a plan other than I loved making jewellery.
So it turns out working at the council really wasn't for me. I needed to do something where I could be creative, and so I decided it was time to do something about it.
It was in 2009 that ACJ was officially born when I gained a place at Design Space (a business start-up scheme) in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. Though I knew how to make jewellery, I will happily admit that I didn't necessarily know how to run a business.
These blossom pieces were the first proper jewellery collection that I created at Design Space. I still love them and actually went to a wedding and saw someone I didn't know wearing the double earrings and nearly burst with excitement.... I didn't tell her I made her earrings but kinda wish i had now!
A next key moment for ACJ was in 2011 when I won Best New Comer at The British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate. That was a real pinch myself moment and I even got featured in Craft and Design Magazine.
In 2015, I got the keys to my little shop at The Yards in Kettering. This was a huge achievement for my small business, and one that I didn't take lightly. My shop was a converted shipping container and at one end I had my workbench so people could see me making which was lovely.
In 2018 I made the decision to close the shop and created a home studio, Hugo & Phoebe my furry workshop helpers loved it and I was able to create a work-life balance.
10 years and counting… By 2019 ACJ is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary! It's a story of patience, hard work and persistence. To have had the passion and determination to reach 10 years in business is phenomenal.
We all remember when the world came to a halt in early 2020, and just like so many people I put all my efforts into my own creative projects - my business (and a little bit of DIY). No one would have predicted positivity from such a time of darkness... but this was when I was able to leave my part-time job and become a full-time jewellery maker!!
In 2021, We won the Best Jewellery Store in Northamptonshire at the Muddy Stiletto Awards, exactly 10 years after winning Best New Comer at the British Craft Trade Fair.
And here we are in 2023, still creating pieces with passion and love, straight from the heart.
As we reach the end of our walk down memory lane, lets take a look to he next few years... I’m not aiming for world domination but instead to keep steadily growing as a business, listening to my customers and what they want. As well as pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and maybe creating a workshop that I can open to the public….who knows!!”
So this is my slow and steady rise to the top is a story of persistence and determination and will hopefully inspire others to take the first step in following their dreams.