By Kate Marsden
A pop of colour for you this week in the form of the beautiful jewellery created by designer/maker Nadège Honey. Nadège juggles her successful business with family life in Northampton, where she’s been spotting Just A Card stickers and supporting her local independent shops!
Tell us a little about you. What do you do?
My name is Nadège Honey and I am a contemporary jewellery designer maker working with polymer clay and silver. I create colourful and quirky jewellery where colour, pattern and texture are at centre stage. My work is inspired by memories of my childhood in France as well as by my love of mid-century and Art Deco styles and classic designs. For the past 10 years I have sold my work through shops and galleries across the UK internationally and also via my online shop.
What does a typical day involve?
No two days are ever the same, but generally I am at my desk by 6am where I reply to emails, pack orders and take care of some admin tasks before my children wake up. A few times a week I like to walk my younger son to school – a round trip of 5km which gives me time to think on the way back. Then ideally I love to have 2 hours of creating, (this unfortunately does not happen every day). I particularly enjoy sketching new designs and mixing my own colours to create unique pieces. I usually work until school pick up and I often pop back in the studio a bit later in the evening too!
Where do you work? What is your studio space like? What do you enjoy doing when you're not working?
I am based in Northampton and I work from home. My studio is a room full of light on the first floor and I am very lucky that it overlooks the garden. I have a beautiful table as my work bench (which I have had since my student days) with all my tools and my pasta machine. A corner of the room is a dedicated photo space with lights, and all my packaging is in there, so I can do everything in one place.
When I am not working, I am usually being creative in other ways: I love, cooking, knitting & crocheting, drawing/doodling and taking photos. I also like reading and watching Scandinavian and other European dramas. At weekends I love going for walks with my husband and children.
What do you consider to be the main challenges facing designer makers at the moment?
I personally think that working on your own can be a little difficult at times. It can bring self-doubt and being self-employed is not for everyone. But mainly, I find multi-tasking and the feeling that you have to be everywhere can be challenging. Luckily, every challenge has its solution and strengthens you, so let’s focus on being positive and everything will fall into place.
What ambitions do you have for your business over the next few years?
I feel that my business has come a long way from the days I started working on it in the evenings on my coffee table. Every year I am planning on taking on the world a little bit more! I would like my brand Nadège Honey Design to gain more visibility & be more widely distributed, so in order to achieve this I am going to concentrate on trade shows this year. I would also like to work on collaborations with other artists or organisations, but mostly I would like to carry on enjoying having the most fulfilling job in the world.
Do you have any tips for fellow designer makers/small business owners who are reading this and may be just starting out?
I really think that if you believe in yourself you can climb mountains. You will probably have to work hard but take one day at a time and set yourself realistic goals. And then just be yourself and you will attract the right audience. My husband always says to me ‘People buy from people’ and this is so true. I have known some of my stockists from the beginning and it has made all the difference. One more thing: never compromise on quality. I am proud of every single piece that leaves my studio and I wouldn’t be selling it if it wasn’t perfect.
Please share any favourite independent shops/galleries and tell us why you like them.
It is very difficult to choose as I have developed lovely working relations with all the shops and galleries I supply, but if I had to pick a few, they would be:
Number Twenty: A superb gift shop selling beautiful products and supporting the Hospice of St Francis. The staff and volunteers there are so friendly and this is the shop which have stocked my jewellery since day one. A very dangerous place for me to visit!
The Art in Action Gallery at Waterperry Gardens: A showcase of some amazing artists whose work is of great quality and is presented in a beautifully renovated barn. Also the gallery has stocked my jewellery for many years.
15 Collingwood: One of my latest stockists (2 years). A classy shop just round the corner from me, selling great mid-century furniture, prints, lamps… as well as the work of some local artists.
Had you realised the Just A Card campaign message suggests cards as an example of a small purchase - we're about encouraging all sales as they keep businesses afloat?
Yes I did realise this and I often buy from fellow makers when I can because I know how important this is. I am also a big fan of independent shops of all sorts and I do most of my shopping in bricks and mortar shops as much as possible. It is in everyone’s interest to have a thriving high street and we can all make a difference. Plus the experience is much more personal and you end up knowing the shops owners quite well. So it is a win win situation.
How important is the Just A Card campaign message to you and your business?
As a designer/maker, the campaign message is crucial for me and my business and it is also my aim to get people to realise that supporting independent businesses is good all round for the high street, the economy, the community and creativity! The campaign has had amazing support so far and has created quite a buzz already. There is also a great sense of community and I have met amazing artists and creative people through the Just a Card Indie Week
Where did you hear about the campaign and which Social Media platforms do you use most frequently? What do you think people can do to support Just A Card, and how will you be doing so?
I can’t remember exactly where I first heard about the campaign but I think it was on Instagram and then I started noticing shops with the stickers. With regards to social media for my business I mainly use Instagram (and Facebook) which I really like because it is a very visual tool and I enjoy discovering the work of other creatives via their photos.
As for supporting the amazing Just a Card campaign, we can all do so much. Obviously buying something even small from a maker or from an independent shop is great and I started making and selling cards of my doodles so that people who wanted to buy from me but didn’t necessarily want to spend too much could still purchase a little piece of my creation. But there are other ways. Spreading the word about the campaign is a great way to share the love and this can be done by liking and commenting on social media posts, leaving reviews and recommendations when you make a purchase from a maker/independent.
Personally I already do the above, but I will continue taking part in the challenges and wear my badge more often! I will also print a sign about the campaign to take with me to events this year as this is the perfect way to start a conversation and meet new people. I am also planning on redesigning my website and when this is done I will add the logo there.