What is your business?
I make polymer clay jewellery through my company Green Grove Designs. I sell my products online, at local craft markets and - as of the 2nd November - through my shop at Redlands Yard, Broadwindsor.
How did you get started?
Before Covid I worked in a café and when I was furloughed I started making greeting cards to keep me entertained. I had always wanted to start a business and so I began selling them through Etsy. One day I saw someone making polymer clay jewellery on Instagram and, with past memories of my mother doing this, I attempted to do the same. I was rubbish at first! But it was therapeutic and I kept practising until I was happy with the end result. I also found I was able to charge more for jewellery than the greeting cards. After six months I built a website and I took my produce to craft markets every few months.
How did you hear about SWEF and what led you to apply for a grant?
I was at a dead end. I knew what I wanted to do but had no funds to take it further. I was unable to grow the business and could not get a job as no one was hiring. I heard about SWEF through a friend, applied for a grant and was successful.
How did the grant help you develop your business?
It allowed me to purchase better marketing materials for my craft fairs, such as marketing banners, a wooden table and wooden jewellery casing to showcase my products. I also used the grant to purchase space at more craft fairs. The grant has helped me turn Green Gove Designs into a full-time business and due to the increase in sales, I have now been able to rent my own studio with a shop front in Broadwindsor.
How have you seen your finances change since you received the grant?
Before the grant, my monthly revenue was £300 a month. Last month I made £1,300, more than half of this from fairs and my website, and the rest from the shops that I supply. This is entirely down to the SWEF grant, which has allowed me to invest in the business.
How else might you have funded investment in greengrocer designs?
I would have had to get another full-time job and health issues would sadly have prevented me from doing both jobs, plus, I would have no time since I am also a part time university student with the Open University. A bank loan was not possible and I would not have wanted to take a loan from a friend.
Where do you see your business in a years time?
I hope to have more consistent sales on my website and to build this up a bit, because at moment mostly sell through markets and this can be difficult in winter.
Anything else you want to share?
Green Grove Designs plants a tree with every online order! I use a company called Ecologi and they plant trees in areas such as mangroves and wetlands in Africa where they are needed the most.
Green credentials are very important to my business. I grew up in the countryside and have seen how it has changed along with the rest of the world; it’s quite depressing. I don’t know any other polymer clay businesses offering this, so it helps me stand out in an otherwise saturated market.
Where can we find out more?
Take a look at greengrovedesigns.co.uk
Or find me at the following markets: - Bridport, Sherborne, Poundbury and at my shop soon!