Part of the reason I experienced quite a lot of flailing about and panic while running online jewellery shops in the past, I now realise with that very popular asset 20/20 hindsight, was that I was trying to make things be in shops together that didn’t belong in shops together. I mean, there are some people who make this work by taking it to extremes, like the shop in York that sells wholefoods on the ground floor and swimwear on the first floor, and a hybrid petrol station/wedding boutique I saw somewhere in the northwest of England in the 90s once. But those are combinations that make you notice and remember. Mine were just similar enough and just dissimilar enough to just be awkward. Kind of like an outfit of navy shoes and black trousers and a dark brown jumper, which only a French person could ever possibly get away with because they can all wear literally whatever they like and still look stylish </stereotype>.
Anyway. I eventually identified what the problem was: some of the things I make are intricate and detailed and maybe made with kind of muted colours and hemp twine and stuff and are the kind of thing you’d wear to a renaissance faire or a pixie-themed dinner party in the woods or a steampunk morris dance event (as a spectator). I mean, probably. That’s what I hope for. Other things are pulling more in the direction of what people who go to the kind of cafés that are all bare wood and vintage lightbulbs and mismatched crockery would wear. They’re brighter, bolder, and would look good with a dress that was covered in owls. You know the sort of thing I mean? (I am not being all down on this thing. I, ahem, quite like going to those kinds of cafés. I do also kind of own a dress that is covered in owls. Look:)
For a long time I tried to work out a way of separating these neatly and prettily in my existing shops, but it just never worked. They just don’t look right together. I’ve always been all right at the creation side of things, but have not had that much luck with curating my own stuff, it turns out. UNTIL NOW. I have figured it out. Well maybe. I’ve been certain before that I’ve figured things out and been TOTALLY WRONG, but we’ll just see how this goes.
Anyway, to get to the point: I’ve put my muted-steampunk-pixiewear into the one shop (this one here that you’re reading right now) and my vintage-tablecloth-owl-matching-hipster-accessories into another. I reserve the right to adjust these slightly bulky descriptions at any time.
WHAT IS THE OTHER SHOP, you clamour. (You don’t, do you? You’ve got bored and wandered off.)
Florence Loves Fridays, as well as being a home for this other style of jewellery, is an experiment in the area of more efficient jewellery making (i.e. making small batches of identical pieces) that sent me in completely the wrong direction previously. I’m being a lot more cautious with the materials I buy, this time – for example, new materials I obtain are biodegradable and I am not using any new plastics. The beads used in Florence Loves Fridays are made from wool or wood. The button stud earrings are made with buttons that I bought in bulk several years ago – but I won’t be replacing these once they’re used up. And I’m also gradually trying to move to using only surgical stainless steel for the parts that I have to use metal for, as to the best of my knowledge that’s the most environmentally friendly metal to use, plus it’s generally really good quality stuff. I’ve got some old stock of jewellery parts that use other metals, but I’m trying to replace these with steel parts once they’re used up.
And alongside this, I’m only making stuff I genuinely like and would wear myself. If there’s one think I’ve learnt, it’s that being surrounded by a pile of buttons that I think are horrible-looking and spending hours tying them together brings out the worst in me, and nobody should have to put up with me when I’m being Worst. Being surrounded by balls of soft felt in nice retro colours and threading them together on strings makes me a lot nicer. Possibly a bit like a … kitten? I will have to ask someone who’s seen me do this if it is accurate. (I think it is probably not. I’m probably more like a warthog or grasshopper or something. Hardly anyone is actually like a kitten.)