Our maker this week is Sarah, founder of Birdy and Pearl, a small business that makes beautiful liberty print teething jewellery. I first became aware of Sarah's fabulous work when I was looking for a present for my sister in law. She is a proper eco - warrier (not in the trendy, man bun shouty way) and she genuinely doesn't want anything she doesn't really need. Sarah made her the perfect teething necklace, my sister in law wears it all the time and it is always available for my nephew to chomp on.
I set up birdy & pearl in the autumn of 2015 as a way of nurturing my creative self and pursuing a dream I had had since I was a child - opening my own shop. Previously, I had worked in publishing and then as a primary school teacher, a career which I put on hold after my second child was born.I have always adored Liberty of London's art prints and fabric, I actually worked at Liberty while I was at university. I also love babies - hence my rather large family. I came up with an idea which would Birdy celebrate these two things.
I initially started making wooden bead-knotted necklaces after stumbling across a tutorial online. I found out that these necklaces were often used by mothers as nursing or teething necklaces. Their purpose was to distract and engage babies while they were being fed or held, preventing little fingers from scratching skin and pulling hair. I loved this idea and wished I had found or made such a product years before when my children were little. I quickly realised that my sewing skills were not up to producing a product I could actually sell (should have and meant to go for lessons!). So it was back to the drawing board...
The internet has been such an amazing resource for small businesses and it was here I turned to continue my research. My heart-lurching, light bulb moment came when I discovered that Liberty made a cotton ribbon cord on which I could thread my beads, making my sewing machine redundant.(My first necklace was very similar to the one I made your sister-in-law. It was in Betsy P!) Not long afterwards, while sourcing the wooden beads which I originally made my nursing necklaces from, I came across gummy, tactile silicone teething beads in the most amazing shapes and colours. Keen to be original and unique I did further research and established that although there were companies, mainly then in America and Australia and at that time only a handful in the UK (not any more, sob!), that made and sold teething and nursing necklaces, there was no one making them using Liberty ribbon cord! This then was to be my USP and birdy & pearl was born.
I created my Etsy shop at the end of 2015 and officially opened in mid-January 2016. Sales have grown steadily and my customer feedback has been really encouraging and deeply rewarding. Instagram which I'd used (@thepitts) as a magazine substitute since 2011 has been a fun and effective marketing tool for me and a way of meeting friends and other creative makers like you! (bloody algorithms though. Really impacting sales at the moment. Definitely relied too heavily on ig for sales!) My goal for this year is to carry on growing the business steadily, launch my own website and introduce my necklaces and birdy & pearl to a wider audience.
Thank you so much for tuning in to our blogs during March Meet The Maker month. Next week we have another fabulous small business to share with you.
Happy Spring (brrrrrr)