I am thrilled to be featured in an interview with the lovely Cassie Jene from Rainbow Lollies on her wonderful website, as a part of a series she is writing about Creative Parents In Business. Below is the interview in full. Do check out the original as well of course!!
Creative Parents in Business – The Silver Forge
Ruthie Gray is a silversmith specializing in well-designed, comfortable and fun jewellery for everyday wear. She is the creative owner of her own jewellery line, The Silver Forge. The Silver Forge was started in May 2012, although Ruthie has been studying and practising silversmithing as early as 2005. Ruthie’s creative process may start from a simple daydream or art drawing with all possible ideas and designs ‘dumped’ onto paper. The ones that stood out will then be physically prepared from a silver sheet or wire; such as sawing, filing, emerying, soldering, hammering, bending; until the final piece emerges. All the jewellery you see in The Silver Forge were made by hand using using traditional methods and tools in Ruthie’s Brisbane home studio.
Besides managing her creative business, Ruthie is a mother of two children (17 and 2 years old – yes, I checked and it is not a typo!) and has a ‘day’ job working from home. She feels lucky to be able to have another form of paid work that is flexible and not confined in an office building. To make the most of this arrangement, Ruthie ensures that she spends lots of time with her children in the daytime during the week while also working her ‘day’ job in the background plus running her handmade business. As if that is not enough to keep her occupied, Ruthie manages to squeeze in time for reading and indulging in several crafty pursuits; among them sewing, knitting, needlework and painting miniature models.
“It is a privilege to be able to create for a living. Doing something that you are passionate about makes the days fly by, and there’s never a dull moment!” – Ruthie Gray
Even though The Silver Forge is a part time business for Ruthie, she still faces the challenges of juggling the demands of a handmade business with those of having a family life and a ‘day’ job. List-writing works very well for her. Everything and anything that needs to be done goes on a list to make it easy for her to prioritise. Naturally, family duties come first as the whole point of being able to work from home is to spend time with them. Ruthie acknowledges that it can get quite busy sometimes trying to fit the ‘day’ job and handmade business into everyday life. One of the ways that Ruthie does to stay on top of things is having her 2-year-old spend a few hours each week at crèche and also having quality time with his Nanna. This allows him to learn social interaction skills while giving mum some space to focus on work and business commitments.
I asked Ruthie to share her tips for those wanting to start a business –
- Have a basic structure on which your business should be based upon. Do you want to stay small as a one woman business or do you have plans to change the world?
- Do not underprice your own work. Setting prices too low not only hurt yourself but you are undermining the value of the whole handmade industry.
- Maintain proper financial records. Put aside time to do administrative work on a weekly basis. Yes, it may be boring but at the end of the year, your tax accountant will thank you for it.
- Time management is essential. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try this – Spend a couple of days to review your daily tasks and how long it takes for you to do each one. Perhaps you are watching too much television or checking your social media accounts too often in a day. Set time limits when you are on the internet and you may be surprised to discover the amount of free time you can uncover.
- Several ways to promote your business – Word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Wanelo, Stumbleupon, Blogging, Giveaways, Etsy team membership.
- At the end of the day, everything can wait except your children – they grow so quickly! Each precious moment you can spend with them is something you can treasure.
To view more of Ruthie’s work or have her commission a piece for you, do visit the following sites :-
Ok, here is the best part –
Any purchases made from today and up to 15th April 2013, will be entitled to a 10% discount as a thank you for taking the time to read about The Silver Forge. Just mention in the notes to seller that you are a CassieJene blog reader when purchasing through her Madeit store (a 10% refund will be send to you via Paypal). Alternatively, if you choose to shop through her Etsy store, just use coupon code CASSIEJENE10.
All images featured in this article remained the property of Ruthie Gray / The Silver Forge and is used here with permission. This post is written based on Ruth’s reply via an e-mail interview.
Thank you so much, Cassie, for taking the time to interview me. It’s such a pleasure to be a ‘Creative Parent’!