20/20 questions with Silver by The Button
Updated: May 19
As I’ve said before I wanted this year to get out there and meet the creative gurus in their workplace and see where they make their products come to life but this is not possible at present.
However this was a bit easier with this silver jeweller Silver by The Button as not only is Emma a creative guru she is also a great friend we have known each other for other 30 years.
We both worked many moons ago in the House of Commons and we both share a passion of handmade items.
It’s always a pleasure to have her at the Handpicked events as she takes pride in what she does and that really shows in her jewellery.
I loved her answers to my 20/ 20 questions as I got to know a bit more about the amazing lady behind ‘ Silver by The Button ‘ ... enjoy !!!
1. Who are you, and what type of business do you run?
I'm Emma, hobbyist silversmith. Creator of shiny goodness...
2. What is the name of your business and how did you come up with it?
My business is called Silver by the Button. I initially started making jewellery using modern and vintage buttons, however, I had wanted to move into silver jewellery and progress my skills...so the name came about its self organically.
3. Why did you start your business? My business came about ten years ago during a period of depression. I had a collection of buttons and started making necklaces and bracelets initially for therapeutic purposes, however, friends and family started seeing my jewellery and encouraged me to start selling at fairs and events as well as placing their own orders.
4. How old is your business ? My business is celebrating her tenth birthday this year after being established in 2010.
5. If you had to pick 3 words to describe your business what would they be ?
Individual, Organic and #shinygoodness
6. Are you formally trained or self trained ?
I am mostly self taught, however, I have done numerous classes at The London Jewellery School and locally at Great Linford Arts Centre, but I have no formal qualifications.
7. What was the first piece you made and how long did it take?
The first piece of silver jewellery was a plain silver band ring at a two day class at Great Linford Arts Centre. My memory makes me think to took an age, but it probably took a couple of hours, purely as the class was following the tutor step by step.
8. Where did you sell your first piece?
The first piece of silver jewellery I sold was a pair of concave stud earrings to a manager at the day job...
9. Do you have an online shop, and if so do you prefer selling online or in person?
I have an online shop within my website and an Etsy shop, however, most of my work is sold at fairs and events. Selling at events you can actually engage one to one with your customer and see how your work looks on them. It's definitely a more personal experience that they can meet the creator and ask questions directly.
10. What’s your favourite thing to make? "My favourite item to make are my ""Lost Angels"" bangles. Comprising of three interlocking sterling silver bangles with smaller floating hoops attached to all three bangles, these are ""halos"" representing loved ones lost along the way...basically a memorial piece. This is not a regular stock item, however, when I posted a picture of the one I made for myself, I found that it resonated with people and orders came in. I felt honoured and humbled to make something so special for people. It saddens me though, when the bangles are returned for me to add additional ""halos""."
11. Is there anything new you are adding or doing this year ? This year's taken a bit of a diversion in light of Covid-19. An event I had planned to attend had to be cancelled, however, I suggested to the organiser that we considered taking the event online with a Facebook market. She liked the idea and since early March the event has grown arms and legs and we have built a small community of other like minded small business and crafts people. We have already hosted our first virtual market, with another already planned and we now have stallholders from up and down the country. In a sea of virtual markets, ours has a different feel in that we have a dedicated stallholders area were we support each other. If you'd have said at the beginning of the year I would be helping to run an online market, I'd have said...I don't have time, however, I am embracing this as it gives me something positive to distract myself with during this distressing time. I am a big advocate of supporting small, independent and local business and am doing this, hoping that those for who this is their bread and butter will still have a business on the other side of Covid-19.
12. How do you keep your creative skills fresh? I regularly follow The London Jewellery School on social media and attend their classes when I want to try something new that I don't feel comfortable trying on my own!
13. How do you work? Do you have a dedicated workspace? I have a workshop at the bottom of my garden, a shed built for me by my partner and best friend...so it was built with love. It's my place to go and hammer, saw and set fire to metal. A great place to work out frustrations after a tough day at the day job! It's also a place of solace where I can create and then walk away half way through without having to tidy up and get in anyone else's way...it's where the magic happens!
14. Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere...nature for shapes and colours, billboards and social media for sayings to use in handstamping. If you open your eyes, inspiration is everywhere.
15. What’s been your favourite customer feedback?
"""I love my bangle, it's perfect and I will treasure it always""...a bangle handstamped with the lyrics of song played at her fathers funeral."
16. What are you most proud of that you’ve made ? My Vogue Rings...what started as organic rings in the making ended up on the pages of British Vogue. I'm going to be dining out on that for some time to come...!!!
17. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given by someone? "As a sufferer of Dyscalculia, I never for a moment thought making shiny goodness would require me having to calculate ""pye""...I was given a chart by a fellow jeweller who recognised my problem and I still live and die by that chart. Every time I make a ring or bangle I give Wallace a little ""thank you""."
18. What’s the one piece of advice you would give someone starting up?
"""Don't panic""...many a time I have made something and it's not come out as I had planned and working with a costly precious metal, it's natural to panic...don't!!! Silver is far more forgiving than you think and misspelled words can be hammered out and resemble texture or the silver can be heated and granulated to create one of a kind pieces of jewellery...believe me, you're customers will never know!"
19. Where can customers find you this year ?
"At the moment, at home...!!! However, I am hoping to be making appearances in the autumn and winter at local events ""Made in Stony"", ""Lollyrocket"" and ""Handpicked for Dorking"". But until then I can be found on Facebook in the Village Pop-Up ONLINE MARKET, my online shop at www.silverbythebutton and my little Etsy shop SilverbyTheButton. "
20. What is it you like about Handpicked ? I admire Jason's passion. Coming initially from the background of a maker, he recognises what an event requires and how to treat his creative gurus. After all an event is nothing without your stallholders, so it's the mutual respect he has achieved. His attention to detail and organisational skills are also amazing...
You can find out more about Silver by The Button on the Creative Guru Directory