1. Introduce yourself and your company!
Hi, Iâ€™m Viv Smith the owner of Poppy Sparkles.Â At Poppy Sparkles HQ I mostly create jewellery with Swarovski birthstone crystals for young girls and also mummies. However, many of my designs are suitable for all ages and I have a range of designs that do not incorporate birthstones. My necklaces are created with my own unique charm system, providing several looks from just a few charms. Poppy Sparklesâ€™ jewellery makes a lovely gift for bridesmaids and flower girls, and can be coordinated to match wedding themes and colours.
2. What made you start your company?
Iâ€™ve made jewellery since my early teens and sold it for nearly as long, mostly at local events and to friends. After the birth of my daughter a year ago, I decided to formalise things a little more as I love making jewellery and wanted it to be more than just a hobby. I decided to use the opportunity of a career break whilst Iâ€™m a full-time mum at home to work at establishing myself and getting myself known.Â And so, I founded Poppy Sparkles, named after my daughter (sheâ€™s Poppy, but is often called â€˜Poppy Sparklesâ€™ now!). As a teacher in my pre-children days, I spent many evenings marking or planning lessons, so I am enjoying this opportunity to have the time to spend creating new jewellery designs and work at my jewellery business.
3. Can you give us a typical â€˜day in the life ofâ€™ â€“ weâ€™d love to know what you do day by day, even the what-might-seem-like-boring bits!
Being a mum to two young children, means that I have a somewhat different daily routine to most. Iâ€™m usually woken up by either a baby girl or little boy on my head (I think theyâ€™ve discovered that trying to suffocate me gets the fastest results in the morning) and I spend the first bit of the day juggling getting Daddy to work and us fed, washed and dressed. On days when we donâ€™t have a group to attend, a play-date or a visit from Granny, I use the daytime to keep up with my online presence and admin in between stints of playing. Iâ€™m on twitter intermittently throughout the day in between building duplo towers, making a soft play area out of cushions and changing nappies! I also manage my online stores, my inbox, facebook page and my blog by day.Â I always have a notebook handy to jot down the ideas that come to mind, especially those I may not be able to action whilst in mummy mode.
If I have a rush order, I take advantage of Daddy coming home for lunch and leave him to feed the littlies, whilst I disappear to my workroom to create!Â I then despatch him back to work via the Post Office or if the weather is nice take my little ones for a walk to the Post Office.
Once my two little shouty ones have finally given into sleep I can then retreat to my workroom and make up orders and work on new designs. Thereâ€™s just no way I could create jewellery with them around, apart from the choking hazard present, creating jewellery demands my full attention.
4. What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?
Honestly, I love all of it! Each different aspect satisfies one of my interests. I love the writing involved in blogging, the networking through twitter, playing with new beads as I create new designs, discussing ideas for a bespoke order with a customer, making jewellery…. itâ€™s just the accounts side Iâ€™m not so keen on!
5. How do you come up with your designs?
Most of my jewellery incorporates birthstones, so itâ€™s a case of sourcing sterling silver charms or beads that work well with those and will be popular choices for gifts for young girls.
In terms of design, I love nothing more than sitting in my workroom with my various bead boxes open placing beads next to each other to see what works.Â I like to mix shape, size, texture and colours.Â Primarily I work in threes with my charm necklaces and nearly always have to have a Swarovski crystal and a freshwater pearl, with a third bead or charm to make the trio.
When designing pieces aimed at little girls, I try to imagine whether itâ€™s something Iâ€™d let the future older version of my daughter wear, as well as something I would also wear.Â Just so you know, all my necklace charms can be removed and threaded on to a longer necklace chain, so mummies you can raid your daughterâ€™s jewellery box!
Whilst I do consider current trends and fashions, I endeavour to create pieces that are timeless and will be cherished for years to come.
6. How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family life? Some secrets to your success please!
As you saw in my typical day, I manage by working at night on things I canâ€™t do whilst I have my children with me. This works fine whilst I am establishing my business, but as things pick up, I may have to rethink this as I thereâ€™s a limit to how late I can work. My eldest is due to start nursery in 2011, which will help with this.Â I find planning ahead helps, especially for keeping on top of my blog and admin.Â Iâ€™ve got notes for each month on the kind of things Iâ€™ll blog about, as well other things I need to be doing.Â Hopefully, this means that I will be ready in good time for key events, such as Motherâ€™s Day and even Christmas 2011!
7. Do you manage to ever switch off the phone or laptop, or always sneakily checking emails and calls 24/7?
I do shut down my laptop sometimes well before I head to bed, but with a Blackberry Iâ€™m able, and do, check my email and twitter virtually 24/7.Â Although, I set out on Twitter for business networking, Iâ€™ve made a number of friends, so it often isnâ€™t work to me. Besides, what else is a modern mummy to do when stuck feeding a baby in the small hours when everyone else in the house is asleep?!
8. What top tip would you give couples that are getting married?
Thereâ€™s a lot of talk about â€˜your day, your wayâ€™ and whilst I may get flamed for saying it, I also think you should consider your family too and attempt where possible to include them.Â Iâ€™ve seen and heard so many people totally disregarding their family in the pursuit of their perfect day and, unless your immediate family are happy, I just cannot see how a couple can enjoy their day.Â That said, you do need to have the wedding you want â€“ I guess itâ€™s a case of working out what things, if necessary, you are willing to compromise on and the elements that are key to your big day.
9. If youâ€™re already married, what one thing do you wish youâ€™d done differently?
My mum was seriously ill on our wedding day and in some ways I wish weâ€™d postponed our wedding as it wasnâ€™t a day she was able to enjoy. However, she wanted us to go ahead and if weâ€™d postponed Iâ€™m not sure when we would have been able to reschedule, unless weâ€™d waited over a year or 2.
10. What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?
Iâ€™ve not had any unusual requests yet, but if you have one, bring it on! I do love bespoke orders and custom requests.Â The only request Iâ€™ve not managed to fulfil was for a hand stamped initial charm, but this is something I intend to be able to offer in the future as I plan to embark on building on my previous silversmithing course, so I can offer my own handforged charms.
11. How long do you usually take from start to finish with a couple? Please explain the process that you run through with clients so our readers can schedule it all inâ€¦
If a design is destined for a bridesmaid, it may be that that colours are to be matched with the wedding colours.Â In this case, I can either match Swarovski crystal colours to those used in any other accessories, such as a headband or tiara or the client can send me a swatch of fabric, or even one of those paint swatches, for me to match against.
For themed weddings, I can source appropriate charms and feedback potentials to the client to choose from.
For all bespoke/custom orders, I am happy to email across photographs of potential designs for approval.
Unless a client is purchasing an existing design, I would advise allowing at least 4 weeks.Â I can usually turn a custom request round within a week, as long as I have the materials in stock.Â A bespoke order can vary depending on the individualâ€™s requirements. If itâ€™s a case of ordering in Swarovski crystals in a particular shade timescales can be 1-2 weeks, but for more specific requests such as an unusual sterling silver charm or style of bead I may need more like 3-4 weeks.
12. When do you recommend placing an order, please tell us how much notice do you need and how far should couples order in advance of the wedding?
Jewellery for Bridesmaids and Flower girls tends to be lower down the wedding to do list. However, I would recommend ordering at least 4 weeks before the big day, especially for custom or bespoke requests, earlier if possible – the sooner you order and have everything ticked off your wedding to do list, the sooner you can kick back and enjoy the run up to your big day!
Thank you Viv, interesting answers there! If you’d like to view any more of the Poppy Sparkles jewellery, visit the website, or email. Viv also provides some useful tips on jewellery on there together with more suggested suppliers on her site!
If you’re a wedding supplier and would like to be featured on our Supplier Spotlight, please get in touch.