So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.

During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses โ€“ many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time โ€“ and shed some awareness and love to all.

So I had to share this jewellery brand with you and you’ll soon understand why!

On Instagram, Ashley Heather describes themselves as a brand of minimalist jewellery handcrafted in precious metals reclaimed from circuit boards. When I came across Ashley Heather, it literally blew my mind that they make this gorgeous jewellery range from other people’s discarded circuit boards. Just amazing!

Let’s learn a little bit more. We spoke to Ashley, the Founder and she had this to say!

Please tell us a little about your business and your products?

‘ashley heather’ is an independent jewellery studio specialising in artisanal pieces crafted in precious metals reclaimed from circuit boards. Passionate about and committed to ethical production we combine age old gold-smithing techniques with contemporary designs to create unique jewellery with a conscience. We care about every aspect of the craft and are constantly striving for the most sustainable studio practices from the manufacturing processes right through to the packaging.

Squared Silver Band

I stumbled into jewellery making quite by accident. I had just finished my art degree and was contemplating my next step when I went to visit a jeweller friend of mine, she was melting a crucible of silver when I walked in and I was immediately spellbound by its shimmering viscosity.

I signed up for a part time course the next day and one lesson in signed up for a full time programme.

I started the company in my garage in 2011 as a way to bring together my passion for sustainability with my new found passion for metalcraft. Since those early days we have grown into a small team of dedicated hands We believe in slow fashion, in mindful consumption, in style that transcends trends.

You opened your own business – How does it feel to be a business owner that loves what they do?

That depends on the day, being an entrepreneur is a wild ride and I wouldn’t swop it for anything but it’s certainly never easy.

What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?

Learning to delegate has been a big one for me, I started off in those early days doing everything myself and as time has gone and we have grown more and more things are are not in my direct realm of control. I a very lucky to have a great team but accepting that their are limited hours in the day and that I can’t do everything is still something I struggle with.

I think pricing is another big one. I know a lot of craft style business owners have this issue so I’m not alone. Prices really need to be reflective of the true running cost of the business to be sustainable but there are some challenging ideas about our worth as creatives that we need to confront first in order to see the wood for the trees when it comes to pricing.

Work life balance is a challenge and one I am very far away from mastering. I am more cognisant of it now than I was a few years ago and try and make sure to block work from my mind and my schedule at least a few evenings a week and on Sundays, although it’s Sunday and I am writing this so I failed this week ๐Ÿ˜‰

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

We are not a company focused on rapid growth, our five year goals are more centered around expanding our true value. To this end we are are working on scaling up our e-waste processing capacity which will increase the amount of e-waste in South Africa we can divert off landfills. This of course means we will also be able to produce more pieces which in turn will allow us to create more opportunities and develop skills. This slow and steady approach may not be what the business success stories usually sound like but it suits us and our desire for sustainability in every sense of the word.

What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?

I recommend starting it off as a side hustle at first, that is, don’t quite your day job. This takes a lot of the pressure off and you can assess the viability of your idea and the markets responses without the crushing weight of it having to work. When something ‘has to work’ I find that I am so obsessed with the doom and gloom outcomes if it doesn’t that my ability to think creatively and therefore actually give it a fair shot at working is all but destroyed. Your first version of your idea may not work and that’s OK, you tweak it and try again. The company I run today is nothing like the company I imagined it would be when I started out.

Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?

The first one is without a doubt doing work that I am passionate about! The second would have to be that there is never a dull moment, my schedule never looks the same and there is always a fresh challenge to tackle.

How has lock down affected you?

We have completely closed our Woodstock store over this period. We are technically allowed to open our physical store now at level 3 but for us the most important thing is the safety of our team and our customers so we are holding off on opening until we learn more about the COVID19 situation in this new level 3 phase. At the start of the pandemic we moved everything online in a big way and all of a sudden it was all eggs in one basket, it’s been a period of rapid learning. Things are slowly starting to pick up and normalize a little now but anxiety, fear and also hope have been and continue to be my constant companions through all of this.

Please check out their website here and you will fall in love with all their jewellery, so unique and beautiful. Please also give them a follow on Instagram and Facebook, they would appreciate the love! x

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