It's our 1st Birthday!! But how and why did Bardot Boho get here? Read my epic journey (so epic it may need a Morgan Freeman voice over).
With balloons, flowers and well-wishes in abundance from my wonderful colleagues I left my job in Marketing & Communications at the Irish Charity I'd worked at for 5 years and headed to the unknown world of jewellery with a healthy dose of enthusiam, ignorance and abject fear.. (see photo of me heading off into the abyss leaving @leedsirishhealthandhomes, looking like Eric Morcambe walking away from the Morcambe & Wise show whilst Ernie did a song.... ah comedy legends). Anyhoo back to the story...
I knew nothing about jewellery, nought, nada... I knew what I liked to wear and what I didn't but that was it.
I needed to find out just what I was getting into so decided to attend trade shows and events where I lurked in the background and eves-dropped on conversations between seasoned jewellers and business owners.
I can clearly remember one guy in a London tradeshow asking me what kind of bezel settings and findings I was looking for and what WSP I was willing to pay....? yes it was dutch to me too!
So I took a 6 week course in York in Silversmithing and Jewellery Making which culminated in the making of a solid silver ring. Mine was shockingly bad and even the tutor was surprised at just how bad it was. It didnt fit any of my fingers and was oblong. The tutor asked me again if I was sure I wanted to set up a jewellery e-shop... it was all very, very bad indeed.
But I kept going... and it's at the point I have to mention a few very important people in my journey. Firstly the one person who was right behind me encouraging me all the way and who I can't imagine doing any of this without..my gorgeous, supportive, calm, pragmatic husband Simon, my rock (see photos and in particular the one where Simon is holding up my first 2 sales within 5 minutes of opening up Bardot Boho!
The second important person is a flame-haired beauty, marketing guru, drinking partner and friend for life @anniedunne. Anna (Franks) gave me the tools to think about my vision and challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and to question and dig into what my I stood for, Frank by name and nature. All delivered over some very boozy 'power lunches' and networking events (see photo collage) Also see me 'out of my comfort zone and finally posting a video of me wearing one of my bracelets'... weird shaking wrist action - still dont know why I did that but the bracelets sold out within a week so all good in the end.
The final important people who are always there to encourage, support, laugh & cry with me are 5 important women in my life, my beautiful Mum Bridget (Bridie to all her friends) who is strong and wise and funny beyond words and my 3 gorgeous sisters....Mary, Ann & Angela - all with me every step of the way with words of encouragement, laughter and the odd purchase (think they felt sorry for me in the early days ha!).
So after taking all this great advice and as the saying goes 'it takes a village' (plus a vineyard in my case) I wrote down exactly why I wanted to open Bardot Boho and found my direction halleluja! It was then clear, I love jewellery, I love animals, I love our planet so that's what I'm going to focus on!
With all that in mind the rest was easy (well I wasn't going to make my jewellery you'll be happy to learn!) but I was going to find the best most stylish bohemian jewellery from around the globe and put it all in one place, perfect! I will then donate profits to help animals whilst also selling some amazing jewellery that won't end up in landfill, even better!
My first go at being a designer (rather than maker) was under the careful eye of the super nice and talented Devendra @setufairtrade who connects disadvantaged artisans with global markets. Devendra was such an amazing, patient and knowledgable person and with my design he delivered beautiful, high quality bracelets handmade in a fairtrade setting getting paid a fair wage, perfect.
I then set up an alliance with @theorangutanproject who protect orangutans now classified as 'critically endangered' due to deforestation and loss of habitat. Each of the fairtrade natural stone 22kt gold bracelets plants a tree, giving real on-the ground and lasting assistance to these wonderful creatures who share 97% of our DNA. Along with our climate positive committment we have planted 498 trees in the Brazilian rainforest and in Sumatra, a good start.
I then found some amazing suppliers to work with and que the beautiful Naomi from @bamboovera. A simply gorgeous range, beautifully packaged and a perfect fit for Bardot Boho (plus Naomi is crazy for animals just like me so a total match made in heaven!). And many others from as far afield as Singapore to South Africa but always just looking for that perfect 'something' different to bring to you.
A big shout out to @drazenfotopriganica for realising my vision and for taking amazing photos bejouled on the beautiful soul @charlottewilson . Knowing I had you two by my side, I couldn't fail to get my vision across.
Then finally finding the right packaging was easy.... NO PLASTIC! and once again SETU were able to realise my dream of having a lovely keepsake 100% organic, unbleached drawstring bag along with acid-free soy ink tissue paper from @noissuetissue and biodegradable shipping bags from @betterpackagingco. Postcards designed and painted by uber talented local antipodean artist @leesacollins - amazing talent right on our doorstep!
I was now ready!!
The next phase of my business went by in a blur of home-delivering, ribbon-tying (I'd never done this before!) sleepless nights, buying stock followed by running out of and buying the wrong kind of stock and ultimately finding the right balance, all learning.
With a TV and best-selling book author from UK, a TV anchor and Tri-athlete from USA and a Heart Radio personality all wearing my jewellery (what?), a BBC York Radio Interview and magazine features it's been an epic year.
And it's been the best year of my life, I've loved it! But what's next?
Well stay tuned because we are heading into the wonderful world of bespoke jewellery, custom made especially for you, men's jewellery and .....(drum roll please).... DIAMONDS!!!! DIAMONDS, DIAMONDS..... phew I will really have to make sure that I dont wear all my own stock and get 'high on my own supply'....
Couldn't have done it without all you, you there... you know who you are, the wonderful georgous human beings who've bought, shared, liked and commented (because those last 3 things are just as important as buying from a small business). I thank you all for your wonderful support and encouragement and for helping me plant trees and just make our crazy world a little brighter.
Oh and just another (ahem) couple of little hurdles this year...a global pandemic and a full renovation of our little Yorkshire barn ...ha!
Tons of love, #thebardotway...