Spotlight Series - Boa Necklaces
This week for our Spotlight Series, we spoke to Hannah Sainty, creator of Boa Necklaces. She has always been crafty, and thanks to word of mouth and the help of her friends, has been able to kickstart her small jewellery business. Keep reading below to find out more about this University of Edinburgh student and her lovely designs:
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Hannah, I’m 20 and in my second year of studying Spanish and Linguistics, and really enjoying Edinburgh. My dad is a diplomat which means me and my family move countries every 4 or 5 years and at the moment we are living in Lisbon, which I love. I’m looking forward to going on a year abroad next year, hopefully somewhere in Spain, and at the moment I’m considering going into real estate after uni. In terms of interests I have started getting into running, I love reading, music, food, hot holidays and now making jewellery! My jewellery business started off as a little hobby of mine and I’m really grateful and happy to say that it’s going better than I ever expected it to.
How/Why did you come up with this endeavour, was there a particular ‘light bulb’ moment?
I came up with this idea quite simply because I had loads of free time on my hands during lockdown. My mum has always been quite crafty and likes to take up new hobbies while living abroad so during lockdown we rediscovered some of her old boxes of tools and jewellery making books. The necklaces that I make are adapted from some of the instructions from those books and I just kept adapting them and changing them until I was really happy with the result, and that is when I started selling them.
Was there one particular thing you did that you feel enabled the business to take off/gain traction?
I think the main thing that has helped my business has just been word of mouth. I used Instagram to promote the necklaces, but I would say that most of the sales have been from my friends wearing them and spreading the word to others who then come to me and buy one too.
What has been the most challenging/rewarding part of running your business?
I have really enjoyed coming back to uni and seeing people wearing my necklaces, I also love when customers come back and order again, I take that as a massive compliment. In terms of what has been a challenge, I’d say that coming back to uni and having loads on again compared to lockdown has got in the way of both making and promoting the necklaces. The necklaces do take quite a while to make and I have struggled slightly to prioritise and dedicate time in the day to making them. I would say I have managed to keep up with orders, but I think if I had a less busy schedule then I’d maybe be able to sell more.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
At the moment my business is quite small, and I sell to quite a small circle of people. This is something that I would love to see change and once I have more free time, maybe during a holiday, hopefully I will really be able to get ahead with production and be prepared for selling more necklaces to more people. I would also really love to work more with different charities and organisations once I have found a good and efficient routine with producing and selling the jewellery. I would also really love to start doing market stalls and I do actually have one planned for December in London which is so exciting.
Is there a positive aspect that has come out of this pandemic for you/your business?
Something positive that came out of the pandemic was definitely the extra time that I had on my hands. I really enjoy making the jewellery and I was able to be really consistent and productive on a daily basis. Something else which in this respect was pretty positive was the boost in people’s use of social media, meaning that more people saw and were interested in my necklaces, and I interacted with more people online through my page than I think I would have usually.
How do you ensure you run your business with sustainable practice in mind?
I produce no waste when I make my necklaces. The wire I buy comes in recyclable packaging and I used every centimeter of it. The beads also come in little glass pots which I keep and use for other things, and again I use every single bead that comes. I also don’t use any plastic in my packaging!
Interview conducted by: Samara Fruitman