Wellington based jewellery designer, blogger and business woman Imogen Wilson, makes clever, funky jewellery out of paper.
Since starting out as a hobby in 2009, her business has bloomed! Now her jewellery is available in stores all over New Zealand!
We caught up with Imogen to chat about how it all began...
Red, always Red, I love it. Unless it's a lolly... then green.. because as we all know lime flavour is the best!!
Gemini 'the twins' which is a shame really, as I'm an only child
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My husband, who is my alarm clock and amazing breakfast and coffee provider!
What inspires you in your day to day life?
The fact that I am living my dream, creating things that I love and reaping the rewards myself. It's a pretty big motivator, so many people aren't so lucky, I feel like I owe it to them to keep on keeping on!
So when did you start making Jewellery?
I dabbled briefly as a teenager with beading, as most teenage girls do. I got into what I do now in 2009, it all blossomed out of a personal need (well, want). I created my first crane earrings as I wanted to wear them myself. In fact, I had the idea and convinced a talented origami maker friend of mine to make me 2 cranes as small as he could so I could make earrings out of them... When I saw them I was convinced I could make them myself (and of course I could). People kept asking where I got them from... So I made some, then some more... The rest as they say is history! Funny thinking back on that first pair, that I was convinced I couldn't fold paper so small. At fairs I quite often get asked if I use tweezers, it's so second nature to me now that I can do it while watching TV and barely have to look!!
Where do you get your awesome design ideas?
I'd love to say Pinterest as it would help me justify how much time I spend on there, but in all honesty if I see something on there that inspires me or that I want to try to make myself, by seeing it there it means I am less likely to make it. Like by pinning it I have already completed it, if that makes sense. Most of my designs are things I would personally like to wear, or see people wearing. They don't tend to be 'cool' or 'in season', I try to make things that have style and that are different instead.
You work a lot with paper. What made you decide to work with paper as a jewellery medium?
I love working with paper as it contains colour and pattern possibilities not present in other materials. I also really love re-purposing materials or objects that get overlooked in every day life and making them into precious objects. Making people look twice at something, making precious objects from every day materials or making every day objects out of precious materials.
I got home from a honeymoon in Japan recently clutching, as carry on luggage, a very large (A1) roll of Washi paper worth around $600. I had collected bits and pieces from all over Japan as we travelled. At the time it seemed like the obvious thing to do... but the origami I make is so tiny the beautiful patterns on the new Washi paper were lost. So I have been encasing them in glass to show off their true potential as I can't imagine anything worse than hiding their beauty!
I have also been working on two new collections which have nothing to do with paper, or origami. It's exciting to be working in a new medium... but I'm not quite ready to un-veil them to the world yet, you'll just have to wait. I can tell you that they are called 'Major Tom' and 'Ex-Libris'... although I feel by telling you their names I've given away the game a bit!
You also write a snazzy blog too, huh. What do you write about?
I write about the trials and tribulations of being a self employed, stay at home maker. It has been quite fun, although I'm not a writer at all... so it's a bit of a learning curve! You can check it out here. Every week I'm surprised that my Mum isn't the only person reading it so I must be doing something right.
So what is it like doing what you love FULL TIME?
It's everything you would imagine, terrifying as hell, hugely fun, motivating, easier than I expected, harder than I expected... and after all that, I still don't really know, it's only been three months, I'm still settling in to it. I'll let you know!
I have to say I couldn't do it without the support (both financially and mentally) of my husband. Without him as a cheerleader I don't know where I would be. You also need to have a direction you want to take your business in or a plan of attack for when it happens, I wouldn't suggest doing it because it's 'fun' or 'easy' because it's not... it's hard work, but it definitely has it's perks. I would suggest working at what you do in your spare time and when it has become so big that you are matching your day job (in hours spent working or money made) then it's time to take the leap.
So where can people buy, see or view your work?
You can view it on my website. On the website there is a full list of shops, throughout NZ, where you can buy it in person. You can also buy it straight off me via Felt (in NZ only) or Etsy (anywhere in the world).
Do you do other crafty stuff too? (Do you still make those awesome teapots?)
I have made stuff since I first tasted the craft paste at play centre... the list of the crafty hobbies I have had over time would be as long as my leg. At the moment all my creativity goes into creating jewellery, although now that I am doing it full time a new hobby may be on the cards soon. Sewing seems to be at the top of the list of contenders at this point, as although I have no intention to start sewing again no one seems to have told my ever growing pile of fabric... so subconsciously I apparently can't shake the idea of sewing...
Anything else we should know about Imogen Wilson Jewellery?
She is ever changing and one worth watching as this year she will grow, as now I finally have the time to put the work into her that I've always dreamed! To watch my progress in self employment make sure you check out my blog, or for updates on new work you can subscribe to my newsletter or like Imogen Wilson Jewellery on facebook.
Thanks Imogen. Looking forward to seeing your new collections!
If you would like to WIN a pair of Imogen's awesome Musical Crane earrings (below), Just like us on Facebook and leave a comment on our page about why you deserve to win!