From the hands of a self taught jeweller....
Hello you beautiful human!
My name is Catherine and I am the owner, jewellery maker and designer behind my brand and small business, V and Me Custom Designs.
I am a mumma to 2 beautiful children , Valencia and Ambrose and I live in Melbourne , Australia.
I have always loved this style of jewellery but could never find what I was after or found the price market way more than I could afford and it was so frustrating! So I thought, why don’t I design them myself? You know what? That's exactly what I did.
If 3 years ago you told me my business would be where and what it is now, I don't think I would have believed you.
Sitting in my study making my first necklace ( that I would later name Valencia) with a chain and some blank pendants I had purchased from Etsy , using a stamping kit I had also purchased from Etsy. I had zero clue what I was doing and it took me 7 tries to get the letters perfectly centred.
But I did it.
My goodness I was so proud of myself.
I showed my husband when he came home from work and he said to me " That looks awesome babe".
I knew I wanted to make some more designs but didn't know where to start.
I researched pendants on Etsy and put together a wishlist of ones that I wanted.
Little by little, I began adding pendants to my collection and began creating designs. No long after they arrived, I created the Esperance, Ambrose Bar and Camilla Necklaces for myself.
I soon began receiving complaints from friends, family and even strangers about my pieces and where I had purchased them from. The sense of pride i felt when I told them " I actually made them myself " was like no other feeling I'd experienced.
Within months, I had made pieces for my friends and some family members who all loved them. It was then I decided that I wanted to share my creations with the world so I took photos of the pieces I had and set up an Instagram account. I named it V and Me Custom Designs as it was just my daughter and I although I was pregnant with my son , that name just felt right in the moment.
I had zero jewellery making experience, basic social media skills and definitely not an ounce of marketing experience but I work it out on my own.
I reached out to some of my favourite content creators that I had followed for years and asked them if I could send them a necklace of their choice. They accepted and in return, shared their piece on their platform .
The orders rolled in hard and fast and I didn't know what to do.
I freaked out.
I screamed with excitement .
I couldn't believe what was happening and what the power of word of mouth and social media could do.
I began taking orders via DM and handwriting each one of them down in a note book.
This was my process for about 4 months before my husband told me ' You need to set up a website. You can't keep going like this. " after seeing the piles of orders strewed all over our study desk.
Within a few weeks , I had a website ready to go. 3 years later, here I am.
V and Me Custom Designs is a well established business.
Featured in gift guides, directories and publications.
An amazing community of women and men who support me and what I do growing each and every day.
Over 130 designs in the collection and so many more to come.
This idea grew into a thriving business that I never dreamed would be what it is today but I am so proud that I believed in myself enough to put my idea out there.
To show the world my passion for creating meaningful pieces that can always be treasured.
How do I do it? I work late into the night, almost every night. I choose how hard to work and how far to push myself.
My advice to anyone looking to start a small business would be ask for help when you need it and don't be afraid to put your ideas out there. We choose our path in life so why wouldn't you choose one that makes you a happy? I did, and I haven't looked back. in saying all that, you have to understand thatowning and running your own biz is not all rainbows and butterflies all the time ( if it was that easy, everyone would do it) so here a few things that I have learnt along the way :
YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE ISN'T EVERYONE.
Not even Kmart has something for everyone. And sure—it’s easy to think that your product or service has widespread appeal (who wouldn’t want what you have to offer, right?). Skip the selling and attempts to convert. Find the people who will love what you do (and all the things you don’t do). Preach to the converted and they’ll share your brand with more people just like them.
WHAT YOU DO ISN'T SPECIAL ( EVEN THOUGH WE FEEL IN OUR HEARTS AND SOULS THAT IT IS).
There are roughly a gazillion other people in this world who do what you do. What you do isn’t the magic.
The real magic comes from a combination of why you do it, for whom you do it, and how you do it.
What + Who + Why + How = AWESOME.
VALUE LASTS. INVEST IN IT.
Let me ask you something: How many “things” have you replaced since starting your business? Odds are, they’re the things you scrimped on in the name of "now." Remind yourself of that the next time you’re tempted by a cheap solution and go for value—what’s best, what will last, and what’s best for your business and customers. Cheap and a great value sometimes happens, but it’s rare.
YOU CAN'T DO EVERYTHING.
You’re awesome. You’re talented. You’re motivated and the reason this whole business thing gets done each day. But you can’t do everything. And like me, I know you’ve tried. We’re small-business owners, a brand of superheroes of our own class. But when you do everything for so long, you’re bound to break. Ask for help. Take the break.
SUCCESS DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.
If you hear otherwise, it's a lie. Success comes from an artful combination of humility, tenacity, failure, and opportunity. None of those things happen overnight—despite what some may say.
Countless early mornings, late nights, tears and fears have and continue to fuel my passion for this little business I started out of a small room in my home almost 4 years ago. I love to create beautiful pieces that can be treasured for years.
I found that the love of personalised jewellery did not just lie with me but with many women and men I met and continue to meet every day.
The majority of the V and Me Custom Designs collection is hand made to order. This means that each piece is unique and made especially for you. With the choice of dates, names, initials or a message that is special
to you, you are sure to stand out with your custom piece. It truly is the most beautiful way to have your loved ones with you always.
If you have an idea, please believe in yourself enough to make it happen.
You can do it.
It doesn't matter what others say.
Its not their dream, their idea or their plan for their life.
IT IS YOURS AND YOURS ONLY.
Keep safe , well and happy, always.
V and Me Custom Designs
Find me on Instragram
Shop now www.vandmecustomdesign.com