Poppy Sparkles - putting a twist on jewellery in Thornton

We meet the Thornton mum-preneur who is putting a twist on traditional charm jewellery. Amanda Griffiths reports Photography by Kirsty Thompson

The print version of this article appeared in the August 2011 issue of Lancashire Life 

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It’s all thanks to Viv Smith’s sensible mum. Like many parents, she was under pressure to let the teenager have her ears pierced but mother knew best and the youngster was forced to keep up with her pals by making her own trendy clip-on earrings.

Now the mum-of-two, taking a break from her full-time career as a teacher, has launched her own brand of mix and match special occasion charm jewellery, Poppy Sparkles.

‘The idea was to create something a little bit different but with longevity,’ says 31-year-old Viv from Thornton. ‘It’s special jewellery to keep and wear for a long time.’

The Peace Collection for example  which is a range designed specifically for christenings, baptisms and first communions, featuring Christian signs and symbols including angels, doves and crosses launched at the beginning of the summer.

‘As a mum I know how lovely it is to receive quality keepsake gifts for your child’s christening. I wanted to create pieces that were wearable and had long-lasting appeal. It’s jewellery that will be treasured for many years.’

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As the child gets older, they can put the charms on a longer necklace. ‘I’ve got christening bracelets that I can barely get on my fingers now let alone my wrist,’ she laughs. ‘Because the charms can be removed easily, it also means they can be mixed and matched, providing other design options.’

As well as being unique, the pieces in the Poppy Sparkles collection are affordable, with prices for earrings starting from �18 and necklaces from �28.

Viv launched her business, named after her daughter, just over a year ago, starting out by selling on boutique websites before launching her own which she designed and created herself, earlier this year, winning a Bronze website award for it from Mumpreneur UK.

‘Initially I started making pretty jewellery for bridal and special occasions but I also had a little girls’ range, the Miss Poppy Collection, using birthstones.

‘I had a bespoke request for a necklace from one mum for her two daughters that got me thinking and I launched my range of Mummy Necklaces which use Swarovski birthstone crystals either side of a large heart.

I’ve also expanded that range to include stars instead of hearts. She’s also branched out from jewellery, creating ribbon corsages perfect for adding colour to a coat, cardi or clutch and ribbon corsages on hair ties for little girls.

The hard work Viv put into researching the business, as well as marketing and packaging, not to mention sourcing the components while looking after two children under the age of three, really began to pay off at Christmas.

‘I think people realised it wasn’t another little hobby business, that I was sticking around and going the distance - plus I was offering something a little bit different.’

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