JemS Jewellery, Birkdale - Lancashire Business Profile
Two Birkdale mums went in search of jewellery and found the perfect formula for a happy family life and a successful career. Emma Spedding reports<br/>Photography by Kirsty Thompson
Millions of mums know the feeling. They want the family to come first, but they still yearn for a life - something that stretches their creative talents and gives them an escape from the domestic routine.
It’s hard to square the circle but two Lancashire women came up with a gem of an idea, which has turned a hobby into a growing business.Jane Owen and Susie Butler met at an ante-natal group when they were both expecting their first children. Thirteen years and another four children later, they are now running JemS, a contemporary jewellery business from their homes in Birkdale.
Jane, a former teacher and department head, says: ‘We were both aware that it was difficult to find beautiful, contemporary jewellery at affordable prices.’
Susie, who travelled the world working on cruise ships and had a career in sales, adds: ‘We wanted to buy stunning creations in beautiful colours made from semi-precious stones that would last. What we found was either fashionable and plastic or dated and expensive.’
Despite having no experience, they decided to design and make their own and in 2007 their company, JemS, was born. They sold pieces at parties around Birkdale and the brand began to take off as word spread.
‘Susie and I have designed a range of jewellery including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and phone and bag charms,’ says Jane.
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‘We also have children’s range called Little JemS. Our jewellery is put together using sterling silver beads and pendants with semi-precious stones from India and the Far East together with Swarovski crystals. We have a range of pieces in silver and gold plate, too.’
They are still selling jewellery at parties, but boutiques are now starting to stock their range which can also be seen on their website, www.jemsjems.com.
‘We both have three children and husbands with busy jobs but we wanted to do something that also allowed us to always be there for the family. The starting point was the family comes first and this has worked out perfectly for us,’ says Jane. Both continue to work from their homes and when big orders arrive, it means they are on hand to work after the children are in bed.
However, there is more to JemS than simply selling nice jewellery.
The company name starts and finished with the initials of their first names and the ‘em’ stands for ‘ethically made’.
No surprise then, that both are anxious to ensure production, transportation and distribution of their products don’t contribute to the exploitation of people or the environment.
Their pieces are Fair Trade and use materials from inspected and regulated factories. Many are composed of silver beads and pendants from northern Thailand through the Karen Hilltribe Trust, which helps to create a better future for native people.
Closer to home, they are helping the ‘Imagine Appeal’ which supports pioneering work at Alder Hay Children’s Hospital. They have raised hundreds of pounds by raffling a bracelet at each of their jewellery parties. ‘We are passionate about sharing some of our success,’ says Jane.’