Hampshire jeweller Karen Taylor and the story behind her business

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor - Credit: Archant

What started out as a way to make money in her teens, has now become a fully-fledged creative business for local jeweller Karen Taylor

Name: Karen Taylor

Business name: Precious Handmade Jewellery

Length of time in business: 5 years

Number of employees: 3

Ethos: To make and sell original, one off pieces of jewellery

Location: The Trading Post, Port Solent, PO6 4TP

Contact: 07979597471 www.preciousjewellerybykaren.co.ukKaren’s passion for jewellery was first ignited at the age of 17 when she and a friend went to a seminar for a silver jewellery party-plan company. Both working in the accounts office at Debenhams at the time, they saw the opportunity to earn some extra cash and grabbed it with both hands. She remembers: “During this time I was made aware of a few jewellery wholesalers and proceeded to purchase a selection of jewellery at trade price. I then went on to buy and sell the jewellery myself to individuals.”

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After spending the rest of her working life as a beauty therapist, Karen didn’t return to her original passion until 2004, when her and her husband moved to Spain. She and a friend made the decision to open a boutique and, not wanting to sell the same designs as the local markets and beach traders, Karen thought she would have a go at making her own pieces of jewellery. She explains: “When my first batch of silver findings arrived along with some semi-precious beads and Swarovski crystals, I opened the packs and just stared at them; I had no idea where to start.”

It wasn’t long before she became hooked and after taking some classes in Silver Clay and stone setting, she then moved on to teaching herself to make glass beads.

After several years of making and selling her own jewellery and beads, Karen decided to make use of a previous teaching certificate and began to put on workshops to pass on her craft. After the recession hit, Karen moved back to the UK and continued to teach at home, as well as selling her creations online.

It was by chance that she met Samantha Golden from Port Solent Management after attending a craft market there and heard about a project that was underway called The Trading Post, whereby independent traders could hire areas of a shopping mall in Port Solent. She leapt at the chance and is now able to sell and make her designs in what she describes as “the most beautiful surroundings.”

Inspirations for her pieces come mostly from books and magazines; but her love of flowers also often makes an appearance in her bead work, which she finds very therapeutic.

To watch Karen at work and to shop her one-off designs you can visit her at The Trading Post Monday to Sunday.