Today my interview is with British jewelry designer – Louise Mills. Louise is my good friend and is kindly sharing her story with us today. Now based in Southern Spain, Louise creates the most stunning keepsake jewelry. Here she is in her own words..
Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Where are you from, where are you based now? Do you work from home or have a studio?
Hello! My name is Louise and I am a stay at home mum and jewelry designer. I live in Estepona in Spain with my husband Ricardo and 4 children; Daniel, Adam, Millie and Sofia. I am originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, England but moved to Spain almost 8 years ago. Moving to Spain was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love it here; the lifestyle, the climate, the people and of course, the delicious food!
I am lucky enough to work from home where I have a small ‘workshop’. This works great for me as it means I am always on hand for the children and can work around mummy duties etc.
Have you always been creative? Are you from a creative family?
I didn’t discover my creative side until I became a mum. I found I was in my element helping the children with school projects, designing and making fancy dress costumes and not forgetting all of the Easter egg competitions I (oops sorry, no! I mean my children) won.
I have however always been creative in the home and absolutely love interior design. I could spend all my days wandering around ‘homey’ shops and show homes, just admiring them. If I hadn’t chosen to be a stay at home mum, I would have definitely pursued a career in interior design.
I don’t come from a particularly creative family although my brother can turn his hand to any trade and has designed and worked on the most beautiful house for his family.
When did you first get into jewelry design?
Lubella Prints was founded in 2013. I was inspired to learn how to create the jewelry after the birth of my 4th child. My friend initially introduced me to it and I fell in love with it instantly. It was one of the most beautiful keepsakes I had seen. It’s not just jewelry, it is a memory that will last forever.
When did you recognize that you would pursue this path? Do you work in other fields creatively?
It is only recently that I decided to make Lubella Prints a business rather than a hobby and something I made for friends and family. My youngest child is now in school and I have a little more time to spend on making a business of it. It is still early days and I have a lot of work to do but I’m enjoying the challenge and I’m enjoying this new venture. I have always had a Facebook page and recently made an advertising campaign. The response was phenomenal and received a huge amount of inquiries. This was another trigger point for me to try and make a business from it.
Another thing I enjoy doing is restoring old furniture. This is purely a hobby and I love seeing the transformation. Much to the embarrassment of my children, I have been known to ‘save’ pieces from bins that people have thrown out.
Where did you learn your skills and how have they helped you in your current business? Would you consider further learning?
I initially took an online course with a very reputable company in the UK. They supplied starter kits and I invested in a kiln. I have constant online support from a fantastic team and I am part of a support group of other people working in this field where we share hints and tips to help each other. I think in this field you are constantly learning and a lot of this comes from practice, trial and error.
With so many artists now designing jewelry, how do you stand out from the crowd?
To be honest there isn’t a crowd to stand out from here in Spain. After researching hand and footprint jewelry I found I was only 1 or 2 people here on the Costa del Sol who done this type of work. This is another reason I decided to make a business from it. In the UK there are a huge amount of people making hand and footprint jewelry and there are countless web sites and Facebook pages.
Every customer is important to me and I know how personal and special each and every piece of jewelry is to them. Each piece is unique and has to be made with love and attention and that personal touch. After each piece is finished I have to ask myself if I would be happy to receive such a gift.
Can you share your workflow with us? How do you go about designing a piece, without giving all the details? I know you want to one day teach this online.
Clients are usually pretty clear about what they want so designing each piece is down to each individual´s requirements. In theory it sounds quite simple to put these beautiful pieces together but it actually takes a lot of patience, practice, skill and training.
The silver I use is silver clay. The prints are scanned into my computer and after I have worked on them to remove any smudges caused when taking the prints, a negative is made. From that negative I then make a stamp which is used to make the impression in the clay. The clay is then dried, sanded, fired, finished and polished.
Do you have a project that you’re particularly proud of?
There are 2 projects I am particularly proud of. The first is 2 key-rings I made for my sister and brother. We lost our dad at a very young age and I found a letter that he had wrote to my mum over 30 years ago. In that letter he had wrote each of our names at the bottom with kisses. I scanned the letter and made a stamp of his writing of their names and stamped it into the silver. They were overwhelmed by the key-rings and carry a memory of our dad everywhere they go.
The second project is a pendant made for the daughter of our very own Zara Martina. The prints of Zara’s grandson were taken within hours of his birth making them the youngest prints I have ever worked with. All of the prints I work with are special but to have prints just hours old are a one-off. I now have packs put together and I’m encouraging potential customers to take them in their hospital bags. Whether they decide to have a piece of jewelry made or just to simply have the prints taken on the day of their child’s birth is up to them. Either way I think it is a super keepsake.
How do you sell your work, do you have an online store or physical outlet? Where can we find you?
Most of my work currently comes from Facebook or simply by word of mouth. My website will hopefully be up and running soon so that should generate extra business.
What are your plans for the future of your business?
My immediate plans are to get my website up and running so a lot of my time is taken up by that at the minute. In the future I would love to attend a silversmithing course and create a much wider range of jewelry. My dream would be to own my own shop.
Thanks so much to Louise for this insight into her business and if you’re interested in having something special made up yourself, Louise offers worldwide delivery. The quality of her pendants are excellent! Follow Louise on her social media and check out some of her beautiful work.
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