Based on the picturesque south coast, Chloe Menage is busy balancing her jewellery business with her full time job as a social media strategist. With classes to teach, clients to meet and weekends crammed full of designs and craft fairs, we were lucky that Chloe spared 5 minutes to give us some tips on how to plan your days when working two roles.
What is your day job like?
I work full time for a digital marketing agency in Portsmouth. My work days are very busy! I look after social media accounts for a variety of clients, as well as providing social media marketing strategies. It’s a varied role and can be pretty demanding at times. I usually get home around 6.30pm.
When did you become interested in making jewellery?
I discovered beading whilst in my third year at university, I was home visiting my family and my Mum had come across some Native American looms and a great book. I borrowed them and the rest is history! Learning to stitch beads was a great distraction in my final year, as it was something to unwind with right at the end of the day, that was creative and completely different to my studies.
How did you turn your love of jewellery into a business?
Whilst working at The Bead Shop in Nottingham I got to know a lot of my customers who ran their own small jewellery businesses - it was very inspiring! I started out small, selling bits and pieces at craft fairs. Selling was a great outlet as I was making more jewellery than I could possibly wear.
When I left the shop to become the editor of Bead & Jewellery magazine I still did the occasional craft fair, but I began to be asked to teach classes of my own, sharing my passion and knowledge with others. This has gradually developed and now teaching classes, writing tutorials for magazines and selling my own tutorials has become the centre of my business. I also make wedding commissions and show my work at the odd art fair or exhibition.
I first started Pinkhot in 2009 and it’s been exciting to see it grow and develop over this time.
How do you balance your time between being committed to two roles?
It can be a real juggling act, especially when I have demanding deadlines in my full time work, as ultimately it pays the bills and must come first! I try to stagger my Pinkhot deadlines and commitments where possible so that I don’t take on too much at once. It can be hard to say no to opportunities but I try to limit my classes to one a month and space these out with magazine projects and other Pinkhot commitments.
I try to do one thing a day for my business - whether it’s just responding to an email, posting on social media or updating my website. Weekends are dedicated to teaching, writing patterns, drawing diagrams. I do my actual beading in the evening in front of the TV. I try to keep organised but when deadlines creep up it does mean the occasional late night stitching samples and tweaking diagrams.
The thing I find hard sometimes is juggling the two roles, with life stuff like housework, and still doing fun stuff like seeing friends and family. Sometimes I find I need to step back and either push back on deadlines or scale back what I’d doing. When you have already committed to a deadline this can be hard, and sometimes no matter how organised you try to be you do end up with everything coming along at once. It’s important to be organised, keep lists and ask for help when you need it.
How do you promote and grow your jewellery business?
I rely heavily on social media marketing and networking. There is a thriving online community of beaders and jewellery makers, and being an active part of this is important, both for promoting myself, but also for immersing myself in the hobby I love! I focus on Facebook and Instagram, as these are where my audience spend their time and try to post or engage every day.
My classes have a dual purpose - as well as bring an income, they are also an important marketing tool, as really this is a great opportunity to meet new customers, get to know people and encourage people to get to know me and my brand. Attending shows or events are great for meeting up with beading friends, and also for showing off your latest designs - making sure you have business cards on you and wearing your own work is an essential!
My website is important for me, and I try to keep this regularly updated with new classes, patterns and blog updates. I’d like to have more time for it really! I also send semi-regular e-newsletters and take part in Open Studios most years.
What has been a favourite jewellery project or item of yours?
My peacock pendant (above)has been a popular class this year and become one of my favourite designs - it’s just so sparkly! I also adore my Sari Pendant (below) as it has a special place in my heart, reminding me of a wonderful holiday in India.
What advice would you give to fellow full-time workers pursuing a dual career?
I’d say be on the lookout for new opportunities, but don’t be afraid to say no. Pacing yourself is essential - it’s important to set aside time for yourself and non-work related fun too! Keeping a work-work-life balance is tricky but very important. My top tips are:
- Do one thing for your business every day even if it’s small.
- Have goals and be realistic.
- Set aside time for you.
Get your weekend saving when you work this weekend. Save 15% when you shop product packs and sets – until Sunday. Visit www.printed.com/m/weekend-workers-promotion and shop now.
Visit www.pinkhot.co.uk to check out Chloe and her amazing designs.