Niamh Hanrahan from Niamh.Co
Let’s start with your story - how did you get started? What made you decide to start making jewelry?
Hello! my name is Niamh (pronounced Neev) and I moved from Ireland to San Francisco in 2010. Several years ago I started taking pottery classes in the city college. It was here that I fell in love with playing with clay and I wanted to create wearable art. I bought a small electric kiln and began testing out small batches of earrings from porcelain. I then developed my porcelain jewelry line Niamh.Co.
Who or what inspires you?
I love drawing inspiration from different creative avenues. Architecture and interior design always inspires me. Living in San Francisco, I am pretty lucky to be surrounded by beautiful buildings and amazingly designed restaurants, bars and homes. The colors and shapes inspire me.
What do you love about being a small business owner?
The ability to come up with an idea and having the control to implement your own ideas. I can pretty much do what I want. Being able to say that something was my idea, and seeing the results of my work is pretty satisfying.
On the flip side, what do you NOT like about being a small business owner? What struggles have you had to overcome?
Running the business side of the jewelry line is not my strongest skill. I could spend all day creating the pieces but when it comes to the logistics of actually selling the pieces it is more of an effort for me. I am getting more proficient as time goes by but it’s a massive learning curve. Photography, marketing, packaging and customer service are all aspects that I didn't think of when I started, but I'm learning as I go.
What sets you apart from the competition? What's your ‘thing’?
Ceramic Jewelry is not something that you see a lot of. It is out there but often people associate it with being heavy and old fashioned. My aim is to create a more contemporary line. People are always surprised at how light the pieces are. I use a 22k gold luster on most of my work. The luster is real gold dissolved in an oil, when the oil burns off in the kiln, a deposit of pure gold is left behind.
Aside from making jewelry, what are you passionate about? Any other hobbies?
I'm trying to get into photography at the moment. I have bought a pretty nice DSLR so I'm getting to grips with learning the skills there. It helps with the product photographs (which I do myself) .
The real Q, what are you doing to stay sane during this weird time?
Making jewelry! Honestly, I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have this during the quarantine. I am so lucky that I have a home studio. I’m trying to use this time as an opportunity to experiment and try out new ideas. Not all of the new ideas work out but I’m trying to go easy on myself and put it down to research!
So, what's next? How would you like to see your brand grow?
I am still a relatively new business. I have been making and selling my pieces for only about two years so I am still learning the in's and out's of both creating and selling my work. Before the pandemic, I focused more on selling in person. Now I'm trying to improve my online sales skills and build a bigger online presence. My goal is to grow the brand through these online platforms and streamline my workflow process.
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