I am so delighted to publish this interview with talented jewellery maker – Christina Lowry on my blog. It’s my fist interview with a fellow maker out of many I have planned and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did. I love getting to know more about the creative business owners that I admire, I hope you will too!
Christina’s replies are full of great advice and an insight into a life of a creative mum and business owner. Happy reading!
In a few sentences, please tell us about Christina Lowry Designs and your family:
Christina Lowry Designs offers original fine jewellery, designed and made in Brisbane, Australia, with a focus on stylishly simplicity, traditional craftsmanship and unusual techniques. I work in my home workshop, around the demands of being a wife and Mama to three children. My little ones are seven, four and almost two. While my eldest is at school, my younger two are home with me.
How long have you been running your business and what does it mean to you to be a creative mum?
After completing my fine arts degree I worked in the jewellery industry for several years before I founded my own business in 2013. I took a gamble and applied for the Brisbane Finders Keepers market before I felt I was really ready. It gave me a deadline to get my business ready. My first market was such a great success that I earned the capital I needed to invest in growing the business further. I attended the next market while I was pregnant with my third child, and then the next market with a six week old baby! The business has continued to grow and I’m lucky now to have the help of a photographer, a graphic designer, a business manager and an intern, so as to allow me more time at the bench and doing the things I need to do in the business.
Becoming a Mother allowed me the opportunity to create my business, and being creative allows me to be the best Mother I can be. Part of nurturing myself means taking the time to work with my hands, sketch, create and seek inspiration, whether it be jewellery, knitting, or visiting an art gallery. Without that space for creativity I am a much less calm as a Mother. Creative problem solving is a big part of mothering three children too. And sharing a love of creativity, exploration and curiosity with my children is one of the great joys of Motherhood.
Do you work everyday or do you set “family” days when work is not allowed?
Yes and no! As a rule I don’t work at the bench on a Sunday – but come Christmas, or if I have a large wholesale order, sometimes I have to. As a stay at home Mother I squeeze in work where I can. My father in law comes once a week to mind my little two while I work at the bench with my beautiful intern Jenny, but otherwise I use no other childcare and my husband works six days a week. Which means home and business tend to blend in to each other, with my family coming first. I walk my son to and from school everyday, two mornings a week are dedicated to story and craft time at the library, and exploring parks, galleries etc. with my other two. And Sunday’s are definitely family days – though I might catch up on blogging or emails once the kids are in bed.
What is your best advice to creative mums with a baby (or two)?
Do two things for your business everyday. Even if you only have small pockets of time throughout the day, those two things each day will add up to twenty eight things a week. Focus on marketing and something for the future. So that might look like posting to Instagram or sending a newsletter, and then working on designs for a new collection, or researching printing costs. Keep a list with all the things that need doing and chip away at them. Cross them off with satisfaction! Focus on what you have achieved each day rather than what you haven’t.
You have a beautiful Instagram feed, do you have any tips for creating an attractive and strong presence on Instagram?
Thank you! Instagram is such a great way to share visual content and beautiful images and consistency are key. When I first started I had no plan about what I was posting, I just posted what I liked when I liked and it was a bit of a jumble. I was scared to post too many jewellery photos, in case people unfollowed me. Then I realised that they were following me because they wanted to see my jewellery, and anyone that unfollowed was not the client I was looking for anyway. I started thinking of how my gallery hung together (eg. not putting two black and white photos next to each other) and what it was saying about my brand. So I began to experiment with interesting, beautiful ways to share my pieces and my work process – like flat lays, photo shoots, model shots, workshop shots and progress shots. I really love this part of my business – it is so much fun! I think you need to be really fussy about what you post. People have much higher expectations of their visual content these days. Blurry and badly lit shots aren’t going to cut it, so don’t post them in your feed. Only share your best pictures. Usually once a week I do a little photo shoot on my kitchen table with jewellery, props and flowers I have gathered. I edit them all at once and then I have an album of images to choose from through out the week, I’m not scrambling everyday to take a photo. I post twice a day, morning and night, (with only the occasional photo of my children. 🙂 My other advice is to keep in mind each time you post that the viewer might be seeing you for the first time, or the hundredth time. Try and tell your story over and over again in new and interesting ways, so as not to bore your long term supporters, but so as to introduce yourself to new viewers too.