Small Business Saturday UK: Saloukee

In honour of Small Business Saturday this weekend, we have been speaking to our producers about their unique small businesses, and what being a small business owner means to them. Here we have Sarah Shakespeare of Saloukee Jewellery: 

How long have you been running your business?


I’m in my 9th official year, so will be celebrating the big 10 next year. 


How did Saloukee start?


After graduating from my degree in Jewellery & Silversmithing I went about getting some 'real-life' experience in the fashion industry. I spent time working in Amsterdam, Paris and London, doing unpaid internships and working many very unglamourous jobs along the way to fund them. Then in 2008, I set up alone, founding Saloukee in a shared workshop in Birmingham’s historic jewellery quarter.


Describe Saloukee for us?


We design and make, unique handmade jewellery and pride ourselves on making items

that are a little unconventional, unusually oversized and brilliantly British. Our designer jewellery collections have been shipped worldwide and stocked in renowned stores such as the National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House and Anthropologie U.S. They have also been included in features from magazines such as Elle U.K and Italy, Sunday Times Style, Cosmopolitan, Company and Marie Claire. The jewellery itself is inspired by the exploration of tactile materials, giving the otherwise forgotten, a fresh identity and distinct style. Our pieces effortlessly take customers from season to season, passing on our need for discovery, escape and inspiration to other like-minded and adventurous souls.


What are the challenges in running a small business?


There’s never enough of me to go around! It’s difficult to juggle the stuff that really needs to be done and the stuff I really want to do. I try to give myself a bit of both every day to ensure I can continue enjoying what I do.


With all that you have achieved so far in your business, what are you most proud of?


When I set up my business in 2008, I set out on my one-woman mission to change—in my own little way—preconceptions of what jewellery should or could be made from. Along the way, I’ve written a book on the subject, undertaken workshops with people, aged from five to seventy-five, and even lectured designers of the future on the subject. In all those years, it was just last year, 8 years in that I will saw the medium of paper in jewellery, being ‘accepted’ and sold in one of the world’s most stylish lifestyle stores, Anthropologie.


What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting up their own business?


Learn to take criticism and not be offended, learn to laugh when you want to cry, surround yourself with positive people, take time for yourself, be passionate and open to new inspiration, love your friends and family more than ever…they will be the ones to help you through when times are tough. It's definitely not easy, but if you can do what you love, it'll be worth the sleepless nights!


What are your plans for your business in the future?


I have dreams of extending my product lines into more lifestyle based items, I’d also love to work in collaboration with other designers on larger scale design.


Do you have a favourite/best-selling product/design?


I would say I have a favourite collection, it’s my Lost & Found collection. Which was inspired on a short break to Denmark. What began as a mission in finding the time to just ‘be’ evolved into an urge to capture that very moment of freedom in time. That holiday, I realised that creativity is at its most perfect for me, when I’m rediscovering escape and adventure and my Lost & Found collection really captures that for me. 
In all my collections, I try to find ways to transform the ordinary and everyday, creating sentiment with the unconventional. I also undertake commissions from clients who would like their own stones/pebbles/beach glass set in a piece of jewellery. The perfect way to retain a memory, create a keepsake and remember that moment forever.  

With Christmas just around the corner, what do you have in the Saloukee collection that makes a perfect gift?   
It would have to be my new self-care boxes. It’s the perfect gift for busy ladies out there deserving of some more time for relaxation. 

A box which can be ordered online and delivered to your door containing everything you need for an infinitely indulgent, definitely grown up, girl’s night in   ·       
A personalised host’s welcome card with top tips on what to expect from the evening and how best to prepare in advance. ·      
A set of no fuss, wintry recipe cards including instructions for a warming drink, a comforting main and an indulgent dessert. ·       
Jewellery kits, including all materials for each guest to make a necklace, (necklace R.R.P. £65) an instruction booklet and a necklace storage bag. ·       
A privately accessible online necklace making help video. ·      
Tips for all guests on how to bring hygge to their day-to-day. ·       
A recommended calming playlist of soothing tunes to set a laid-back mood. ·       
All contained in a reusable Saloukee Home cotton shopper bag.