When did you set up your business and why?

Tullow - a lovely little town on the banks of the River Slaney - is where I set up my jewellery-making business 12 years ago when I was expecting my second child.

I had been admiring and buying these amazing, colourful and intricate design earrings from an artist abroad and I kept thinking I'd like to learn to do it myself.

The sense of something very special, skillfully crafted and personal deeply resonated with me.

When attempts to attend any workshop failed, I said “I can do it myself” and started learning from online forums, books and YouTube.

I loved the idea of being able to express myself through colours, shapes and unusual designs that would bring you to others.

Can you explain your process?

Every bead starts with a block of polymer clay and every time I start to condition the clay, I feel joy and desire to reach for new ideas.

Sometimes there is a sketch before, sometimes I experiment and a new design comes about. I decide which technique to use and what finish on the bead would work best.

I work with oven-hardenable modelling clay and when the bead is out of the oven, it goes through various grits of sanding, buffing or glazing.

The final step is to assemble the pieces before they reach the website, my stockists, pop-up shops at art festivals or craft fairs such as those at the Butler Gallery and Glucksman Gallery before Christmas.

What is your best seller?

I make a variety of earring designs, but my all-time best sellers are curved petal earrings. They are so pretty to look at, joyful and swing nicely on the safety earwire, perfect for everyday wear. A nod to nature.

The petal earrings are Liga Valge's best sellers.

What is it about your business that brings you joy?

It is important to do something that brings joy and that uplifting sense of satisfaction.

For me, it is working with my hands, colours, exploring new ideas and sharing my knowledge through workshops, meeting people and getting feedback.

What are your hopes for the next year?

Back during the lockdown, I introduced a jewellery-making kit for adults, teenagers or parent-and-child activity and now I'm planning my next step.

During lockdown, Liga Valge developed a jewellery-making kit.

My big hope is to offer online workshops for beginners. Polymer clay is a fun, highly versatile medium, which is perfect for beginners.

What advice would you give to another start-up business?

Surround yourself with like-minded people: be in the environment that supports your progress.

Your local enterprise office should be a good point of connection, they often have various courses and grants.

Check out opportunities with the Design and Craft Council of Ireland and attend relevant networking events.

Have a plan, be focused and eliminate distractions. Good luck!

Visit www.valgstudio.com.

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