When did you set up your business and why?

Made with Love by Jo began in February 2021. I had come across polymer clay jewellery on Instagram and then watched some YouTube videos to learn the process of how to make it.

I ordered some materials online and decided to give it a go.

When I was young, I loved drawing and making crafts. As well as being creative, I was always very academic too and as I entered secondary school, I spent my evenings studying and had little to no time for art.

Now that my academic studies are finished, my evenings are free and I love making jewellery as a way to relax and unwind after work.

I majored in pharmacology at university and now work full-time in the area of clinical trials.

I love having a creative outlet that is completely different to my office job.

Can you explain your process?

My jewellery is made using polymer clay. Polymer clay is a lightweight, durable material that is available in many colours.

First, the polymer clay is conditioned and the different colour clays are mixed together. I often mix gold leaf or silver leaf through the clay as it produces a wonderful result.

Jo makes polymer clay jewellery.

The clay is cut with silver or plastic cutters (almost like cookie cutters) into the desired shapes. The clay is baked in the oven for half an hour at 130 degrees Celsius.

When baked, I allow the clay to cool. Once cooled, I sand the jewellery edges using sandpaper. Then I use two small pliers to attach the hooks and findings, or superglue to glue on the earring backs. The hooks and earring posts I use are hypoallergenic (nickel-free).

If using glue, I allow it to dry for 24 hours to ensure the earring backs are glued on correctly. I often use a matte-finish sealant to glaze and protect the jewellery.

What is your best seller?

My black 'Full Moon' earrings are probably my best seller. The gold foil and silver foil contrasts well with the black and is very striking.

The black 'Full Moon' earrings will match any outfit too and they look very elegant. My jewellery is suitable for everyday wear or special occasions.

What is it about your business that brings you joy?

Trying out new clay colours and experimenting with new designs brings me joy. I love having a creative outlet that allows me to use my imagination and keep me busy.

There are so many aspects to running a small business - making the products, taking photos of them for social media, editing my website, getting ready for markets… there are so many tasks involved, which I love.

I love to see customers admire my handmade jewellery at markets and it is rewarding knowing that this hobby that brings me joy also brings joy to others.

What are your hopes for 2022?

I hope to attend more markets and to meet more creatives and small business owners in the coming months.

Since moving to Dublin last October, I have taken part in many markets and it is lovely to meet others with similar interests.

It would also be great to find another stockist for my jewellery! I hope to continue to grow my jewellery collections and to come up with more great design ideas.

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

Consistency is key. Having passion for your new business idea is also really important. It can be easy to give up in the beginning months when you aren’t making many sales or doing as well as you’d hoped.

I didn’t make many sales in my first few months, but it didn’t stop me doing what I loved. I stuck with it and I am amazed with how much my small business has grown in a year and a half.

I now have six stockists nationwide. Two years ago, I had never even made jewellery.

For more information about Made with Love by Jo polymer clay jewellery, check out www.madewithlovebyjo.com or Instagram @madewithlovebyjo_