Hello again, hipsters & fashionistas! It's been another week since my last Too Sweet For Rock n' Roll feature, spotlighting Kitsch Kaos Designs, and so on today's Too Sweet for Rock n' Roll I'll be spotlighting another offbeat crafts & businesswoman and her online shop, in yet another spectrum of the alternative scene. Her works range from the darling retro to fun 80's colour blasts and everything in between, even providing costumers with the oportunity, to have bespoke, one-off, custom made pieces to their liking - either you're an trendy fashionista, a upbeat hipster or a golden days loving gal you can't go wrong with this irresistible one stop accessory shop. Curious? Read on!
You created Temporary:Secretary as a handmade accessories line, a concept and an online business. Would you please share a bit about its birth and growth?
During my time at university whilst I was studying Fashion Marketing, I was an intern for Heidi Seeker in 2007 and I loved it so much that I missed making sparkly things when my internship ended. I had a great experience working there and I appreciate it so much. I started to making jewellery for friends and family for birthdays and christmas and also I sold some bits and pieces on ebay but this was not ideal because of the increase of fees so I looked in to other options. Temporary:Secretary (www.temporary-secretary.com) has been growing from strength to strength since it began in the spring of 2008. It was a rocky start as I rushed the web launch and then made some wrong business decisions. After I graduated in summer 2009, I took it on full time and that takes us to present day and I am proud of Temporary:Secretary and what I have achieved so far. My aim is to offer jewellery and accessories that mean something to someone but will also be fashionable at the same time. Everything on Temporary:Secretary is cute, unique and individual yet affordable. We can also produce one-off custom pieces upon request for an affordable price, so you can own something that no one else has got without a premium designer price tag.
What does owning, managing and representing your own handmade jewellery business consist on?
On a daily basis, I spend most mornings waiting for the postman! Depending on what deliveries I get, new products get made and then I photograph them edit the images or re-stock and update the website. I manage the website, update it so that all the graphics and images and information is up to date. I make the products and pack everything so that when the customer recieves the parcel, they are impressed with everything. I'm only happy when my customers are happy! I try to reply to emails within 2 days so I go through the inbox a lot on a daily basis and make sure that queries are answered. Maintaining a good customer service is really important and no email goes unanswered. Working on my own on an ever growing business is hard work and a lot of self motivation is needed, I work 7 days a week, literally day and night. I work every weekend but as I don't pack any orders at the weekend, I use my time elsewhere and aim to add new products to the website every weekend. I can never switch off from it!
How do you feel about the handicrafts business today, regarding the growth of the internet?
It is nice to see that a lot of people have embraced crafts and champion the small businesses but it is obviously becomes increasingly difficult as it's now easier than ever to trade through all the affordable and accessible outlets (ebay, etsy, bigcartel, folksy etc). There's a lot of great stuff out there and I am really impressed. It's always much nicer to buy something from an independent shop than high street.
Name your top five aestethic influences/idols and tell us why.
She's amazing, I have a girl crush on her. I want to be her! She's so cool and seems to be a kind of "less is more" sort of girl. I'm a dressaholic and have a lot of vintage-style dresses like Zooey's style in 500 Days of Summer, I've got about 40 - 45 dresses - but there's never a chance to wear them. It's only just become a lot warmer in England but I am in a huge wooly jumper most months of the year!
An edgier version of Zooey Deschanel. She looks like such a confident woman. I'm envious (but mainly inspired) by that.
I loooved The Hills back in the day when it was mainly about Lauren working at Teen Vogue. I know that it's a show that's probably scripted, but it was great to see what fashion magazine interns do. She has a great sense of style too. I have a very feminine style and I think that you can probably tell from knowing who my style influences are!
My true inspiration in everything I do. She's has always been a very strong influence. I remember when I was little, I loved all her clothes, shoes and handbags. I wish I could show you some of the dresses she owned, lots of lovely treasures from the 60's, 70's and 80's. She also dressed me in some wonderful outfits when I was little, to which I am grateful for if only for the photographs that we now have can to look back on and laugh at. My looks as a toddler including a white fur coat which made me look like a polar bear!
Please share a picture of your daily glamour/everyday wear and describe it!
Please share a picture of your daily glamour/everyday wear and describe it!
These days, I don't have a set style. I used to love very pretty dresses with floral prints on them, I have so many, but because I am so small (5ft1, size 8) I look more like a 15 year old when I dress like that when I am actually 25, almost 26! It is quite embarassing when I still get ID'd at clubs and pubs. I can't pull it off like Zooey Deschanel and Daisy Lowe. I find myself wearing black a lot these days only because it makes me look a little bit older!
What do you fancy the most about being Miss Temporary:Secretary?
I love that I am creating items which people will keep forever. My products have been purchased as a wedding gift, an anniversary gift, birthday present etc, and I know that when jewellery has been bought by a friend or a loved one, it's a piece you will cherish forever. I don't like to disappoint anyone so I always try my best to meet requests and it is so satisfying when someone tells me they are happy with their shopping experience at www.temporary-secretary.com and it keeps me going! Of course, I get bad emails too. It isn't a smooth ride, but I see it as a good thing when someone gives me bad feedback. I accept it as constructive criticism and I use the information to better the business. It's all about the learning curve in being self employed. I've built this up all on my own with no help and there's no one to turn to for help when someone goes wrong. However, when something goes to plan, it's a great feeling knowing that I achieved it myself. It's going to be really great, though, when I finally have the capacity to recruit a small team. I will make it a fun place to work. Lots of cupcakes, sparkles and haribos!
Do you have a wisdom cupcake for the Sailors and Sailorettes reading?
Stay true to what you are and what you do. Don't let anyone or anything distract you from doing your best. Don't be afraid to mix it up a little bit and try to be different - Aim to stand out from the crowd.
And what I love most in Miss Temporary Secretary's shop, you ask? Word on the streets is that I fancy...
...only to name a few of these lovelies, it's so hard to chose just a few every week with all the talented and original designers (and designs) I come across!
For more information, competitions and updates, check out her Online Shop, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter and Blog, I'm following all of them already!