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After really enjoying the Meet the Maker challenge in 2023 we decided to take part in the refreshed challenge for 2024.

Throughout March we posted on our social media every day, responding to a prompt or topic set by Joanne Hawker.

To the right is the full list of prompts provided by Joanne for 2024 that we completed. Where the dates are marked as ‘Weekend’ we did not make a specific Meet The Maker post, but shared our usual stall and event photos.

You can find a record of all the posts in real time on our Facebook here, or follow via our Instagram page.

Day One of #MarchMeetTheMaker2024 and it’s our chance to re-introduce ourselves.
Glitzy Vintage Jewellery Midlands is a family business run by Clara & Kyle (wife & husband).

Clara has seemingly endless enthusiasm for Jewellery, and draws from her Historian background to inspire our focus.

Kyle shares a passion for history, and draws on his IT background to run our web presence, and to manage the admin side of the business.

One of the most common questions we get asked at events, markets, fairs & festivals is: “Do you make it all yourselves?”

Our first answer is usually – Do we really look that old?!

We then take the time to explain that all of our jewellery is original vintage items, dating from 1760 through to the early 1990’s. Each item has been lovingly hand restored, repaired or upcycled by Clara or Kyle; and sometimes both of us!

Here is a great example of a 1950’s statement necklace that we have reconstructed from parts of two necklaces and some broken pearl earrings.

For #MarchMeetTheMaker last year we showed you our small gazebo transformation – from 2020 till 2022.

Today we thought we go for an even more impressive Evolution: our Market Stall set up from 2020 until 2024.

Some of our improvements have been purely cosmetic – I’m sure these are easy to spot.

Some are more subtle:

1. PVC banners are out and organic cotton ones are in.

2. Single use price labels have been replaced with reusable ones.

Have you got any ideas on things we could be doing better with our Market Stall display?

As you all are probably fed up of hearing Clara is the expert on restoring, repairing & researching our Jewellery. So what exactly does Kyle do for the business?

Today we are talking about ‘Tasks’ for #MarchMeetTheMaker and we thought that it’s the perfect opportunity to give you some insight into his absolutely critical behind the scenes work.

Kyle is our accountant, photographer, social media manager, web designer & developer, driver, paperwork ninja, heavy lifting expert, graphic designer, car tetris winner; the list goes on and on.

He finds and books 95% of our events and markets, does anything computer-y, and even wrote this post.

Chances are if you email or message us it’ll be him that replies.

One of our current favourite combinations that you may have spotted at a market is that of natural pearls with semi-precious stones.

We were inspired by the bracelet in the top (centre) which came to us with a matching necklace. Made from freshwater pearls and lapis lazuli Kyle was completely enchanted. Luckily this set only needed a decent clean to prepare it for sale.

We have taken our inspiration from this set and Clara has been creating a range of pearl and stone necklaces for the stall. We initially started with two: 1. pearl & garnet, 2. pearl & lapis lazuli. Both of these have now sold, though we are working on creating more.

Two examples that are currently in stock are seen in this photo – both using amethyst with pearls. The amethysts in both necklaces have been recovered from broken vintage pieces – a bracelet and a necklace respectively.

Today for #MarchMeetTheMaker we are talking about Brand.

Over the last 4 years we have used a variety of different logos; starting with Norma’s original design for Glitzy Vintage Jewellery (top).

We have always been keen to highlight our Vintage tradition in our logo designs, starting with our very first independent logo featuring Victorian embellishments in 2020.

Early 2021 saw the creation of our primary branding based on a Victorian monogram. This remained unchanged until late 2023 when we added our tagline ‘Restored, Repaired, Reloved’. This is seen at the bottom of the image.

Then we have our limited use logos – first up the Art Deco monogram (left centre). This is Kyle’s personal favourite. It can usually be seen tucked into one of our Art Deco inspired adverts, both online and posters at events.

The final logo is the very bright 1950’s comic & Pop Art inspired logo. Those of you who have met us at music festivals in 2023 probably recognise this one. We’ve gone bold & bright so you can spot us easily across a large (sometimes muddy) field.

So which is your favourite?

Can you remember which was the first one you saw us using?

Here you can see Clara hard at work rebuilding a fantastic 1920’s beaded necklace. In this case the original piece was created by the Neiger brothers of Gablonz Czechoslovakia.

This is only the 3rd necklace Clara has worked on where she has individually knotted the beads in place – as you might notice it is a tricky process, and she is learning as she goes along. But the end results are amazing.

You are probably aware that January-April are our quiet months out at events and selling, but that doesn’t mean we are just on an extended holiday.

Since about mid-January we have been highly focused on sorting out our stock for the summer, autumn and Christmas season(s). Once we kick into show season around mid-April we don’t really stop until we finish our events for Christmas, so we need to use these quieter months to prepare!

We started by sorting out our left over stock from 2023, had a great spring clean and tidy of the workshop, and now we are hard at work restoring, repairing or reworking jewellery from our stocks. As you saw yesterday Clara is working on restringing vintage beads & pearls this week; but we have also been sorting out rings and brooches. Our final task is to work through our pendants and get them onto new chains ready to sell – a jewellery task Kyle is trusted to perform!

Today for #MarchMeetTheMaker2024 we are challenged to talk about ‘Signature Style’.

As a restored & repaired business we don’t really have a personal style that we add to the jewellery; we just focus on making it as beautiful as it can be.

We are however known for our ever expanding selection of Brooches.

Clara has a personal passion for brooches, and is on a one-woman crusade to bring them back to the forefront of fashion. We believe that a brooch is a great way of adding a pop of colour, or sparkle to any outfit; allowing your jewellery choices to shine even when wrapped up in coats and scarfs in the winter.

You can nearly always find us with a brooch on a jacket, dress, waistcoat, hat or scarf while working on the stall. When not working Clara uses her extensive brooch collection to add fun and sparkle to her collection of Lucy & Yak dungarees.

Are you a brooch fan?

Why not show off your favourite brooch outfits in the comments?

One of our favourite things to collect, and to see collected are Military Sweetheart Brooches.

The history of these brooches can be traced back to the mid Victorian period with early examples from British overseas forces in India and South Africa; as well as seeing a boost in popularity during the American Civil War.

To learn more about them head over to our Blog where we published an article on ‘Sweetheart Jewellery‘ last November.

Or check out a selection of our current stock pieces in the ‘Militaria‘ section of our online store.

One of the most challenging things for us as an in-person sales business is the application process for events and markets.

We are regularly told “You should trade here”, “You would be amazing at [insert festival name here]”. And we totally agree with you 99% of the time.

We always listen to your recommendations, particularly for festivals – we LOVE attending festivals and hanging out with all of you.

HOWEVER it is rarely up to us if we are able to bring our stall to those events and festivals. And we apply for dozens, if not hundreds throughout the winter months.

And we only get accepted to about 15% of them.

This means that we get a lot of rejection emails, or just never hear back. And as people who are proud of what we do, our products, and our stall set up; that can be very draining and hard to take.

An example of just what a week can look like came at the end of February when we received or confirmed 7 major rejections in the space of 2 days. Yeah, it really sucked.

So, we are going to try something additional next year.

Firstly – if you want us at your favourite festival, please tell us so we can make sure it is on our application shortlist.

Secondly – let the festival organisers know you want us there. Hit them up on social media, drop them an email, send them a postcard!

Today on #MarchMeetTheMaker2024 we are talking about ‘Process’, so we thought we talk a little bit about how we clean some of the vintage jewellery to prepare it for sale.

The very first thing to say is that you need a lot of patience. This is why Kyle is banned from getting involved. The cleaning process is a slow one, involving a lot of elbow grease.

When starting out a clean we always start out with the gentleist cleaning method, and work towards the harsher methods only if required.

1. For most items this means starting with a simple polishing cloth.

2. Our second stage would be a gentle clean using a soft brush (childrens toothbrushes are perfect), baby shampoo and warm water.

3. If needed we move onto manually picking out small items of dirt/debris with a victorian hat pin or an interdental brush.

4. Only if there is any unremovable dirt at this stage would we then consider using specialist chemical cleaners.

All of our cleaning is done by Clara’s hand – we have found that machines such as ultrasonic cleaners only go so far in loosening the dirt and we still have to start from stage two anyway most of the time.

One of the most wonderful things for us last November & December was hearing about how shopping for presents with us has become a part of your Christmas traditions.

Hearing the joy as you spot our stall and come over to carefully select that special present always delights us.

Clara particularly loves getting involved and helping you select just the right item of jewellery for that lucky someone.

Just please remember…unless you come prepare with a ring size pre-measured – rings are not the best present option!

Join us for a full day out at a market. Filmed earlier in March this clip covers everything from our arrival at 7:15am until we finished packing down and leaving at 6:30pm!

Many of you (we hope) have seen our mini business cards that come in your wonderful little gift bags. But have you noticed the blank space on the back of the card?

This little spot is one of our ‘secret’ details; a space that can be used to write down a short summary of the history of the piece you have bought from us. Whether for your own reminder, or to share if the jewellery is being passed on as a gift.

So really don’t be worried about asking us to note down anything we have told you. We have planned for it. Just maybe, ask Clara, as you won’t be able to read Kyle’s handwriting…

Today on #MarchMeetTheMaker is all about Positivity. And we have a big one – it has now been just over a whole year since we both went full time working for ourselves.

In the last year we have seen our little business grow and develop in leaps & bounds. Being able to attend more major music festivals; breaking Norma’s single day sales record; receiving more awards; & sponsoring our first competition. Just a few highlights from 2023.

We are super excited to see what 2024 has to offer.

Here we have a brooch with a pretty great story behind it.

This Mizpah brooch dates from the earliest years of the 20th Century and is made from low grade silver.

The silver used to make this brooch was collected from sweet & cigarette wrappers before being passed to a local jewellery to melt down and make into the brooch. A great example of Edwardian thrift, and an early example of the modern reuse & recycle ethos.

This is also a great example of where we are always looking to learn – the history behind the piece was explained to us by a customer who is a collector of these ‘Silver Foil’ brooches. She was inspired by an example passed down from her Great-Grandmother.

Here are some great ways to support us, or any other small business you love, without spending even a Penny

1. Write us a review – Facebook, Google or Trustpilot are all great places. There is no harm in leaving the same reivew across multiple platforms.

2. React to our posts. All of them. The more you like the more you (and your friends) will see posts from us.

3. Get chatty. Leave us a comment, join a conversation with others on our posts.

4. Love a purchase? Show us a photo, tag us in a story! Ordered online? Do an unboxing video, you never know what extra suprises Clara has hidden inside.

5. Spread the news – share our posts, events, articles. Tag your friends and let them know what we are up to!

Today on #MarchMeetTheMaker is all about ‘A Moment of Calm’, so we thought it would be a great time to talk about our Penny.

Many of you have met Penny out and about at our events and markets, but did you know that she is not there as a pet but as a key member of our team?

Penny is a fully trained Assistance Dog, equipped with a range of skills and tasks to help Kyle manage his Autism. Her presence alone acts as a grounding and calming beacon for him.

Whether she is in her uniform jacket or not she is always attuned into his emotions and actions ready to jump in as and when needed.

Many of you have shopped with us at a market or event, and received our lovely purple gift bags made from recycled plastic.

Fewer of you have seen the beautiful postal packaging that Clara takes so much time and pride over. As you probably expected we have fully embraced our purple branding in every way we can, while maintaining the best eco-thinking: all packaging is made from recycled and recyclable card and paper.

There is also the chance to find a hidden vintage surprise – from old postcards to photos, or even an antique jewellery box.

Today is the final day of #MarchMeetTheMaker2024 and we are talking about ‘Vision’. Specifically what does the future look like for Glitzy Vintage Jewellery.

Well, in all honesty not too different from what we already do we hope. We absolutely love working with the vintage jewellery, and being able to offer some amazing items at truly affordable prices is core to us.

What we do want to do is continue to expand our event range, particularly hitting up some more amazing festivals, maybe even Glastonbury one day (laughing emoji).

To get there we know that we need to tweak our stall look just a little, and we are currently looking at inspiration to bring a more vintage feel to the stall. So look out for some new decorations & props heading out at our bigger events later this summer!

If you’ve read this far, thank you and we hope you’ve enjoyed the insights into behind the scenes at Glitzy Vintage Jewellery. Keep an eye out for more blog posts, videos and emails with more updates throughout the year.

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