Words and photo by Tristan Ovington.
Handmade jewellery can be a touching and personal gift that means the world to someone. This is what 42-year-old Helen Lack, owner of the jewellery business Silver & Birch, intends for each of her pieces.
Helen started Silver & Birch in June 2012 on the Etsy website. “Pinterest is where I first saw flowers set in resin and I thought it looked really gorgeous,” explains Helen. I didn’t know anything about how they did it at the time, but after a year of research I had perfected the technique with no bubbles and flowers which kept their colour after being set permanently into the resin.”
Although she now works full-time on her business, success only came after a lot of time and determination.
“There is a lot of trial and error making the jewellery as it often goes very wrong. Resin is quite temperamental and you must provide the perfect temperature and drying conditions. But after I perfected my technique I got accepted into lots of shops.
“However, the online marketing side of it is a big learning curve and I had to do a vast amount of research. I only spend 10% of the day making jewellery and the rest of the time promoting my products. I also got featured in Country Life Magazine which gave me a massive spike in sales.
“The philosophy is to make something that becomes a heartfelt gift with meaning, especially when I include someone’s favourite flower.
“All my jewellery is made by myself in the UK and I grow the flowers organically in my own garden in the New Forest.”
Helen has many happy memories of satisfied customers.
“One lady wanted me to make gifts for her bridesmaids made out of the bouquet from her wedding. You only need small pieces of the plant for jewellery, so I chose some tiny petals and seeds from the bouquets which made a lovely combination of colours. She was thrilled.
“This year, I am working on all new packaging, which will be completely personal and bespoke, which is being designed by Fordingbridge Print Studio.
“I also have new products, like heart-shaped pieces for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. I am also planning to give a portion of my profits to a charity this year.”