At This Material Culture we’re all about ideas, the bangle, necklace, earrings you buy weren’t churned out in a factory. Each piece has a story, a concept, and about 4 other earlier versions I decided weren’t good enough. I wanted to share the stories behind some of our pieces with you because we’re not a faceless company, we are two quirky, creative people with a passion for creating products that mean something (and are really pretty).
Here’s The Story Behind… The Giraffe Necklace
As a young business, we do LOADS of events, trying to sell our jewellery and get the word out about This Material Culture. We’ve been to craft fairs in country houses, warehouses, pubs, bombed out churches, coffee shops, gift shops, you name it!
Though waking up super early, walking miles and carrying our stock in suitcases, canvas bags and hold alls isn’t the easiest job in the world, these events have been so important in growing our business.
Some have been miserable failures where we’ve only made £7 in a whole day and only 6 people actually turned up, and some have been hugely successful where we’ve made enough money to cover our stall cost and to buy a lovely takeaway on the way home (and pay the water bill of course) and had a great day chatting and meeting awesome people.
We get a unique opportunity to talk to the people who actually buy our things. And we really do listen. Hence, the giraffe necklaces. We do a few vintage fairs and I really like finding some old forgotten treasures and turning them into beautiful pieces of wearable art. I made a couple of necklaces out of toy animals (check out our instagram and facebook for some photos) and one was a giraffe I got from a car boot. It was the first thing we sold that day, and loads of people asked us whether we had any giraffes, as that was a one off piece. I made a mental note, and then realised that at an awful lot of fairs we did people were asking whether we had anything with giraffes on. I did a little look on the high street and giraffes are the most popular animal ever!
I managed to find these gorgeous bronze giraffe charms featuring a mummy and a baby giraffe and thought they were perfect. They’re nice and big so everyone can see what you’re wearing but they are light and totally wearable. And they have nice, cute faces, which is really important! We worked on the design, finding the chain length, designing the packaging and the Giraffe necklace was born. It’s been really popular, it’s cute, quirky and makes a lovely gift.
I recently got a lovely email from Jessica who’s sister bought her a giraffe necklace and she said… ‘My sister bought me a giraffe necklace from yourself when she attended a vintage fair in Liverpool a few weeks ago. She gave me this for my birthday as I absolutely love giraffes. Now I absolutely love this necklace! I love delicate dainty pieces of jewellery which are quirky but well made. & this necklace is exactly that. It’s beautiful in design and quality, as well as quirky but dainty! It suits my personality and style perfectly!! I’ve already worn it loads and had so many compliments on it!So thank you. After seeing this, I can’t wait to buy more of your handmade jewellery.’ I was so chuffed to receive such a lovely email and to know that something you guys had suggested, I had listened to, designed and made could make someone so happy!
And it’s not just the girls, I was chatting on twitter with blogger Lauren (@beautyxdivision) who said her other half totally loved giraffes too. I’d bought some smaller silver giraffe charms in my quest to make the perfect giraffe necklace and though these would be perfect for a more gender neutral giraffe necklace. I used simple black cord to hang it on and the effect is a cool, tribal, giraffe necklace, perfect for guys or girls.So there you go. Running a business isn’t all making loads of pretty things and making lots of money. It’s really hard work and because you’ve built it from nothing, a lot of patience and positive thinking makes the lack of a regular income just about bearable. But I believe This Material Culture will be a success, because we care about the people who buy our pieces, we listen to what they want and use design and creativity to make that happen. The giraffe necklace is the perfect example of why starting small, being genuine and listening to your customers is the best way to go, and yes, it is really cute too!
If you’d like to buy a gorgeous giraffe necklace, the links are here…
Thanks for reading and if you’re in Liverpool check out our Facebook and Twitter to find out what events we’re doing and come say hello!