By day Kelly Waters is a full-time mum caring for her two young boys — but once their eyes are heavy and the lights are out, she ducks down to her den to design her handmade jewellery line.
Before there were little legs darting between her own, Kelly worked in HR, but always craved a more creative career. “When I was on maternity leave with my first boy I knew I wanted to leave the corporate world and do things that are more my day-to-day passions, but I didn’t think I could end up working in them,” she said. “Once I started playing around with some earrings earlier this year it was just a new hobby, but then friends started wanting them and saying I should make it into a business, something I would have never thought of doing myself.”
Kelly is adamant her sons Theo and Artie are the reason she can explore her deep love of designing jewellery. “I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for them, so the least I could do was name it after them and so Theo & Artie was born!”
Kelly sells most of her wares on Etsy; the range of brights, bolds and glitters standing out on any digital screen. Her intricate and detailed designs are influenced by whatever Kelly has seen in her travels, or quirky ideas that pop into her head on a whim. “It’s never intentional; I just see a picture of something and think that would be really cute and then I design and create it. I certainly don’t sit and plan ahead, I just see things and go, ‘I’m going to play around with that’, or I might like it and just hope other people will.”
Theo and Artie popped up at Avid Reader’s Market Day, and Kelly has showcased her creative edge at Raw, an independent arts organisation uniting up-and-coming artisans at exhibitions. “In person events are a great way to meet people and other like-minded creators and I definitely want to do more of that in the future. One of the biggest things I’ve been surprised about since starting this business is the community of makers and designers out there. There are so many people that you end up connecting with every day; it’s this extra community of people who are super supportive and encouraging of one another.”
It is that same network of people and community that draws Kelly to West End. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you wear or do for a living, everyone seems more accepted here. For local makers to come and sell their products and meet other people is such a nice thing to do.”
Looking into the future Kelly would love to be able to stock in stores so more people would be able to see her work. “I don’t expect to be something huge; I’m just happy enjoying it and if I can keep making enough to pay for the materials and my time and if I break even I’m incredibly happy.”
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