Work & Entrepreneurship Series: A Jewelry Artisan Who Inspires

by Ruth on July 6, 2012

in Beauty & Fashion, Work and Entrepreneurship

Little did Adeline Oon think that a simple two-hour workshop on jewelry-making would have a major impact on her life. However, Adeline found herself hooked on making jewelry after creating a pair of earrings during the workshop and soon, the stay-home mom of two children ages 10 and 12 was on her way to selling handmade jewelries online. She now runs the online shop Adeline’s Loft.

With great passion and an eye for beauty, Adeline’s business grew. In 2011, she was name one of the ‘100 Most Inspiring Real Women’ by CozyCot, one of Singapore’s top beauty site and community.

In this interview, Adeline shares with us her journey in growing her business and insights she has gained.


1. What motivated you to start the business?
I arranged a bonding session with my bestie and signed us up for a two-hour jewelry-making workshop at the art museum. After completing a pair of earrings, I felt a tremendous sense of gratification. For the next few months after that, I practiced on my own and started to make jewelries as gifts for family and friends. Eventually I decided to try my hands at selling my creations online and have never looked back since.

I don’t think I’m running a business per se. I would very much like to describe it as a hobby. I did have a separate blog where I supplied my handmade clay beads but it only lasted for about two years because the demand for it among the local beading community died down. I also had an Etsy shop for two years. Though I’ve gained quite a few regular international customers, I decided to close it recently because it became very expensive to maintain.


2. What challenges did you face when starting your business and how did you overcome them?
It took a while for my family to believe in what I wanted to do, so I worked really hard for the first few years to carve something out for myself. I was eager to prove my skills and didn’t let any opportunity pass me by. I tried consignments on other online shops and was exclusively creating children’s jewelries for a local designer boutique. It was labor-intensive and I realized it wasn’t worth my time making repetitive designs as I was a one-woman-show. I found my niche after three years. I’m now focusing on selling more contemporary jewelry creations and I learnt to make beads from polymer clay to offer my customers unique designs.


3. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been the most successful technique or channel?
I first sold my creations on the now defunct Yahoo Auction. When I saw increase in sales within the year, I moved on to a blog shop where many of my faithful customers followed me too. I market my wares on a few main social networks like Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. I’ve also had some selling experience at bazaar events but the most powerful tool is still by the word-of-mouth. I’ve had quite a few private invitations by customers to visit their offices during lunch time to bring shopping to them and their colleagues!


4. What are the main things you did that contributed the most to growing your business?
I believe you need passion to drive any growing business. When you are passionate, you will be committed and you will enjoy what you do and do it well.


5. How do you deal with competition?  

I’m acquainted with many home-based jewelry crafters in Singapore; we have different creative niches and each of us appeal to different groups of women customers. I don’t let competition get into my head and I enjoy the camaraderie with my fellow crafters.


6. What do you enjoy most about the business, and what do you like least?

I enjoy the flexibility of time (which I spend most on my family) and I get to make new friends along the way. The least I like about my business? That I don’t have the luxury of having my own craft room that I can creatively mess up!


7. What are some of the most unforgettable moments in the business?

It has to be when my polymer clay jewelries captured the attention of Seventeen magazine’s fashion editor and my shop was featured in their October 2010 issue. The other one would be being recognized and awarded for being an inspirational woman by Cozycot in March 2011.


8.What are three important lessons you learnt from running your business?
- I’ve learnt to be discerning about customers’ taste but not compromise my creative touches.
- I’ve also learnt it’s important to believe in and enjoy myself in the process of achieving my goals.
- Most importantly, be prompt and sincere to my online customers.


9. As a WAHM, how do you strike a balance between work and family commitments?
When my children were much younger, I could only find time to create late into the night when they were asleep. Then I realized my husband got neglected so I rescheduled to work in between the children’s afternoon naps. Now that my children are in school and more independent, it’s basically my own time and target. When I’m not creating, I spend time with my mother and attend to my never-ending household chores.


10. What three pieces of advice do you have for those aspiring to start their own business?
- It’s important to have passion for the business you want to launch because it will take you further.
- Obstacles are meant to be crossed, so perseverance is key.
- Be sincere with your customers. Customers come and go but will remember and think of you when the occasion requires them to seek your services.

Some of Adeline's gorgeous creations (pic source: Adeline's Loft)

Visit Adeline’s Loft and check out more of her beautiful jewelries!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ai Sakura July 6, 2012 at 8:21 AM

So very insightful Adeline :) Great job with the balancing act as a loving pillar at home and successful WAHM!
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Regina July 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’m inspired… and you do really beautiful work :)
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