Boss Babe: Lorna McNaught
Company: Lorna Grace Jewellery
Tell me a bit about your business.
My business is a sustainable jewellery brand, selling pieces handmade in the cotswolds. It focuses primarily on researched subjects to inspire my jewellery creations, such as art, natural history and human culture. I have a strong passion for the environment, and therefore everything from start to finish is either sustainably sourced or recycled.
What made you decide to start it?
I started it after studying 3 years at the school of jewellery in Birmingham, during that time I completed the jewellery course alongside becoming qualified in gemmology and diamond grading. I knew I wanted to own my own business one day, because I was disappointed in the lack of sustainable brands at the time. This was about 4 years ago now, and has changed dramatically now. It is definitely more common to see these sorts of ethical practices, which is wonderful, but there still needs to be more.
What’s a typical day/week like in your shoes?
A day in my shoes goes a little like this: I wake up when my partner gets out of bed to wash in the morning before work. I brush my teeth and go to let my beautiful cat out of the living room, she's very affectionate in the mornings. My partner escapes to work after breakfast, I take a cup of tea and biscuit to my workshop and complete some admin work. After that, I start on whichever piece of jewellery I'm making next on my bench. Once the day is through I usually like to let off steam by going for an afternoon run, before making dinner in the evening.
What’s been the most difficult thing to get your head around when you started up?
The most difficult thing for me to get my head round was pricing, It's so hard to figure out what you should charge for your work. You don't want to be too expensive, but you also want to actually make money. I've come to terms with the fact I can't compete with large companies who make their jewellery in foreign countries and pay their workers that area's wage.
Have you encountered any hiccups along the way?
I have encountered many problems along the way, running your own business is always going to have its problems. I'm a super strict boss who hates wasting time, and my only employee (me) is lazy. Charging too little for my jewellery has got me into more issues than most of my hiccups, because there's nothing I can do about it afterwards! You live and you learn.
What’s your main marketing took/social media platform?
My main marketing tool is Instagram, it gets me a lot more sales than anything else. I have a facebook page but it doesn't get much love or attention. I swear Facebook could be phased out in the next 5 years, either way it's Instagram for me.
What’s next for your business?
Next on the agenda for my business is to focus more on my own designs. I take a lot of commissions and bespoke work, because it's where a lot of my income comes from. But I want to have more of a brand identity, so I need to make more time for my own designs and start creating some full collections.
Do you have any advice for other women looking to start their own business?
A piece of advice for other women starting a small business in the future is don't be afraid to be direct with what you want. I've spent too long trying to be polite and be liked as a female in business. Don't be a grouch obviously, but you don't have to constantly apologise for asking the same thing (in the same way) a man would.
What do you do to relax?
I'm really big on having some time to myself, it's important to me and I will cut short some work if I'm feeling too tired or stressed. To relax I like to take long baths, read in bed, go for runs, talk to family members on the phone or go for a walk with them, watch something on Netflix (currently it's The Office for the 3rd time) and have a cuddle with my cat.
And lastly, what did you have for breakfast?
For breakfast today I had some organic porridge with oat milk (very oaty I know), cinnamon and syrup.
Thanks Lorna! Great getting to know a bit about your life as a boss babe! If you're wanting to get your hands on one of Lorna's stunning pieces of jewellery, head over to her Instagram page @lorna.gracejewellery for all the info you need. x