The 'Original' Creative Crafting Magazine written by Crafters, for Crafters

Creative Crafting magazine began in August/September 2009, when a group of crafting friends on the Creative Connections network decided that it would be a good idea to raise awareness of the crafting community. From this point they started work and the first issue of Creative Crafting was published in October 2009 and are still publishing today.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

An Interview with - Chris Parry

 
Interview with - Chris Parry
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
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My name is Chris Parry and I am a hubby, father and bespoke jeweller. I changed careerwhen I was 30 and have been making bespoke pieces of jewellery for the last 13  years.

2When did you begin and why?  
I fell into my first job, and kept getting promoted. Ten years later at the age of 30, I was good at what I was doing. Well paid for it, but bored to death and didn’t want to carry on in that sector. So I resigned, sold my car and used my savings to put myself through a degree in silversmithing and jewellery design. Whilst at university, you start to look at a way to make a living from the craft. The Internet back in 1999 was very fresh and I happened upon a website www.inspirals.co.uk and thought that I needed my own website to sell my jewellery. I couldn’t afford to employ a website designer, so I bought three books. I read them on the train whilst I commuted to university, and taught myself website design. In 2000, I had my first sale to a guy in Northampton. I started on a homemade jewellers bench in my basement with the spiders. I have since opened two small shops and I just bought my own workshop/shop in the village of South Darenth, Kent.

What is it that you enjoy about your work? I don’t work. It doesn’t feel like work at all. I go to my workshop and make things for people, the day fly’s by and suddenly it’s time to go home.









3 What is your biggest achievement?
 I don’t measure success by the big commissions, the value, the corporate order or the celebrity. I measure success by the small things. I got a stunning e-mail form a woman in USA thanking me for making the simplest of rings for her partner 5 years ago. They are still so pleased with them that she felt inclined to drop me an e-mail all these years later. Another lady from Australia lost her brother in a car crash and wanted a ring making with his signature inside. Making commissions like that and hearing what that object means to them is better than any award or big boy order.

Other than crafting, what do you enjoy?
 The small things. Like the ten minute walk to school holding my daughters hand or having a latte with my wife in peace and quiet or telling my 17 year old boy  “I love him” in front of his mates. Opening a pack of bourbon biscuits and laughing out loud, that will make sense later. 

If you had to choose your favourite from your creations?
I am approached by parents who have lost a child. Either in birth or later years. Also by clients who have lost a sibling or a parent. Making something with a hand print, fingerprint or their hand writing is exceptionally rewarding. I can’t pick a favourite, as each story is deeply moving. I suppose the most memorable was the first time, when I made a footprint piece for a lovely lady to remember Frankie. 

What advice would you offer someone starting out?
Don’t chase galleries and shops to sell your wares. Ten years ago, the only way to make a crafting living was to provide multiple retails outlets. Now, with the Internet you can sell as easily to Alaska as you can to Cornwall. It doesn’t suit all crafts as some sell easier online than others. You should however have at least a WowThankYou and Etsy shop, a personal website and a Facebook business page. The Internet has changed how we shop and your location is not a barrier to success. 

 If you could change one thing about what you do what would it be? Facebook is the nightmare. People see a picture and just put in the comment box “OMG that is lovely how much please.” You answer their question, then the next person puts the same question. A lot of my comment threads on facebook, are from people asking the same question. Ahhhhhhhhh. 


4 

What has helped your business the most? 
Without doubt the Internet. Within that context, my own website - www.chris-parry.co.uk  Within the last year, my Facebook page. www.Facebook.com/Chris.Parry.Jewellery   

5Has any person helped you more than any other? 
More than any person, my supportive and beautiful wife, without whom none of what I have achieved would be possible. She has been the rock. I also have another wonderful woman in my life. Eva approached me five years ago for a job. She had done a night school course and was hooked. She has now worked for me for five years and is my right hand girl. She is very skilled and I wouldn’t swap her for all the tea in China. 

Tell us a random fact about yourself.   When people ask me at a party what I do for a living, I tell them “I’m a biscuit designer, you know the bourbon, that’s one of mine and also the ginger snap.” It amuses me that hundreds of people have told their friends that they met the guy who designed the bourbon.


UPDATE! Since being interviewed by Creative Crafting Chris participated in a Crowd Funded Kickstarter project to raise £47,500. Chris has smashed his total and raised £55.856 which is a record for a craft project on the site!        

 For more info see www.kickstarter.com/projects/291082417/twinkle-twinkle-little-star-bespoke-jewellery 

  Congratulations Chris!
 





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