The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of the funky alternative jewellery shop Raffles Bizarre :
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My names Jess, I’m 24 and I run my own handmade jewellery business Raffles Bizarre. I specialise in a mix of alternative and extravagant jewellery with a diverse and affordable product range.
How did you get started in your handmade business?
It started out as a hobby during my degree. I would make jewellery for friends and family for birthday’s and eventually (being a poor student) decided to see if I could make any extra cash from it.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I’ve been doing arts and crafts for as long as I can remember, when I was little I was always drawing or painting or constructing something. I guess it was just natural progression, I took art for GCSE, Alevels, I did a foundation year and then my degree which was in Model design and Special effects. Now Raffles Bizarre is my full time occupation, and I also work as a freelance makeup artist whenever I get the chance.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Haha, well because I decided to take this full-time it’s a rare occasion you’ll find me doing something other than working on my jewellery business, but I love films, especially horror. This is how I ended up getting into makeup, though I also do beauty and fashion makeup too. I like to draw, a lot of my illustrations are featured in my jewellery. I love to take pictures too, though I don’t get as much time for that. Apart from that, whenever I get a chance I spend it with my friends letting off steam and being generally ridiculous. (There’s still plenty of time to grow up yet!)
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
As far as RB I have been making and selling for about four years now, though as I mentioned before I’ve been crafting my whole life.
How many different places do you sell from?
The main place I sell from is my website – http://www.rafflesbizarre.co.uk/ though I also use http://www.folksy.com/shops/rafflesbizarre, and http://www.misi.co.uk/shop_info.php?domain=rafflesbizarre. I do occasional fairs and markets throughout the year but have none planned at the moment.
In ten years, where would you like to be?
I’d love to still be doing this but at a much larger scale. It’s crazy to even imagine one day being a household name so for now I’ll settle for a couple of little shops somewhere cute like Carnaby street or Brighton.
If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be? My favourite movie is Pan’s Labyrinth, I loved it so much I ended up writing my dissertation on it. Anyone who’s seen it will know what a beautiful, atmospheric and captivating film it is, I couldn’t recommend it enough!
How did you come up with your shop name?
Ohh it took me sooo long to choose a name! I was sitting on the tube thinking of names and had decided I wanted to use Bizarre, as a play on Bazaar. My cat’s name “Raffles” popped into my head and I just thought it had a nice ring to it. I’m not the kind of person who would generally name things after a cat, but it stuck. So there’s no exciting meaning behind the name, but I like it.
If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
I really want to take courses in other areas of jewellery which I don’t currently use to help expand RB, such as silver-smithing, enameling, and filigree.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I hate this question and if I think too hard about it I find it impossible to answer, but I think the one I’d enjoy the most would be being able to hold my breath underwater – like Aquaman. I’m fascinated by water, the ocean and especially sharks so it’s got to be that.