Stuff by Ashley
Jody-Anne Lawrence, Lifestyle Reporter
"I love jewellery. I love jewellery to the point that I don't think I will ever have enough," Danneill Laird told Flair when asked how she started her business, Stuff by Ashley. She loved having statement pieces that were unique to her and this is why she started to make jewellery for herself.
"I love unique, affordable pieces, so I started playing around with craft in an effort to create pieces for myself that I wouldn't see anyone wearing," Laird said. This graduate from the University of Technology with a bachelor of business administration, with a minor in human resource management, learnt how to create pieces on her own, through research, trial and error.
"I would always be asked where I purchased my items from, so I chose to explore the idea of selling handcrafted items," she mentioned. While she has been dabbling into craft for sometime, she made them solely for friends and family members, until September 2014 when Stuff by Ashley was officially started. Her first customer was her mother, whom she says has always supported her.
"My first sale was a pair of earrings which I sold to my mother. Being the passionately supportive person that she is, my mother ensured that she was my first customer. I cannot thank my parents enough for being such a motivating and supportive pair," she said.
excited by craft
While she has a nine-to-five as a banker, her passion for working with craft is something that she loves and has become consumed with.
"I thoroughly enjoy spending my time creating my pieces. In fact, I will lose sleep because I am so engrossed in creating a particular piece and I'm eager to see the finished product. Looking at the finished product and thinking 'Wow, I created that!' never gets old, but my favourite thing about creating my pieces is seeing my customers' reaction to the finished product. Their excitement always thrills me. I love more when the piece they chose is a gift for their loved one and they contact me to tell me about that third party's reaction," she noted.
It was not an easy road to get here as there was a trial and error period for her. She fondly remembers her first attempt at making jewellery.
"My first piece was a glass bead wrapped in copper wire to form a pendant. I was fooling around with the materials in an attempt to follow a tutorial; however, I laugh because the pendant did not come out at all like the piece featured in the tutorial. In fact, the tutorial was for earrings but my first effort was so off that I did not attempt to do a pair. At the time I didn't know much about wire gauges and the proper tools to be used. I was such a rookie. However, even though the piece came out incorrect, it was perfectly flawed to me. I'm proud of it and find it artistic in its own way," she reminisced.
Though she loves making jewellery, it is far from her only talent, as Stuff by Ashley also has a personalised pillow and towel line. She started making pillows when she was inspired by a little jewel of her own - her nephew.
"As with many entrepreneurs, I started out with the aim of solving a personal problem. With my nephew's first birthday approaching in early 2012, I decided that I wanted a gift for him that was unique, personalised and affordable. I figured out how to sew pillows and rocked back on my sixth-grade hand-embroidery training. I was able to find a unique and personalised yet affordable item for my loved one," said Laird.
She insists on keeping her pieces unique to each customer so that it is truly personalised.
"While two seemingly duplicate handcrafted items will never truly be identical, Stuff by Ashley goes even further to ensure that no two pieces are the same. So even if a client sees a piece which I have made previously and contacts me to have a similar item done I always find a way to make that client's piece different while sticking to the style which they requested," she noted.
She also uses her creativity to give back to charity during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"In October 2014, I introduced my Pink Ashley Collection - which started out as bracelets but eventually involved earrings and necklaces, for Breast Cancer Awareness, and I was able to make a donation to the Jamaica Cancer Society from proceeds from that line. My next charity fund-raiser will be in March and April 2015 to treat less fortunate children for Child's Month in May 2015," she noted.
She has no intention of choosing between her new love and her nine-to-five passion for business. Instead, she is working hard to keep a happy medium between the two.
Stuff by Ashley