Setting up a jewellery business during the lockdown was not so much a lightbulb moment as a necessity for Erin Budden.
The technical sales executive at the EICC was one of a number of staff furloughed at the events venue and she had to find something to occupy her time.
So pulling on her childhood days when playing around with jewellery with her mum, and inspiration from a stay in Australia, Erin launched Chandelier & Skittles and is now shipping custom-made earrings around the world.
Erin, 27, said: “During lockdown, I knew I would have to do something creative, otherwise I would go insane, so I had to find something to keep me busy.When I was younger, mum and me would muck about with jewellery as you do, so I guess that was an influence, and then when I went to Australia a couple of years ago, I came across lots and lots of earrings styled like I had never seen before.”
She ordered materials and started experimenting by creating different styles of earrings and brooches for friends and family, and to her surprise she found they were a hit, with requests coming in to make more as gifts.
“I started off just doing it for myself, I made a couple of nice brooches for my mum, she showed them to a few of her friends and I sent a few pics to some friends across the country who said they would like some for birthday gifts. Before lockdown I always believed I was not creative – I can’t draw, I can’t play an instrument, but it is funny how you can find different things you can do.
The more materials I ordered online the more I found I had to watch tutorials, videos and read blogs, and I really got into it.”
Erin describes her range as “bold, unique, statement pieces” and they can be ordered in a multitude of colours with a choice of different backings to cater for customers with particular allergens.
Prices range from approximately £6 to £15 and Erin offers free UK postage. She has also received orders from Amsterdam, Hawaii and Texas. She is working on a range of clip-on earrings for younger girls and has designed a range of bookmarks for the Christmas market.
The name Chandelier & Skittles came from an automatic business name generator. Erin added: “Chandelier is supposed to sound like earrings but I thought it was so daft I wouldn’t even think about it, but it just stuck. Now with each order, I include a small packet of Skittles sweets as an extra.”
Erins’s jewellery range is available on Etsy and Instagram @chandelier_and_skittles