This is our latest post in a series of featured makers. We are introducing our makers one at a time and giving you a bit of a behind-the-scenes story and insights to their practice. Today we would like to introduce:
Sharon McNabb – Red Letter
First up. Who are you and what do you do?
Sharon McNabb – Red Letter – porcelain and gold, bronze, brass and copper jewellery. My aim is to make a piece that means something more to the wearer than just another piece of jewellery in their collection – something that reminds them of a memory or person that they love, or a significant event; or to just make them smile or laugh when they look at it (e.g the fox and pistol studs). I love having jewellery that can be personalised to create a perfect and thoughtful gift
How and why did you get started (instead of getting a proper job like your mother told you)?
I’m weird and did both. One side of my brain loves designing and making jewellery, the other loves being a physio. My Mum said that’s fine
What was the first thing you made?
a silver ring. I don’t actually work with silver anymore, or make rings – go figure
Who or what influences you or inspires you?
the boring answer is that there isn’t really one specific thing or person who inspires me. I usually create something that I feel is lacking from my own personal jewellery collection – I want a tiny pendant necklace – I make it; want a big chunky one – I make it; I don’t like spending crazy amounts of money on statement pieces so I try to make ones that are affordable so others can enjoy them at a good price
What is your favourite part of making?
when I come up with a new design and instantly fall in love with it – it is harder than it sounds to make happen but when it does it is such a high
How do you market your business?
this is definitely an area I’m not great at and could be better. Social media and I are more like distant second cousins than best buds. I mostly rely on the stores I stock to promote me and their stores; or on word of mouth, or on the markets I sell at
What tips do you have for others starting out in this game?
not to try to go to big too fast, just enjoy making what you are good at and what you like making; and also not to get side tracked by what you see others making or what is considered super trendy at the time – look how many people thought giant red feature walls were a good idea at the time
If you could gift one of your creations to anyone living or dead. Who would that be and what would you give them? Why?
wowa – what a question. this is one of those questions where it is possible to come out sounding super effortlessly cool because you picked someone awesome for an awesome reason – no pressure. I’m going to say Brooke Fraser. My respect and admiration for her as a person in general is massive, so if she wanted to wear something I had designed and created I would be ecstatic
Do you have any new ideas on the drawing board?
loads – my newest range is going to have a heavier emphasis on large statement pieces and also really tiny pieces rather than the medium sized pendants that have been a common feature in my previous ranges. Vague yet specific?
World Domination! How will you achieve it?
Megan Markle will come to the Department and froth on Red Letter – not only will all the frothing make headlines but she will love it, wear it and basically I will never need to advertise again
What is next for you?
to go back to what I love about Red Letter and that is attending a few select markets each year and seeing my favourite customers come back year after year to buy a piece or two, and having fun coming up with some awesome new designs
Thanks for sharing your time and giving us an insight to your brand. We look forward to seeing your development and growth. Red Letter can be found on their Website and in-store at The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things in Napier, and other fine galleries and showcase spaces around New Zealand.