5 Ways to Create Your Own Signature Jewellery Style
Amanda Webb of Make a StrangAmanda Webb is on a mission to keep her sanity as she juggles two small businesses while also raising two lovely little kids with her husband. 

She shares with She Inspires her struggles as a business owner and her desire to live a deeply rich and fulfilling life. Amanda is passionate about achieving work-life-balance and she enjoys connecting with and supporting other women entrepreneurs. 

Her dream is to see Make a Strand - her boutique jewellery design house - thrive.

What do you enjoy about having your own business with Make a Strand?

I absolutely love the creative freedom of being at the helm of Make a Strand. I love having the opportunity to inspire women to choose high impact, vibrant and eclectic jewellery that shouts out their personal style and enhances their image.

My tagline encourages women to 'Make a statement with Make a Strand' - I am passionate about helping women to feel confident and inspired to look their best every day, whether they commission a special piece just for them or choose something from my extensive, constantly updated collection.

Who inspires you?

I'm a proactive, longtime member of She Business Australia and founder and director, Suzy Jacobs, is definitely a source of inspiration and leadership. I love how personable, approachable and ethical she is. Suzy's honesty and integrity inspire me to try and communicate and operate in the same way.

In fact, many She Business colleagues have encouraged and inspired me on my Make a Strand journey over the years.

You have a vibrant young family, do you feel you find a good work/life balance? What works for you?

I believe I've got balancing a young family, work and life down to a fine art! I am absolutely committed to ensuring that I have quality time for me, my extended family and especially my girlfriends. Whether I'm at the Big Day Out supporting live music, wining and dining, or visiting my parents and sister down south, I make sure I always have something amazing to look forward to!

Health and wellbeing are also high on my agenda - I try to work out at the gym nearly every morning before I start my working day, and I love to take Zumba classes a couple of times a week.

How did your love for jewellery and gemstones come about?

In 2007, I discovered beading. I had an 'Aha! moment', purchased all the tools and materials I needed to get started and taught myself out of a book. I later took an eight-week beading course, and soon realised I could have a business, not just a hobby.

My 'why' factor would have to be because I absolutely adore how lustrous pearls, luminous gemstones, punchy corals and the other materials I love to work with can be combined to create jewellery that is high-end, luxurious and feels wonderful to wear.

You do a lot of custom designs, what do you particularly enjoy about creating these pieces?

Custom designing jewellery is extremely rewarding - usually my clients have some idea as to what they want, or the kind of look they're after, and they just can't find it in the shops. My ability to create bespoke jewellery using the perfect colours and materials makes their commissioned piece very special, personal and unique - I think that's why I love custom design so much - the knowledge that no one else in the world owns that exact piece!

What do you love about having your own business?

I am the owner, director and creative talent of Make a Strand. As such, I control every aspect of my business from start to finish - I have 100 per cent accountability. While I love the influence and control I have in this position, it can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, being the sole person making decisions and taking action can be a real burden, so I'm learning to outsource certain aspects to other fabulous professional women in my community, in terms of graphic design, financials and the like.

The plus side is that, as I only answer to myself, I must be vigilant in holding myself accountable and always strive to perform at my best across all areas of the business - I enjoy that challenge and using my different skill-sets in my own business.

On the creative side, I've discovered that creating jewellery for photo-shoots not only pushes my creativity and choice of materials, it also builds exciting exposure for my brand, so I absolutely adore this side of my work. These collaborative projects are a win-win for all involved.

Click to win the Downton Abbey Season 3 DVDWhat has been the most challenging experience of having your own business?

Make a Strand will be five in October 2013 and it has been a challenge to accept that it is still in 'start-up' phase. I had an epiphany recently when I realised that most small business owners focus solely on their start-up - they live and breathe it.

Instead, I've had to continue freelancing to earn my bread and butter, raise my young family and help support my husband - I have therefore been able to invest limited time, energy and resources into Make a Strand, compared to what I'd really like to do. When I look at it from this viewpoint, I'm honestly thrilled that I've achieved so much in building Make a Strand's brand, establishing my product and profile!

You're the artisan in residence at the pop up She Inspires Business Centre, what do you find rewarding working from there?

Without a doubt, carving time into my week to be creative and conceive and complete new design projects has been absolutely awesome. I usually work from home, and find I can get bogged down in never ending domestic duties if I'm not careful!

The opportunity to meet and get to know other like-minded business women has also been a wonderful aspect of my time as She Inspires' first Artisan in Residence.

The Make a Strand Facebook community is very active and involved, do you really enjoy being on Facebook? How have you made Facebook work for you?

Once I understood how visual Facebook can be, I decided that it is the perfect social media platform for me and Make a Strand, as I love to photograph and share pretty much every piece I create. I admit I'm not too formulaic or strategic about what I post, but I definitely look forward to sharing my latest materials, designs, inspiration, commissions and particularly photo-shoot projects with my community.

I've found more recently that people are willing to communicate, make suggestions and post a lot of praise for my work, which is truly encouraging. I've had many requests for me to teach my designs, (but unfortunately by women in the US, when I'm based in Sydney!) I especially love it when clients share pictures of themselves out and about wearing my designs - the variety of 'looks' and events is very exciting.

I guess I've made Facebook work for me by being very upfront, honest and genuine in my posts. While I try to keep a mostly positive slant, I don't hesitate to share my 'down' times and am also happy to answer questions about what materials I use and how others can learn my craft.

What are your 5 jewellery style tips for women who want to show their own signature look?

1. Be sure to wear jewellery that suits your frame. For example, I love how big, bosomy women can wear funky, bright, chunky jewellery that makes a statement - whereas delicate chains or finer strands would suit a more petite woman.

2. Choose jewellery that expresses your personal style - for example, if your clothes are typically a classic cut, you can't go wrong with pearls or a combination of elegant beads in subdued colours. If you like a tribal look, turquoise and corals and focal beads with dangles will help to express your style. As a general rule, choose jewellery that enhances your clothes.

3. More is more when it comes to jewellery! If you love necklaces, don't be afraid to wear a few at a time in a layered effect. As long as the styles and colours complement your outfit, you will look fabulous! Personally, I love to wear a choker, and then a couple of longer necklaces to create a layered look. It's adventurous and fun.

4. To define your signature look, decide your favourite colours and combinations (and what works well with your complexion) and have pieces made just for you. Wearing one-off jewellery is a great way to express yourself and set you apart from the crowd. Think of it as building your 'jewellery wardrobe'.

5. Once you have a 'jewellery wardrobe', take the time to look after it. Occasionally wipe your pieces with a soft cloth (not fluffy) to remove any perspiration, sun-block or make-up. Have a silver cloth on hand to polish up any metal-based beads or clasps to keep them looking good. And be very careful with your pearls - never spray perfume or deodorant near them (chemicals can destroy the pearls' nacre) and be sure to give them a careful clean to keep them lustrous.

Meet Amanda Webb

Meet Amanda Webb

Szarka Carter of Magpie Gemstones making her jewelry
Amanda Webb is the jewellery artist and solo entrepreneur behind Make a Strand.

Visit Amanda on LinkedIn and Facebook where she regularly shares her latest projects, jewellery designs, photo-shoots and inspiration.

Amanda is also the inaugural Artist in Residence and often creates new pieces at the She Inspires Business Centre.

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