Friday, October 15, 2010

Feature Friday featuring Sarah Marks from Tiny Gems

Welcome to another of our fabulous Feature Friday articles! Today we're chatting to Sarah Marks who is the founder of Tiny Gems

Thanks so much for chatting with us today Sarah - can you tell our readers a little more about you and Tiny Gems?
Hello my name is Sarah Marks and I am the founder of I design and make my jewellery under the company name of Hemisphere Handcrafted Jewellery; many people ask me where I came up with the name Hemisphere. Picture the scene; I’d just started playing at jewellery making as a hobby and a way to de-stress from my very stressful full time job. I would sit in the lounge watching TV with my husband, a bead tray on my lap trying to be creative and tiny beads would be flying off in all directions. I said to my husband, where did that one go? He replied I think that one hit the hemisphere. And a name was born.

I have always had a love of all things crafty/arty and like to try experimenting with new things all the time. I am very happily married and have a gorgeous black Labrador of 11 years and a lovable cat of 13 years who are our children.

Tiny-Gems currently has a large selection of costume jewellery, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, sets, rings, hair combs, hair vines, tiaras, all made using highest quality materials, we offer a bespoke design service and are very happy to make amendments to any of our designs to meet your requirements. We have recently started to make one off bespoke fascinators on request to match special outfits which are proving very popular.

Tiny-Gems currently feature another designer – Debbie who design’s and makes her jewellery under the name beadsandglass. I met Debbie through doing local craft fairs and we both have very different design/production styles so we complement each other very well. This allows for more variety of products on tiny-gems although, occasionally, we have spooky moments where we make very similar items. Both Debbie and I are self taught jewellery designers and we love what we do.

We have recently become a supplier for, a wedding and events planner and are really excited about this new opportunity and working closely with them in the future.

Where did the idea of running this as a business come from?
I was a senior manager in the banking industry and had been so for 14 years, wrongly assuming I was in a job for life. I had recently been promoted and everything was fantastic when a bombshell dropped that my whole department was at risk of redundancy. This lasted for over 90 days with much uncertainty and upset for my colleagues and I. I was offered a job if I wanted one; however, I had completely lost faith in the company after the way everyone was treated. I eventually left at Christmas time 6 months after the bombshell had dropped and made the very scary decision after always being employed to begin a new career on a self employed basis. I am delighted that I was brave enough to do it and haven’t looked back once. Banking is now just a dim and distant memory which gave me the opportunity to start my own business.

What do you love most about your business?
Now that is a tough question, there is so much I love about it. I think it would have to be when I meet with someone to discuss their requirements for either a piece of jewellery or a tiara for their wedding or even a fascinator to match their dress for a day at the races. We discuss their ideas and I make suggestions and ask lots of questions to find out their likes and dislikes. I show them examples of my work and we work together to design an item that will be exactly what they are looking for.

Once the design is completed I absolutely love to see the delight on the clients face when they see their item. Tears of happiness are not unheard of, which makes all my hard work worthwhile. I also love sitting in my studio with my ipod on staring at rows and rows of beads and wire, just waiting for design ideas and inspiration to hit me. The worst day of my business beats the best day of working for someone else hands down every day of the week.

What would you like to change?
There are a couple of things I’d like to change; firstly, I would love someone else to handle all the website administration like listing items, photographing items etc so that I could get on with designing and making jewellery. I would imagine most people starting out feel exactly the same way until we all get successful and can employ people to do those things for us. Another change would be to have more hours in the day (maybe that one is a pipe dream and I’m sure I’m not the first to have requested this change).

What is your aim for the next year?
My aim for the next year is to increase tiny-gems activity with more promotion and getting more business contacts and affinities through local and national contacts. Along with expanding our product lines and getting more new designers on board the tiny-gems journey. To take 1st prize in the jewellery design competition I am entered into for tiaras and necklaces.

Where do you ultimately see yourself?
Ultimately I see tiny-gems as being the name everyone thinks of for designer costume jewellery and accessories nationwide.

What are your Top 5 tips for new Business Women?
Tip 1 - There is no such thing as can’t; you can do anything that you set your mind to the only limits to your potential are yourself or more specifically your own self doubt. With good planning you can achieve your goals. Set good clear goals and how you are going to achieve them to avoid getting distracted and flitting from one thing to another and achieving nothing.

Tip 2 - It’s not personal it’s business, don’t assume everyone wants you to succeed and will work to your timescales make sure you have everything in writing with your suppliers.

Tip 3 - Asking for help is a virtue not a weakness. Do not be afraid of asking as this could very likely avoid costly or timely mistakes; remember, no-one is fantastic at everything so play to your strengths and the strengths of those around you.

Tip 4 - Networking is absolutely necessary, meeting up with like minded business people is invaluable to discuss problems and pick up tips and hints that you may never have thought of like suggestions of suppliers to use or not use from the people you meet.  ou may even be lucky enough to forge great friendships as well as business contacts. If, like me, your business is craft inspired, get yourself along to local craft fairs even if you don’t make vast amounts of money to start with it is great mixing with like minded people and a craft business can be a lonely one so it’s a great way of meeting people and getting out of your studio.

Tip 5 - Aim high, the sky is the limit, have faith in your own ability.

If any prospective clients are reading this article and have fallen in love with your designs, how can they contact you?
I can be contacted via our website at, by email at, I'm also on Facebook where they can "like" me to get updates on new products at!/pages/Hemisphere-Handcrafted-Jewellery-at-Tiny-Gems/186496003750 or they can Tweet me at

Thanks so much for talking to us today Sarah - your designs are really beautiful and I think the way you started your business will resonate with a lot of people these days.

Remember, if you are a businesswoman and would like your products/service to be featured on our regular Friday slot, don't forget to drop us an email at with the words "Feature Friday" in the subject line and we'll get back to you with details.  Or check out our forum at - happy to see you there!


  1. Hey Sarah - Love everything, some of your products are really unusual and you need that to stand out in this business. Great tips as well x

    Ali @

  2. Thanks for that :o) Having a fantastic day today and this just tops the lot x

  3. I love unusual jewellery, things you can't but in the shops, so well done you for creating pieces that are talking points!