DESIGNER, CREATOR, DIRECTOR, ENTREPRENEUR
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
I started my venture into the jewellery world at the young age of 13, dusting the shelves in a jewellery store in my hometown of Nambour, Qld. Who knew it would turn out to be the only profession I would ever work in?
Upon graduating from Year 12, I was sure I wanted to learn to become a manufacturing jeweller.
I started my apprenticeship as soon as I finished school, where I was fortunate to train under a traditional Australian jeweller as well as a modern German goldsmith. Both mentors brought very different skills to the table, and through their teachings set me up with great skills and knowledge to continue my career. I set up a small workshop at home by the end of the first year of my apprenticeship with just enough tools to get me through. Here I was able to practise and perfect many of the manufacturing and setting techniques I was learning at work. My friends and family always got some pretty exciting birthday presents!
It was here I first started my own business. I was designing and creating a range of gold jewellery featuring Tahitian pearls and Australian sapphires for a lovely elderly gentleman who was a travelling salesman. He knew I was still only an apprentice, but he gave me a chance and I had the opportunity to create some amazing pieces which made it as far as Paris!
Through my apprenticeship I won a scholarship (which is only given out every two years) to train as a gemmologist, which I completed in 2003 and finished the third highest in Australia with an average score of 97%.
I had started my own business when I was just 19 and at 21, I commenced full time self-employment.
WHEN OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
Through my gemmological training I had sufficient knowledge to commence work as a pearl grader. A chance position came up after a manager of a local Broome pearl farm contacted my family’s business looking to buy playground equipment for his children. I had 24 hours to decide if I should accept a temporary position grading pearls for a Broome pearl farm…and I did! So, upon completing my apprenticeship (in fact the very day after) I jumped on a plane and headed to Broome. A contract which was supposed to be for one month soon turned into three, and I began to fall in love with Broome. I took up permanent residency in Broome at the beginning of 2002, running a successful wholesale manufacturing business and thriving amongst the rugged Kimberley landscape and pristine white sandy beaches.
FRIENDSHIP, COURAGE AND AMBITION
In 2005, at just 24 years of age, I opened Jewels of the Kimberley. It consisted of a small showroom located on a side street at the end of Broome’s main shopping precinct. Small was a great way to start with minimum overheads and only myself and my best friend of 18 years at the helm. With only $500 left in the bank and my best friend working for loose change, I opened the doors of the 19th jewellery shop in Broome; a town with a local population of only 15,000; and despite contrary belief so began a successful and thriving business.
At the end of 2011 I said goodbye to the romance of the little studio and moved into a location three times the size; a huge risk in the middle of the GFC. After what turned out to be a four month refit, I opened the doors of our new studio, fitted with state-of-the art cabinets and lighting – and a very excited team! I now have an incredibly skilled and vibrant team of nine, (of which I can’t believe I’m the oldest…at the age of 40) who I can confidently say, truly love their job! With four jewellers and a dynamic customer care team of five, we are excited and inspired and look forward to creating your next unique piece!