Swinton local Saskia Wrycroft, 21, started making jewellery as a hobby at the age of 14, and now runs an incredibly successful small business on online marketplace Etsy.
Wrycroft took her business full-time at age 19 after struggling to find a graphic design apprenticeship, with support from family and friends encouraging her move to being a full-time jeweller.
“The majority of my family are actually artists, most families want their kids to be doctors but mine are the complete opposite, like “Please no, go for a creative career!”.”
Prior to lockdown, Wrycroft made a large portion of her sales at local markets and stockists such as Nexus art café – which recently closed due to pressures of the pandemic.
“I used to make around £200 worth of sales a month from there, sadly it’s shut down now which is really unfortunate”
“All of my markets are cancelled, so all of my revenue from that disappears – a few stockists who usually buy wholesale have cancelled orders, so that definitely impacted me a lot”
A change in in-person sales is not the only way Wrycroft’s business has been impacted by the pandemic, with global shipping issues also having a negative effect.
“A lot of my gemstones come from Brazil and Madagascar, and there’s been quite a lot of difficulty getting the stones at the moment, so my core collection is sadly coming to an end, just because I can’t get the pieces that I need for them really”
“I’ve had a few people complain about the postage delays – I think second class in the UK is taking around 12 days for a parcel to arrive”
Luckily a huge increase in online sales has kept the business successful during trying times, with Saskia reporting a 220% increase in sales online.
Nevertheless, Wrycroft also commented on the lack of support for small-businesses in the first place:
“With the government furlough schemes, it wasn’t very clear on how self-employed people could access that, especially depending on how recent a business you are, you have to have done so many tax years to be able to qualify
“It wasn’t really explained, and I even feel like Etsy could have even explained that to small businesses as they have so many on their platform”
Saskia expressed some useful tips for how businesses can be supported through these tough times:
“Online is best to help, but I think a lot of people leave things to the last minute, and especially small businesses, its supporting but it’s not very helpful – I think people can support businesses by just being a bit more understanding of everything that’s going on”
With nearly 3,000 sales and a glowing five-star rating, Saskia’s handmade crystal and fossil jewellery is available with free UK delivery from her Etsy shop.