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”

Credit – Saskia Wrycroft

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.

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