Farah Qureshi Jewellery Design

Business Name: Farah Qureshi Jewellery Design

Support received: Start Up Loan

Location: London

Website:  http://www.farahqureshi.co.uk/


Having experienced cut-backs in her role as a teacher, Farah Qureshi, who had a strong interest in jewellery design, turned her thoughts to developing her hobby into a business.

Now working from home, as well as sharing a gallery at Oxo Tower Wharf, Farah Qureshi Jewellery Design has gone from strength to strength, and has been nominated for several awards.

We spoke to Farah about her start-up journey.

What was the motivation behind starting your own business?

I started the business as I have a strong interest in jewellery design and making.  I wanted to turn a hobby into a business. A few years ago, I was working in adult education, teaching jewellery making, when I started to experience cut backs.

I had taught in the adult education sector, and further and higher education for over fifteen years.  When I realised that the cut backs were continuing, I decided to do business training, to become up to date with current practice.  I have always loved art and like to work on a small scale, this led naturally to making jewellery.

Tell us more about Farah Qureshi Jewellery Design?

My business is creating collections twice a year, in keeping with the fashion seasons and working in precious ethical materials, both silver and eighteen carat ethical gold.

I like to make a range of different pieces such as necklaces, bracelets, rings, hair jewels, anklets and brooches. I currently work alone and go to specialist services such as stone setting, casting and laser cutting to help with the process of making jewellery. At the moment I am working from home and share a gallery at Oxo Tower Wharf with a collective of jewellery designers. There are facilities at the back of the gallery where designers can make jewellery.

What advantages are there to being based in the capital?

There are great advantages to having a business in London.  Suppliers are nearby and specialist services are also easy to get to. Also working from home means that the overheads are low.

What have been your highlights to date?

Recently I have started to win awards, and this year I have been chosen as one of the 100 small businesses for Small Business Saturday. I am a finalist for the Hounslow Business Awards and I was a finalist in the NotOnTheHighStreet make awards.

One of my rings, called the Fraser Island ring was shortlisted for the Product of the Year, in the category, Gifts for Women. The PR for the Small Business Saturday award has been good and being mentioned in The Guardian was good to see.

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“The business advice from the LSBC has been very good.  I think that fine tuning the business plan and helping with the cash flow was very helpful.

If I need guidance, even now, I can e-mail my mentor and he always replies. I have always been encouraged to think for myself, with regards to the business.”

What have been the challenges of starting your own business?

Building the business has been a challenge as the process has been slower than anticipated.  Having limited funds has meant that I am tied to a budget and need to be cautious with regards to how and where the funds are spent. There have been some hard lessons along the way; for example not budgeting enough in the beginning, and not thinking in the long term, has been a setback.

Having a jewellery business has expenses, in terms of materials, and the costs of these seem to be going up. It has been harder to gain the press coverage that I hoped for as well. This year the press coverage has improved and there is more to come which is good. I think that, with persistence, the hurdles of building a business can be overcome. I am happy running a business as I enjoy working for myself.  I don’t think that would be the case if I were to work full time for another company. I have read inspirational books about very successful business owners who have faced many challenges when building a business and have always realized that it would not be an easy option.

What advice have you received and how has it helped you?

The business advice from the LSBC has been very good.  I think that fine tuning the business plan and helping with the cash flow was very helpful.

If I need guidance, even now, I can e-mail my mentor and he always replies. I have always been encouraged to think for myself, with regards to the business.

It was not difficult to apply for a Start Up Loan and the process was very straight forward. The loan was used for marketing purposes and for attending international trade events which can be costly, even if there is funding available.

What does the future hold?

My future plans are to continue to produce the fine jewellery collections and to work more in 18 carat gold. I would like to gain more stockists both nationally and internationally, and I would like to continue to gain more PR and to develop the social media side of the business.

I would also like to have my own studio, which would be local.  It would be great to employ graduates as well. I would need to take part in more events and to gain more retail outlets to achieve this, building on what has been achieved.

Do you have any advice for others?

My advice for people who want to set up a business is to do lots of research about the industry that you want to go into.  It’s also good to be resilient, as there can be setbacks to overcome.  Be persistent and don’t too feel disheartened if things don’t run smoothly. It’s also good to find your own way, as there are many different ways to approach a business.

Images copyright Farah Qureshi Jewellery Design

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