I have always been fascinated with other peoples stories on how they got started in their chosen profession and how they got the be where they are today. So I decided to write a series of blog post detailing my journey in the jewellery trade.
Now unlike many people I know and follow in the trade, I never had a real passion for it when I was a younger, I always found rare and valuable things fascinating but I never really focused on jewellery. Also, I didn’t have any relatives in the trade who inspired me to follow in their footsteps.
But looking back, I had a few opportunities to get started in the trade much younger than I did and some I really wish I had taken but the one that really sticks out in my mind is that I decided not to go for a diamond setters apprenticeship when I was 17 or 18 and it is one of those decisions in life that has always made me wonder, what if?
Instead, I kind of bounced around from one dead end job to another before going back to college at 21 to study business and pursue some kind of career in finance.
The Pawn King!
While I was studying for my business qualification, I watched a show on channel 4 called The Pawn King about the guy who started borro.com and little did I know that watching that 30 minute show would change my life forever.
I found the idea behind pawnbroking intriguing and began to start looking into this world of loaning money against assets and obviously, jewellery is a big part of the industry and knowing how to value it is extremely important.
After leaving college, I was a little lost about which way to go and began working towards becoming an accountant as it was something that I was naturally quite good at and accountants make decent money. But it just left me cold inside, I wanted to do something that excited me but until I found out what that was, I needed a job!
Gold, Gold, Gold!!
To tide myself over, I got a job working for a payday lender and while dealing with loans and cashing cheques was tedious, the one part of the job that I loved was buying scrap gold and from the moment I bought my first piece, I was hooked.
I went on every course the company offered and would pick anyone and everyone’s brain about this side of the business. This really was the starting point for me, while many people I worked with didn’t enjoy this part, I would happily deal with anyone who came in looking to sell gold.
This was in 2011, when gold prices went crazy and we were buying in lots of gold, so much so that I’m not sure I had any fingerprints at the time due to the amount of acid tests I was doing.
Unfortunately, the company I was working for was pretty poorly run and I could see that the writing was on the wall. They also never introduced pawnbroking, although the business would have made a killing on it!
So, I decided to start looking around for another job. I knew I wanted to stay in the industry but wanted to go somewhere where I would learn more and I eventually got a job with a company that offered a pawnbroking service and was told that I would learn much more about jewellery and how to value it.
This wasn’t to be the case though as 99% of what we bought in was electronics and while technology is fun, I wasn’t learning what I wanted to and became a bit disillusioned with the job. It was time to start looking for something else.
Like a Kick in the Gut
Things kind of went a bit crazy at this point! While looking for another job, I suffered a partial tear in my abdomen and basically couldn’t walk or do anything for a good few months and while my employers were really great about it, I knew that my time there was numbered as going back to being on my feet all day and lifting tv’s and hi-fi’s wasn’t conceivable.
At this point, going back to training to be an accountant seemed like a feasible option but the thought of it filled me with dread as I hate being stuck in an office.
Making a Bold Decision
I knew I needed to do something and always had this belief that if I was going to be successful, it was going to be because of something I created, not from a job and I have an extremely supportive family.
So after a couple of months of planning, in September 2012, I placed my first order from a jewellery supplier and listed them for sale. Haywoods Jewellery was born!
Now, I had no contacts in the trade at this point, all I had was some savings, a business plan and drive to see if I could do it on my own.
The craziest part of my life was about to begin, it was time to build a business!