I set up Honey Willow ten years ago. After moving to Bath from London, I had attended some local jewellery-making classes, which re-kindled my love of the craft.
So just after my youngest child was born, I opened an online shop
and named it after my daughters Honey and Willow. I particularly wanted to make meaningful jewellery representing loved ones and life's milestones.
Honey Willow started out from a corner of my home and initially I could only work on it while my children slept. However it soon took over both our home and most of my days! I worked very hard to build the business, but also learned a lot and it has been really enjoyable. It's been a privilege to be able to do something I love and working from home has enabled me both to look after my children and manage my Crohn's disease.
Now I’m helped by a wonderful team - and we’ve left my kitchen table for Bath’s artisan quarter of Walcot Street.
My favourite part of the job is still designing and making the jewellery. Although most of the day-to-day making is now done by my team, I still love nothing more than getting the chance to sit down with a cup of tea and my tools and get into the creative flow.
I live with my husband Nige and three kids Hugo, Honey and Willow. Any spare time I get, I love spending with friends, reading, gardening and taking April the pug for walks around beautiful Bath.
Favourite jewellery to make:
I really enjoy making bridal jewellery
. I love both the challenge and also the relaxing repetitiveness of making a detailed piece! And it’s amazing to make something someone will wear on their wedding day.
Favourite jewellery to give:
Definitely our necklaces personalised with names
, words and dates. Many of my friends and family have their own and it’s so rewarding to see how often they wear them and how nice they look.
Among the most meaningful pieces I’ve given is a necklace to my cousin to celebrate her engagement, with her name, her fiancé (now husband’s) name and their wedding date. And after losing my dad very suddenly, I gave each of my aunts a commemorative necklace of interlocking rings, each ring stamped with the initial of each sibling, to represent that they would forever be connected. It's very comforting to see how often my aunts wear their necklaces, keeping my dad close.
Favourite piece to wear:
I’m not sure I can pick just one piece, so I’m going to pick two. My favourite necklace is the Amelie
. The little rings sit so prettily together, each one given a different texture and finish. It’s versatile - I sometimes wear it with three rings to represent my children, sometimes four rings to represent my four decades and sometimes five rings to represent my family. It gets a lot of compliments.
Gabby modelling the Amelie necklace
And my favourite earrings are our gold hoops
, so comfortable and perfect for any occasion.
Gabby modelling the sturdy gold hoops
What do I like about Honey Willow:
Honey Willow is a positive business. Our jewellery makes our customers happy and means a lot to them, so it’s very rewarding. And we’re a positive team. We get on well, we enjoy helping our customers and each other. Some of the ladies that taught me some of my skills at the local jewellery-making classes later came to work at Honey Willow. They have really helped my business grow. And I hope I've been able to help them a bit too - its been great to see their own creative businesses flourishing alongside their work at Honey Willow.