10 Questions with Shirley K Lloyd – Scottish Island Jewellery
Shirley K Lloyd lives on the Isle of Bute and has started her own business selling island jewellery inspired by the Scottish Islands. I asked Shirley 10 questions about her life on Bute and the difficulties she has faced setting up a business on an island.
1) What brought you to the Isle of Bute?
I moved to Bute as a child when my parents bought a hotel on the island. They were attracted by the beauty of the area and viewed it as a great place to raise their family. As a teenager, I moved to the mainland to gain my trade through college and Art school. I returned to Bute to raise my own family and centre my business from the island.
2) How did you find island life when you first moved to Bute?
As I was quite young when I moved here, at first, there was not much difference to me. The big changes for me were starting a new school and making new friends. When I returned to the island, the lack of facilities and choice were an issue, especially when shopping, but fortunately I travel to the mainland regularly and I can live with this. The island has a strong crafting community and a local Crafters Association that work well together. With the developments of the internet my business is really taking off.
3) What are the main differences from living on the mainland?
Island life has its limits with the ferries times and deliveries sometimes take longer to arrive or can’t be delivered at all, with the cost of the ferry travel also affecting this. However, there is a strong sense of community here and it is a great place to live with lots of free things to explore when the weather is good.
4) What are the main attractions on Bute? What is your favourite place on the island?
Bute is “The Unexplored Isle”. There are fabulous walks and cycle routes to be explored. These are fun, free and family friendly. Also, there are a lot of remote beaches to while away the hours on. Being a tourist island, there are some fantastic places to visit from the outstanding gothic Mount Stuart House and Gardens, a restored Victorian Fernary, to ancient ruins like St Blanes Chapel and Rothesay Castle. Finally, there are lots of opportunities for outdoor activities with award winning golf courses and fisheries.
5) What is unique about your business – Scottish Island Jewellery?
Scottish Island Jewellery showcases a wide range of handcrafted Jewellery made locally on Bute using Silver and Gold. The range has expanded and now includes any Scottish Island. I have recently been asked for designs to including the Isle of Wight so may be broadening my horizons further afield. The island range has proved very popular with locals and those who have links to Scottish islands. Customers take a huge amount of pride when wearing this range, which reminds them of their roots or happy memories.
Alongside my island range, I also offer a very personal service where I can repair, remodel and design unique pieces for customers. This can be done face to face or via telephone consultations. One of my favourite recent pieces was remodelling a widows wedding ring to create an interlinking heart pendant of their two rings. Another favourite piece was turning a customers mothers broken and dated engagement ring into a bespoke ring that treasures the original stones, while maintaining the sentimental value in a new loved piece.
6) What are the main products that you sell?
The Scottish Island range includes Pendants, Cufflinks, Earrings, Clip Charms, Pin Badges, Bracelets, stainless steel Bangles and stainless steel Key Rings. All are available in the shape of any island in silver and gold. I also do other designs and commissions and re-modelling of any Jewellery is available
7) Why did you decide to create jewellery with the theme of Scottish islands?
On my return to Bute I decided to trial a Bute pendant at local craft fairs. These soon proved to be extremely popular with the locals and visitors alike. I decided to extend the range to include other types of “Bute Jewellery”. I was then approached by customers looking for other islands like Skye and Iona, so from this interest “Scottish Island Jewellery” was born.
8) Have you been to any other Scottish islands? If so, which is your favourite and why?
Living in the West coast of Scotland there are many other islands close by eg Cumbrae and Arran, both of which I can see from Bute. I lived and worked in Skye for a few years after graduating from Art School. This was a far different experience as it was a lot more rural. However my heart lies in Bute and this is where I have settled.
9) Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5-10 years?
Having a young family who are fast growing up, I currently work from home in a compact workshop. I promote my work through craft fairs, local outlets and my website. I am currently developing my business through my website and use of the internet. This is opening up many opportunities for me and helping me to extend my ranges. I would like in the future to have my own shop, incorporating a workshop where people can drop in and see me work.
10) Where can I find out more information about Scottish Island Jewellery?
I recently visited Bute you can read about it by clicking on the following link. ‘Trains, Ferries and Automobiles’ – a day out on the Isle of Bute.
Photo’s courtesy of Scottish island Jewellery