It's almost been 10 years since SSEK Jewelry produced our first ever collection. The beginning of several things: funky collection names, a journey of evolving into full magpie, and creating everything I wanted and dreamt of.
Coconut Boy was its name. As always, it was a penchant of mine to be kinda different, so the collection name had almost nothing to do with jewelry.
Coconut Boy, 2014, SSEK Jewelry
Red, Orange, Pink tones
Blue, Green tones
The bracelet series for Coconut Boy was an absolute joy to create. Back then, there were approximately 5 local stores I would scour for gemstones and beads of the oddest shapes. Juxtaposition of shapes and sizes was a very early anchor in our journey.
Long shell shards, wooden square beads, round red Bamboo coral. The closest to semi-precious stones I could afford were in the form of "chips", which are still widely available. Chips of aventurine and aquamarine were my favourite. Aventurine is a green stone that looks closest to Jade, which I love, and Aquamarine chips were the cutest blue ice looking stones.
Coral Shelf necklace: wood oval beads, red Bamboo coral, pink Bamboo Coral, shell stick beads
Blue Shelf: Blue Howlite beads, silver coloured discs, Aquamarine chip beads
I loved these necklaces because they lent so much character and colour to everyday outfits, and sooo much texture. Hardware wise, we really couldn't afford gold plated materials so I chose a rustic brass looking alloy chain. Everything else was very cheaply plated but strong enough for the work.
Honestly didn't know what I was planning for long term, at this point of 2014. I just knew I wanted to design, create, and paint a cohesive collection to present to the world.
Did I know I was going to do this full time? Not really. I think I was in my first full time job, creating as a hobby and just seeing if anyone really liked stuff like that.
Mixed Tassel necklace: glass beads, silver plated leaf charm, blue Howlite drop, fabric tassel
One of the necklaces that was sheer, unadulterated expression. Absolutely loved mixing materials together: hard, soft, metal, fabric, stones, chains. My favourite thing to do in town would be going into Accessorize or Diva and looking at all the boho styled pieces. No surprises how it carved me into the designer I am today.
The bestselling necklace of 2014: Gold Coast
These were sold out within perhaps 2 flea markets and that was a huge deal for me. Gold Coast was something I never expected myself to create, and ended up being one of my favourite, most worn pieces. (I do have the original piece somewhere I think..)
Simple, chic, yet a great mix of colours and materials. The white component was a shell bead with 3 holes punched in. On its own, seemingly unremarkable. However I think this was an integral piece that jumpstarted me experimenting and working with wires to create shapes, to bring different elements together and produce something completely new.
One of our first fairs featuring Coconut Boy, 2014
The reception of Coconut Boy was generally fair (no pun intended) but I remember the growing struggle through all the fairs I started with. Flea markets cost a range of $50 - $60 a day, and there were times I couldn't sell even a $25 bracelet. Enticing a consumer to choose a handcrafted object over a commercial, mass produced object, was the same struggle as we have today lol. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and at one point I discounted my bracelets from $25 to $18.50, and still nobody got any.
Writing these today makes me feel awfully bittersweet-- everything that could go wrong went wrong, but y'know what they say, there's only up from the bottom.
I might not have been perfect, and I might have disappointed some customers since we began, but I'm very much human and yesss I don't have a PR team to lend me advice or put out any fires, but I can confidently say that these humble beginnings have made me deeply appreciative of every person that took an interest in SSEK Jewelry, bought anything, followed us on socials from the start, and continue to be kind to our community.
I am also deeply proud of how far we've come from 2014.
Were you there with us in 2014? :)