Samantha Kelly, Creative Director, General Manager and Co-Owner of Kaiuki Diamonds and online course instructor at Jewellery House Design, has worn many hats throughout her career. From jewellery designer, manufacturer, educator and business owner, Samantha’s skill sets have afforded her great insight into the diverse industry roles available.
Each of Samantha’s varied roles has provided value for what they have taught her over the years, and once the pandemic hit, it became obvious how beneficial it was to have acquired a broad skill set.
“It was the first time I wasn’t able to be at the bench making and finally had the time for more designing. Before the pandemic, my main source of income was through manufacturing and the smallest amount was through designing as I never had enough time to allocate for it,” Samantha says.
The pandemic also proved to be a perfect time to engage with her audience and promote the online education platform, Jewellery House Design.
“During the pandemic and many lockdowns, there was a demand for online education. Thanks to social media I was able to share my work across the world and build an audience there. With the help of my co-worker, we created an online jewellery design platform where we teach via online video.”
In terms of her audience, Samantha has noticed that students are ambitious in their learning, are eager to find their way into the industry and determined to diversify their skill sets.
“We have seen such a high demand for them wanting more out of their careers and to grow further themselves. They are fresh and eager to learn whatever they can. It’s great to see in the industry that can be old fashioned and set in its ways. It’s good to branch out and learn new skills.”
A new skill many jewellery designers are now learning is the use of digital technologies and applications to bring life to their ideas, a change that Samantha has seen positively received.
“Jewellery designers seem excited to moveto the digital side for jewellery design. I found designers/jewellers preferred to invest in tablets/iPads than paints and sketch materials. The iPads are more convenient as they are easily portable and can be used for other aspects in business.”
One role Samantha dreamed about from the beginning of her career in the industry was business owner. The variety of skills shehas acquired throughout the years made this possible.
“Ever since my first day as an apprentice I had always wanted to have my own business,” Samantha exclaims. “Starting the business was all about creating my mark in the industry. To be seen for my own style of work.”
The diversity of Samantha’s skill set has been a great advantage to her successful career in the jewellery industry. Self taught and through traditional learning pathways, Samantha has discovered a valuable and varied career and hopes diversity in job roles will continue to grow in popularity through the new generations in the industry.
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