The Stories of Two Young Emerging Jewellers

Australia’s jewellery scene is a rich tapestry of mostly small businesses ready to assist fresh faces entering the industry.

Written by Jewellery World

Written and Interviewed by Reanne Chidiac

“Once I shook off all my doubts and concerns and just launched, I realised that I was the only one holding myself back.” Em Watson reflects on the start of her now ten-year-old business. “The business you don’t ever launch is the business that will never succeed.” Em is the sole jeweller and designer at the helm of Momoke in Port Macquarie, specialising in handmade custom gold jewellery. She is one of two young Australian jewellers we spoke with about running their own businesses.

Australia’s jewellery scene is a rich tapestry of mostly small businesses ready to assist fresh faces entering the industry. Building a community of like-minded suppliers, contractors and jewellers is one of the greatest rewards of running her own business, Em says—so is the freedom of design, materials and processes that align with her ethical values. 

Source: Mokome Design
Source: Mokome Design

Justin Dončevski, the jeweller, setter and designer behind Instinct Jewellers in southwest Sydney, started his own business in 2021, and it has gradually grown through customer loyalty and referrals. Client satisfaction is his greatest reward in business. “They love to be involved in the design process, in direct conversation with the jeweller,” he says. While he finds fulfilment in guiding nervous clients in purchasing diamond jewellery, he recognises that most have gained a fair bit of new knowledge online. “Most of my customers are only asking one question! To lab-grown or not to lab-grown.” Their biggest concern, he reflects, is the price factor. 

One of the new challenges young jewellers face is the plethora of information clients now access online. Competition is at a global scale, and as well as chasing illusive trends in fashion, design and marketing, it is also part of a jeweller’s practice to stay abreast of fast technological developments within the industry.

Source: Imperial Jewellery
Source: Imperial Jewellery

“I’m thankful that today’s customers have this information available to them so they can make the decisions that suit them best,” Em shares. Her clients are concerned with ethics and cost and want a high-quality product in the middle ground. Justin builds on his client’s newfound knowledge about materials to cement their confidence and trust in his young business. 

Naturally, starting any business comes with numerous challenges. Em and Justin both reflect on the difficulty of tending to business tasks outside their initial passion for designing and making jewellery. Grasping necessary skills in marketing, administration and time management can feel overwhelming.  Keeping up with social media is especially tricky. “From designing, manufacturing, and setting all my pieces… I find it hard to make time to record and make content, which is really holding up growth,” Justin notes. Em says, “I have put myself through some business courses, but at the end of the day, I’m a creative first.” Both have found that outsourcing the tasks they struggle with alleviates stress at work. 

“If you’re not able to manage all the demands of your business alone, that doesn’t mean you’re failing,” Em emphasises. Every motivational adage will remind us that you can always expect to run into failure on the road to success, but it’s no reason to quit. When asked what advice he would offer to young jewellers just starting on their own, Justin quotes Albert Einstein. “‘The man afraid to make mistakes never makes anything.’ It reminds me that no one is perfect, and every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow.”

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