Hi, I'm Julie, creator of Forgotten China!
Working in a job that I didn’t love, I started Forgotten China in 2013 as something of an experiment. I was curious to see if the hobby that brought me so much joy would resonate with others – and if they would buy my pieces! - and whether I could do what I loved on a more full-time basis.
I started off by taking a stall at a weekly farmers’ market selling cake stands and teacup candles and within a year, I had grown the business to a stage where I was supplying retail outlets across Ireland, taking corporate gift orders and creating bridal party jewellery in addition to selling pieces online to customers all over the world.
One of the most exciting parts of the business for me has been the creation of the Forgotten China jewellery pieces which started completely by accident, when some of my cake stands blew over in the wind at the weekly outdoor (and regularly windy!) market. Going home from the market that day, in tears and surrounded by broken cake stands, I decided (with some gentle nudging from my boyfriend!) to try and create something beautiful from the broken china. We were going to a wedding a few months later and he suggested that I try and make some cufflinks for him from the china… and promised to wear them, no matter how they turned out! And so started a journey of trying to cut up tiny pieces of (already broken) vintage china, filing it and hand finishing it into a jewellery piece that could be worn and loved on a daily basis.
Months later, just in time for the wedding, the Forgotten China jewellery range was born! The original pieces differ from the current pieces in style and in shape but the principle is still the same; Forgotten China takes something old, broken and no longer in use and with it, tries to create something beautiful, unique and that tells a story.
Over the years, the Forgotten China jewellery range has become the primary focus of my business with the pieces having been exported to over 40 countries around the world. New pieces are continuously being added to this jewellery range which now includes rings, pendants, drop earrings, stud earrings and cufflinks.
The jewellery range has also allowed me to grow the commission side of my business where customers give (or post) their china to me and with it, I create their own bespoke jewellery pieces. Most customers are looking to gift on the finished jewellery pieces to family members as a reminder of someone very special that was/is a part of their lives. It’s such a thoughtful gift to receive and a pretty special one to receive.
Four years later and I still wake up feeling excited and inspired about the business. It’s been a rollercoaster, but I’ve never regretted taking the plunge and following my dream. I’ve learned so much – often the hard way – about ceramics, jewellery-making, business and myself, and there’s still something new to discover each day. You can find out more about me and my journey over on my Facebook and Instagram page.