Army wife Fiona Dowling believes you can make jewellery anywhere as long as you have the tools and materials. In fact, she started her business, Jewellery Moves, in Cyprus by running workshops on the beach. She tells us more about her truly flexible business…
Tell us about your family
We’re both Scottish and childhood sweethearts and we’ve been married for 12 years. We have three beautiful boys and a German Shepherd. This is our seventh quarter.
How and why did you start up your business?
I graduated with a BA in Jewellery and Silversmithing then attended The Royal College of Art. I worked in London designing jewellery collections and continued through postings in Larkhill then Woolwich, but as postings became further away it became impossible. Wherever we ended up, I made sure that I had my workbench and tools. It was living by the sea in Cyprus that gave me the vision to put these tools to use.
The concept behind Jewellery Moves is the ability to ‘move’. I can run my workshops anywhere. In Cyprus most Saturdays you would find me teaching small groups whilst looking out onto the Med and I then started to host workshops in people’s homes. Dining tables were transformed into workbenches and friends gathered for a night in with a twist. It was amazing to see what could be created with basic materials and some guidance.
What are the pros and cons of running this type of business?
One of the best things about being an Army wife is the opportunity to meet new people. After years of making jewellery on my own, I’m now loving being part of a group and passing my skills on to others. It’s all about gathering together and feeling satisfied with what you have created.
What feedback have you had?
The military community is so supportive. I aim to teach in small groups and these have been well received in various military patches.
What are your future plans?
My mantra is ‘where the experience is as precious as the jewellery you make’. You can make jewellery anywhere – you don’t need to be constricted to a traditional workshop. I’ll keep searching for interesting locations now that I’m back in the UK.
What advice would you give to other Army spouses thinking of setting up in business?
Do something that you love. In my case it’s jewellery and people. As a military spouse you need to be flexible both in business and in your family life.
Follow Fiona on Instagram @jewellerymoves