I'm Katherine, and I work in product development as well as running my own jewellery business
Describe your job
As a product developer, I am part of the design team for an outdoor clothing company. I work alongside the designers to help make their designs a reality – this involved communication with factories, working on samples and fitting garments.
I work on my side business in the evenings and on weekends, making porcelain jewellery from my ‘home studio’ - my coffee table. This involves cutting, sanding and glazing the small pieces of porcelain into earrings and necklaces.
What are the most important skills you need to do your job?
I think for both my day time job and side business precision and patience are important. I have to be precise when measuring garments and working on patterns as well as when painting earrings.
Communication is another key skill I need for both jobs.
I spend a lot of my day job working with factories around the world so it is important I am clear when discussing garments with them.
With my jewellery business, I often reach out to shops and stockists to try and gain new contacts – something that was initially scary but now I really enjoy, you never know what is going to turn into a really exciting opportunity.
I left school and...
Did an art foundation course before studying Fashion Design at university (including a placement year).
I had quite a few jobs in a short space of time after graduating because I was trying to find the right fit – I tried both different roles and different types of companies till I found something I enjoyed.
I started a pottery class in 2016 as a hobby and in 2018 I made my first pair of earrings from leftover clay and fell in love with the process of jewellery making.
I’m most proud of...
I know it’s not a piece of work but I am proud of starting my own business that allows me a creative outlet.
It is really satisfying to have something that is my own, where I can control and develop all aspects, as well as learning new skills constantly – if you had told me when I was leaving university that I would be excited to learn about doing my own tax assessment form, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you.
Before I started my career, I wish I knew…
Someone said to me once that their career did not define them. Up until that point, I hadn’t realized I could separate myself from my work.
Although I really like my day job and the people I work with, I am more than any company I work for and job that I do. This inspired me to find creativity in other parts of my life.
A mistake I made which you can avoid repeating is...
If someone expects you to work 12 hour days, 6 days a week – this is not for your benefit, it is for theirs. You will still learn by working hard during normal working hours. It doesn’t mean you aren’t dedicated if you want to make sure you are looking after yourself.
So, what’s next?
I am enjoying my full time work and side business at the moment so I hope you continue developing and learning in both of these areas. I have learnt to try to not so much pressure on myself with future plans – you can’t always control everything and that is ok!