A 28-year-old islander has opened up about how she took a leap of faith during the pandemic, quitting her full-time job, and moving from Jersey to the UK to turn her passion project into a jewellery brand.
This week marks one year since the first case of covid-19 was officially recorded in Jersey.
In a series of interviews this week, Express has spoken to islanders about their year, and how the virus crisis has changed their outlook...
Jade Conneely, a former Les Quennevais and Hautlieu School student, started ‘Made by a Hun’ in 2019 while working in marketing at a finance company, shortly after returning to the island from Berlin where she had worked as a gallery assistant following her graduation from a London university.
Her jewellery brand originally started as “a hobby or a passion project” but soon developed into more.
“The more I started to create, the more I realised it was something I really loved doing,” Jade said. “I then began dreaming about making it a business, and that's how Made by a Hun was born.”
Pictured: Jade makes colourful jewellery and accessories.
When explaining the meaning behind the name of her brand, she says it stemmed from a habit of calling everyone “hun” she developed when she was younger and became “ingrained her language”.
“Often when meeting new people, I would be introduced as ‘this is hun’, so when I wanted to launch a business it felt right, but also that I could speak to my dream audience on their level - like they would just intuitively get me and the brand!” Jade explained.
Jade has been cultivating her creative streak since her school days, during which she did mostly creative subjects. She then went on to study a degree in Mixed Media Fine Art and has since taken on a ceramics course at Highlands College, an experience which influenced her in the creation of Made by a Hun.
View this post on Instagram
Video: Jade is completely self-taught in making jewellery.
“It was refreshing to meet lots of new people and make new friends,” Jade says. “It somehow felt empowering to just do go out and do something I'd wanted to do for so long, completely on my own. Perhaps that was what gave me the confidence to launch a brand.
“I'd always romanticised the idea of pottery - maybe from the film ‘Ghost’ - but I think it was more the idea that I could make something without having too much pressure of over contextualising it like I was used to when I practised fine art, which is what appealed to me.”
In addition to giving her a confidence boost, the Highlands course got Jade thinking about experimenting with materials. While she had no experience or knowledge of jewellery making, she says it felt like an “obvious fit” given her lifelong interest in “dressing, style and fashion”.
“I am completely self-taught, I have learned through lots of trial and error that's the beauty of buying slow-made products - you're supporting the development of someone's craft,” she said.
Pictured: Jade says that running a business during a pandemic hasn't been “fun or easy going”.
While she turned her creative endeavours into a business, Jade still enjoys the simple act of creating and crafting, something that a lot of people have yearned for during the pandemic as their regular activities ceased in lockdown.
“I think for a lot of creative people, it can act as a form of meditation, to do something in such a focused and present way, whilst also switching off to everything else around you. It can be a really useful tool for 'unplugging',” Jade said.
“The other great thing is that the more you engage with your creativity, the more ideas flow (which can also sometimes be overwhelming).
"It can be frustrating, however, because, like any skill, it requires time and practice to get the result and the products you want. As we live in a world filled to the brim with instant gratification, it can sometimes be hard to remember that."
View this post on Instagram
For all the pleasure making her jewellery brought her, Jade says that running a business during a pandemic hasn't been “fun or easy going”. To add to that, like many other creatives, she has had to contend with Instagram changing its algorithms and thus reducing her engagement.
The pandemic has doubly affected Jade’s work, not only have events been cancelled but she also got covid.
With retail usually being quiet during the winter months, she decided to “get her head down” and work on some new products and campaigns, putting to use the marketing experience.
A few months ago, Jade also took the decision to move to Bristol “for a host of reasons” and she is now working freelance to keep herself and her brand afloat.
View this post on Instagram
Pictured: Jade, who moved to Bristol during the pandemic, says she misses Jersey's "beautiful views".
“Although moving in a pandemic might seem like a scary and, maybe even a crazy idea to some, sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith,” Jade explains.
“I felt that Jersey was a great incubation place for ‘Made by a Hun’, but I ultimately wouldn't be able to grow my business, work full-time and pay expensive rent - it just wasn't sustainable - so moving to the UK seemed like a more feasible option.
"I do, of course, miss family, friends and beautiful views.”
While an upcoming Craft and Flea market she was looking forward to has been delayed due to covid restrictions, Jade is “buzzing” about the spot she secured at The Cove, a new small indie business shop due to open in June in Bristol. She also has a few other projects in the pipeline.
Pictured: Jade is working on new collections.
“I'm probably the type of person that has too many plans and ideas!” she says. “But I am currently working on a collection of silver rings and some homeware accessories, so stay tuned.”
Discussing what advice she would give to someone toying with the idea of turning their own ‘passion project’ into a career, Jade thinks of one word: patience.
“This is something I have to remind myself of on the regular,” she says. “Rome simply wasn't built in a day and neither will your fashion empire be. Getting your brand out there takes time, but it takes even more time to become a known and trusted brand.
“My other advice would be that there's honestly never a good time to launch or do anything. So get that butt into gear and get yourself, and your brand out there!”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.