She’s the girl behind the brand that turns old silverware into fabulous on-trend jewellery – but she wouldn’t have come up with the idea if it wasn’t for her struggling start.
The innovative jewellery business, Dad Daughter Designs, has become increasingly popular on Etsy.co.uk and has been promoted on YouTube for its unique designs made from antique cutlery. I found out it hasn’t always been easy however, when I meet the girl behind the success story who had to make the best out of very little.
Dressed in a pair of worn jeans and a thrifted top, from first glance you can tell that Leanne Nicholson is a small town girl from Georgia in the USA. She is also the daughter who helped set up the brand with her father, Herman Nicholson. Her family never had a lot of money, but she happily always made the best of what she did have.
What prompted her to set up her business? Leanne says, “A year after I had graduated from college, I really struggled to find a job and had little hope that I would do well for myself.” Leanne had studied art and design but there were little jobs available to her in Georgia where she would be able to make any money from art. With sadness in her voice, Leanne says, “My dad built houses for a living, but that had slowed down a lot too, and so we were both in desperate need of money.”
What sparked such a creative idea as antique cutlery? Perking up at the memory, Leanne explains that she had first thought of the idea when she had gone to a craft show and saw a man making bracelets out of silverware handles. Leanne says, “I really wanted one, but they were $65!” and while laughing, said that she is too cheap to spend that kind of money on one bracelet! Leanne decided to buy two spoons from a local thrift shop she often buys clothes at and asked her dad to make her one with a personal edge. She had her initials inscribed onto the spoon-bracelet, which she thought made it even more one-of-a-kind. While Smiling, and looking down at her wrist, she said that when she first started wearing it, all her friends and family wanted her and her dad to make them one. Happily, Leanne says “And the business just snowballed from there!”
Dad Daughter Designs jewellery is sold online on Etsy.com, a site similar to EBay where anyone can sell handmade items, ranging from jewellery to iPhone cases. The business has over a hundred followers on Etsy, where the community favourite and comment on many of her designs. With prices starting at £10 for the fork-prong rings and £15 for knife handle key rings and vintage spoon pendants, the business is affordable as well as inventive.
The excitement beams out of her while she shows me her favourite pieces. With a smile on her face, Leanne said “I love taking vintage brooches and soldering them onto spoon heads to make a statement piece.” She also has a ton of fun just going on searches for more vintage silverware, and says “It is always a treasure hunt!” Working with any member of family can be a tough ride at times, but it does have its perks. Leanne said that although she can get annoyed with her dad changing her designs, she laughs and says “The best part of working with my dad is not having to worry about getting fired!”
Leanne says, “I am mostly spending my time polishing the silverware up at the house, and my dad will be down in the workshop cutting and filing the pieces.” However I can tell that she is born to be creative, as she uses any spare time she has by uploading videos onto YouTube. Leanne has a close and niche online community where she gets hundreds of views on her videos displaying her jewellery as well as other creative hobbies such as singing songs from The Rocky Horror Show and showcasing vintage fashion hauls she had collected from vintage shops around her hometown.
After talking to Leanne, I realised that with enough determination, and a little bit of polishing, we can all find the diamond that’s within us.