Busy young mum gets creative with jewellery business

Brooke Ollington, of Corowa, with some of her handmade jewellery from Little Ollie Designs.

A “mummy and me’’ range of handmade necklaces will be launched by Corowa jewellery designer Brooke Ollington at this year’s Country Lifestyle program.

Brooke established her Little Ollie Designs business of handmade earrings, necklaces, key chains and lanyards last November so she could spend more time at home with her two young children.

She will release her new line of necklaces for young girls and their mothers at Henty, complementing her range of stud earrings and hair bobby pins for girls.

Brooke grew up in the Corowa district and recalls attending the Henty field days as a child with her grandparents, Ian and Dot Schilg.

“I love going to Henty – my earliest memories are eating icecream and checking out the big machinery,’’ she said.

Brooke and her husband, Andrew, have two children, Jobe, 3, and Flynn, 1, and are active members of the Coreen Daysdale Hopefield Buraja United football and netball club.

“I work in admin at the local hospital but started Little Ollie Designs in November so I could be at home with the boys more,’’ she said.

“I’ve always been into arts and crafts so started making necklaces with silicon and wooden beads – now I’ve moved into polymer clay and acrylic earrings.

“The silicon and wooden beads are easy to clean under warm soapy water, it’s light and practical for mothers of young children.’’

Brooke studied various designs of websites before launching her own on-line business, and uses social media to market her jewellery.

She has garnered almost 3000 followers on Instagram since November.

“Instagram and Facebook take up a lot of my marketing time but it allows me to communicate directly with my customers,’’ she said.

“Taking great photos is the key to Instagram with customers able to see the jewellery either on a person or just as a product itself.

“To make good flat lays, you need good lighting and I use other businesses products in my photos so I can tag them, and they can re-post the photo with my tag so their audience can see my products as well.’’

Brooke also sells her Little Ollie Designs at regional and farmers markets.

“I am building up my stock for Henty as it will be a huge three days – I was so excited when I was accepted and able to showcase my products there,’’ she said.

“My candy stud earrings are made from silicon beads so they are soft, lightweight and put onto surgical steel posts – ideal for sensitive ears.

“I have created a range of dangle earrings – all polymer clay or rounded tassel – they are a good way to jazz up jeans and a nice top, plus acrylic earrings in a range of shapes, styles and colours.’’

All the polymer clay beads in the Little Ollie necklaces are individually hand made by Brooke, with the ranges named after family and friends.

“I have to condition the clay first, then roll it through a pasta maker, bake the beads and then thread them onto their string,’’ she said.

“The majority of the work is done at night after the kids go to sleep – I enjoy the arts and craft time on my own.

“There are lots of opportunities for young mums to have on-line businesses out there, and we all support and help each other.

“It’s about getting yourself out there and into the market – Little Ollie Designs is in 10 shops in Queensland, Victoria, Sydney, South Australia and Tasmania.

“My target market is mums and busy working women – it is easy for them as the product is delivered straight to their door.

“They know it is a quality product, made in Australia by a young mum, and they like supporting that idea.’’