Doing what makes me happy – The story behind Custom Keepsakes

People who knew me at school would say that you would either find me in the dark room developing photos, painting abstract paintings with a rubber spatula, or finishing dissecting a rat armed with a can of impulse. I was good at both fine arts, and sciences but despite being offered a photography scholarship, it was years of sitting at the physio with sporting injuries, and the thought of being rich when I was the All Blacks physio, that led me down the Health Sciences pathway.

I loved working as a physio and I can honestly say that it was a combination of old sporting injuries and an opportunity to earn more money which saw me leave a profession I loved, and step into the corporate world. A corporate lifestyle of jet setting and travelling suited me well, even when I had my daughter and dropped down to part time Day-care drop off at 7.30 am and pick up by 6 year round worked well even when my son came along 4 years later.

My daughter starting school was a turning point. While I could get my head around before and after school care, I struggled with the thought of putting her (and subsequently my son) in holiday programmes. I also struggled with the role that my parents were playing of taxi and childcare, instead of just being Nana and Poppa. Junk food was going into lunchboxes and being served up at the dinner table because I didn’t have time to plan meals. It was often a case of get the kids fed and into bed so I could get my work finished by my deadlines.

In 2009, I decided that our family quality life was more important than private schools, bigger houses, boats, the latest ipad and fancy holidays. I left my corporate job to simply be mum, cook and taxi driver. While doing this, I found time to do something that I hadn’t done for years…… be creative. I discovered gardening, running, and jewellery making. Initially the jewellery was for my daughter and me. I’d make the odd personalised gift. Friends then started asking me to make things for them. I started to get asked to make things for people that I didn’t know, because they had seen and loved what I did….. And they wanted to pay me!!!!!

It took me until the week after Mothers Day in 2014 to launch Custom Keepsakes. In the early days I really lacked confidence in my creations. I knew I loved them, but was so afraid that others wouldn’t. It took me a good year before I was able to tell people I met what I did when they asked.

I’m two years along this journey and I absolutely LOVE what I do. The job is flexible enough to take my kids to and from school, attending assemblies, class trips and camps, work from home in the holidays, and also supporting them in their sporting endeavours. The kids’ lunchboxes are largely preservative and package free, except on a Friday when they can go to town with junk food. Dinners are the same. Not only do I get to create keepsakes made of precious metals, I get to create something that is truly precious to my customers who order them and meet some fantastic people on the way.

I look forward to sharing with you my journey of making jewellery, dealing with some awesome people, and raising a healthy happy family.

Happy Mum Happy Child

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