Jeweller in Focus: Issue. 3
3rd Week, January
Katie Flinn Design
This week, we introduce the beautiful and unique Katie Flinn Design. This amazing business sprouted from a soul-searching trip to India, and from then has become a growing contender in our modern market. Katie Flinn Design explores a rustic and somewhat fantasy-like feature in the jewellery world. We will be exploring the story of the lady behind the metal, Katie Flinn herself, and how this business grew from a self-starter kit in her own bedroom.
A Soul Searching Adventure
Katie Flinn’s story begins in 2016. Soon after turning 21, Katie recognised that she was missing something in her life. And as such, decided to take an extended vacation. As someone who has always been financially conscious, she decided that the perfect location for this journey would be in Asia. This seemed to work perfectly for her, as India was in fact a location which she had wanted to visit for a very long time.
Within the first week of her being away, she met a girl who shared the same characteristics as her. A slow traveller, who wanted to enjoy her time as much as she was, the two bonded, and eventually decided to begin a jewellery class together. Little did she know, that this class would become the roots of the highly successful business which she runs today. Katie initially thought that the class would explore generic jewellery pieces like beading bracelets and macrame style jewellery, however, she was enthralled when the class delved into silversmithing. An artform that Katie fell in love with almost immediately.
She went back to the workshop almost every day for the next two weeks and she “loved every minute of it”! She distinctively remembers thinking about purchasing a jewellery kit so that she could use it on her travels, however, pragmatically thinking, she recognised that as India was simply the first stop on her journey, she would not be able to carry the kit around with her. As such, she vowed to return and buy a kit before flying back to Australia. However, as she was travelling, Katie found herself “itching to buy the kit”. She was wishing to return back and found herself wishing the trip to end. As such, she cut her trip short, eventually purchasing the kit and returning to Australia, where her business journey began, right inside the four walls of her bedroom.
Forged in Fire – The Style of Katie Flinn
Katie’s jewellery ascertains a somewhat fantasy-like view into the intricacies of jewellery. Her pieces convey a realism, which expresses the traditional rustic techniques of jewellery making while embedding her own distinct features.
Katie strives for seamlessness in every single piece of jewellery which she makes in a very literal sense. “I like my pieces to look like they are all one piece and not lots of different little parts”. In order to achieve this, Katie uses melted wax as a means of combining the piece together. One example in which she does this is when wax is used to rise from the ring-band.
Furthermore, the jewellery of Katie Flinn Design is one that exemplifies the stone as the focal point of the piece. Katie specifically tends to “often opt for rings with one main stone”. This “helps keep the piece simple, and keeps the focus on the stone”. More recently, Katie has also expanded to pieces with multiple stones, however, her style continues to keep the focus on the stones used.
One aspect of Katie’s pieces is recognising that her style is completely unique. Although it is influenced by the teachings of the instructor from India, Katie has had to teach herself many of the techniques which she uses today. She often uses tutorial videos, and forum posts, to guide her through the practical skills which she needs. As such, jewellery has been a highly self-motivated conquest. One in which she has discovered her own unique “rugged aesthetic” style.
The Highs and Lows of Katie Flinn Design – Achievements
Initiating a business by following a hobby can be extremely fulfilling. However, it can also contain many challenges along the way. For Katie, this has very much been the case. Katie reflects on both the positives and negatives of her journey but relishes every moment which she has faced.
“I think the most memorable moment and achievement was when I launched my first ever website”.
Katie’s journey began in one of the most unexpected places within her life. However, recognising the transition of jewellery from ‘hobby’ to ‘professional business’ is one which she is amazed by to this day. Even somewhat simple steps like setting up an ABN, Bussiness Bank Account, and registering her business name, were all steps which she took by herself. Every step of the way, she was fuelled by self-motivation. Seeing this motivation slowly flourish into the business which she currently has been amazing for her.
Another moment where her mindset shifted from personal to professional was in 2020. This was the launch of her own brand name. Once again, a moment that represented the amazing adventure that she had, and the never-ending possibilities for the future.
Her most recent achievement is one that is a bit uncomfortable for her to speak about. This is something that speaks to the humility of Katie’s character. Recently, Social Media influencers with over 100,000 followers, and other ‘famous people’ have noticed Katie’s unique jewellery. This is substantial, as there is a “vast ocean of more established businesses” in which Katie has shone above the rest. Hence this is an achievement which for her felt “pretty cool”.
The Highs and Lows of Katie Flinn Design – Challenges
Some challenges which Katie has faced have been ones that she remembers quite distinctly. Not just because she faced them in the past, but also because she faces them in the present.
“I am not really part of the traditional jewellery trade community, but more so part of the rise of self-taught jewellers”.
With this being the case, Katie has never had the opportunity to have a steadfast mentor within the jewellery community. She “never really got to apprentice under anyone” and as such, did not get the ‘trade secrets’ passed down. Due to this, it might take Katie a slightly longer period of time. to learn new skills. And even when doing so, sometimes faces backlash due to the “older jewellery community”. She finds that these community members are “a little more reserved with helping out the self-taught community”. And as such, has unfortunately been met with a few ‘unfriendly responses’ when reaching out and asking questions.
However, what Katie has learnt through her experiences, is the power of persistence, and how to push forward through any challenge. A skill that is not only useful but is also highly important in the jewellery industry.
Plans for the Future
With the current climate of the world, there are many uncertainties which affect, a lot of people. However, this doesn’t stop Katie from planning ahead and embracing her life in both the professional or personal aspects.
One aspect of Katie’s life which is integral to her is dance and movement. She undertakes freestyle ecstatic dance which “lights my soul on fire”. It has been challenging to keep up her hobby due to the pandemic, however, in more recent times, events have reopened, in which she hopes to continually participate for the future. Even more exciting into the future is fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a scuba diver. Now, thanks to supportive customers and booming business, she is able to do her certification for her birthday in February!
In terms of business, there are many exciting plans which Katie has to push ever forward. This includes:
All amazing plans for the future, yet Katie remains very down to earth. Her greatest goal above all is “to be happy, inspired, empowered, and paving the way. for other jewellers to think outside the box”. Katie wants to nail the perfect work/life balance, and have as little stress as possible.
A Message to Future Jewellers:
“Jewellery is an art form, a beautiful way to express both the feelings of yourself and the feelings of those around you. It is something that can be enjoyed by anyone. With my business, I haven’t had a men’s or women’s section. This is as it never felt right for me to identify whether jewellery has. category. Rather it is something for all people to enjoy. Jewellery is an art form that takes time and effort to master. I personally have not been given much advice, but I have learnt one thing. This is that “Practice makes perfect”. Things rarely happen overnight, and as such, we just have to keep going. Enjoy every step, every lesson, every mistake, and every success. No-one got anywhere by sitting around and doing nothing!”