AnnaDesign1aAnna Design Jewellery

Unique jewellery and accessories

Anna Hookway has always been a very creative person, with an eye for colour, styling and design and what really encouraged that side of her was extensive travel to exotic countries where she experienced fantastic art and culture and began to love antiques and creating beautiful, unusual things. That began as a child when she travelled with her dad on his buying trips (her Grandfather Boyd founded Oroton).

When Anna’s kids got a little bit older she really wanted to continue to pursue her passions, but on a bigger scale.  She started off making lariats and beading her own jewellery, that caught the eye and attention of her friends, so she started to make jewellery for them also – and it just really spiraled from there.

Anna started hosting shopping nights at her home, and then when that got too big to manage she opened a tiny hole in the wall space in Mosman.

Here is what Anna shared about running her business.

Q.  What did you do before you started this business?

Before my kids I had a career in marketing, and I also had a catering business.

Q. Did you have any business training before you started?

No training for myself specifically- I have always been exposed to the ins and outs of a retail business having grown up in a retail family, and my husband has owned shops before, but apart from that exposure I have no formal business training or anything. I’m learning as I go which can be really hard, but there is no better way to do it! I’m very lucky I have the support of my husband, and he helps me in that area.

Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer.

I hand-make bespoke jewellery using sterling silver, semi-precious stones, crystals, pearls and antique treasures. I also have a line of boho handbags.  I have a stand-alone store in Mosman and an online store.

Q.  How long have you been running your business?

Since 2005, so 9 years so far…

Q. How many hours a week do you work in your business?

When you have an online store it is a 24 hour job all day, every day. I try to stick to Monday-Friday to have some balance and stay inspired.

What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?

Online I use social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google and I also send out a weekly e-newsletter to my database.

Offline I rely on my very loyal and supportive customers who spread the word and wear my jewellery (great advertising!)

I have at times used PR Companies to help me build Anna Design’s profile.

Q. Do you use social media as part of your marketing?

Absolutely. It is a lot of work, but it really helps in building your brand profile and connecting you with a wide variety of people. It also helps maintain a connection with those who follow you.

Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those? 

Oh, plenty! But that is the thing about mistakes – they keep you on your toes and there is always a silver lining.

I could turn every mistake I’ve made on its head and make it positive – the good and bad has led me to where I am today, and I don’t regret a minute of it.

I think mainly don’t compromise on who you are and your product, stay true.

Q. How has your website helped you run your business?

My website has helped me reach an international audience, and also a wider Australian audience.

I don’t think you can really have a business without a website anymore. It is a point of information where you can canvas who you are and what you offer and it really helps people find you.

I built my website in tough, changing retail times and it has really changed and grown over time. I’m very glad I built it when I did it.

Between having a shop space I just had my website and it kept my business going.

I guess when the going gets tough I have my website to complement my bricks and mortar store and vice versa.

Q. What obstacles or challenges are you facing at the moment?

Retail is always tough. You can’t rest for a minute. You have to be ten steps ahead at all times.

Staying on top of both the online and retail stores is difficult, as is the need to consistently grow when retail itself is never consistent.

I think being a small business up against so many juggernauts is hard – there isn’t much space!

Q.  Any other comments / points you would like to share about running your business?

If you really love what you do, you will make it work.