We caught up with Fran from colourful Leeds based jewellery brand Shimmy Shimmy Yay to find out more about her journey and why she decided to set up the brand.
1. What inspired you to set up Shimmy Shimmy Yay, and where did the name come from?
I started making resin jewellery for myself about 3 years ago. I really wanted a pair of sparkly rainbow peace sign hoop earrings and couldn't find any online anywhere! So I decided to make my own, before I knew it I had caught the resin bug and was making more and more unique pieces of jewellery for myself. Friends started to take an interest and ask for custom designs, so I decided to set up Shimmy Shimmy Yay as a bit of a side hustle. I did my first markets in the run up to Christmas 2018, and saw these primarily as market research. I have been constantly evolving my product range since then. It has been quite slow going as I work 3 days a week and have a daughter who has just turned 6, but then I'm in no rush, and part of the reason I wanted to do this was for a work life balance.
The name Shimmy Shimmy Yay actually comes from a song lyric by ODB of the Wu-Tang Clan. I find most people are familiar with that lyric and I love it at markets when people come up to my stall singing the song! I even had some people buy my handmade light box of my logo at a craft market. However, if people don't know the tune, they still think it's a pretty cool name as I guess it really reflects the brand, and the joy my jewellery brings to people!
2. Since starting Shimmy Shimmy Yay, how has your product range developed?
My products are constantly evolving, I'm always thinking of new ideas and had done quite a lot of resin experimenting before I started to make pieces to sell at markets. I'm self taught with all of this and I'm still trying out different techniques with my resin and within the last few months I've started working with laser cut wooden pieces as well. This is in a bid to become a little more eco-friendly with sustainable bamboo, birch and biodegradable glitters. I'm still quite a newbie on the scene. I haven't even had my official first business birthday yet!I I started trading as a sole trader in April 2019!
3. Do you have a favourite product within your collection if so what is it?
It always seems that my favourite product within my collection is the thing I've made the most recently! And right now I've made some bad ass hand-painted wooden hoops with brightly coloured pom poms, and I'm totally in love with them! I think they would look great as the finishing touch to a festival or party outfit. However I've wore them with black leggings and a black top and they really popped. So far I've just made this one pair and they've had a fantastic response on social media, so I am planning to make more variations and turn them into a new S/S 2020 collection!
4. What's the Leeds creative scene like? Do you feel supported or is there room for improvement?
The Leeds creative scene is thriving. There is so much local talent out there at the moment, I've met a lot of awesome people through the local markets I've been doing, but to be honest I don't get out and about as much as I wish I could, I'm also an office manager for a landscape architects three days a week and I'm a full-time mama!
So far I've been solely concentrating on selling via my social media channels and at in person events. I would love to be part of the Etsy Christmas markets this year, so I'm hoping to get to some of their meet-up's and get a bit more involved in the Leeds creative scene! One brilliant market I've done the last two Christmases is The Stalls at Leeds City Museum, it's always a really fun weekend and Natasha who runs it is a big support and an absolute gem!
5. Which brands are inspiring you right now?
Ooooooh there are so many other jewellery brands inspiring me right now From the Indie Roller community I'd have to say Lorelei LQ, and her really brave decision to stop making acrylic jewellery and move into upcycled materials! So much respect for her doing this when she was at the top of her game. It must have taken so much courage, but being true to your values is something that is obviously so important.
Liz Harry is another talented northern lass and a constant source of inspiration and admiration for me! She's absolutely killing it at the moment...across a lot of sectors too.
I love Dakota Rae Dust, I bought a pair of earrings last year and the happiness and joy I felt unwrapping and then wearing a pair of earrings made especially for me was incredible! I actually messaged Bec (who has become another indie maker pal) to say I can only hope that people buying my jewels feel the same sense of excitement and happiness too! Quite magical...you'd never get that buzz from a pair of mass produced Topshop earrings.
Oh...what the hey, let's throw
in one more question for luck.
What are you listening to at the moment? Are there any songs
that inspire you?
Don't get me started on music, surprise surprise, I listen to a lot of hip-hop I really love the fun and upbeat party hip-hop of Too Many T's, Dr Syntax, and Pete Cannon's latest albums...these boys are all absolutely awesome live, real party starters. There's so much brilliant underground UK hip-hop at the moment. High Focus record label puts out a lot of what I listen to..Dabbla,Verb T, Pitch 92 and Ocean Wisdom have all been played ALOT in the last 12 months.
I also like to listen to a lot of golden era hip hop. People Under the Stairs, a Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, J5, Blackalicious the list goes
on, but it's not just hip-hop in my headphones, I've always been quite into dub, reggae, drum and bass and techno as well. l can't get enough of DJ Vadim at the moment.
Music has always been a lifelong passion of mine I remember my dad bringing home Neneh Cherry’s debut album Raw Like Sushi and just being mesmerised by the image on the front cover, such a strong female portrait, and all that incredible gold jewellery. In fact, I guess it was probably Neneh Cherry, Queen Latifah and Salt n' Pepper that got me into hip-hop in the first place….and big, chunky jewellery!
Click here to see the latest jewels from Shimmy Shimmy Yay
A bit of extra inspo for you from Fran...
I often find that when I'm having a making day in my studio I like to get all nostalgic and listen to cheesy 90's RnB! I made a Spotify playlist a while back called Back to My Youth RnB Styleeeee so I'll whack that on random selection and have good sing song whilst I work!
Pick a playlist, and get into the Shimmy Shimmy Yay vibes below: