Hey Jude owner Sharon Bowyer talks the ins and outs of starting a small business

CREATIVE: Sharon Bowyer says she was inspired by beautiful fabric-covered buttons. Photo: Supplied.
CREATIVE: Sharon Bowyer says she was inspired by beautiful fabric-covered buttons. Photo: Supplied.

When Mandurah mum Sharon Bowyer decided she wanted to re-enter the workforce five years ago, little did she know her crafty idea would turn into a successful jewellery business 'Hey Jude' with stockists around WA.

"It started out because I had stopped working to have kids and wanted to get back into the workforce without doing anything that took me out of the house too often," Ms Bowyer said.

"My husband is FIFO and I wanted to find something to fit in and around our family life."

Being an arts and crafts lover her whole life, Ms Bowyer decided a creative small business she could work on at home would be the perfect fit.

"I'd seen a fabric covered button made into a little earring years and years ago and thought it was really cool.

"I just thought there was a lot of polymer clay and resin accessories and things like that but I hadn't seen a lot of textile-based jewellery on the market."

After deciding on her product, Ms Bowyer said the name came easily.

"The name was easy because it was named after my son - he was only little back then, he's eight now.

"A lot of people think it's a Beatles reference, especially when I'm at the markets, people will walk past and break into song," she laughed.

FAMILY INSPIRATION: Sharon, Addison and Jude - Jude's name inspired the name 'Hey Jude'. Photo: Supplied.

FAMILY INSPIRATION: Sharon, Addison and Jude - Jude's name inspired the name 'Hey Jude'. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Bowyer said when she first started out, the business was "quite rustic".

"I hand-stamped my packaging, and I started off with more local and smaller markets - it was good and well-received."

Shy in nature, the hardest part of starting out was approaching potential stockists.

"Probably the most apprehensive part for me, and it still is, is approaching new stockists and wholesale clients," Ms Bowyer said.

"About 60-70 per cent of my business is from markets, and the other 30-40% is from my online store, website stockists and wholesale clients."

To begin her stockist journey, Ms Bowyer approached a number of local businesses she knew and loved.

"I approached a few local stores and they were really supportive and liked the idea of selling local products - they were really good and are still my clients today.

"Places like Frisky Deer and Harley and Rose to name a few.

"They were super supportive and it grew from there."

Approaching local was important to Ms Bowyer, who grew up on a farm in Pinjarra.

"Starting in your own town is a little bit easier, you're familiar with the stores and what they're all about.

"I was born in Pinjarra and was brought up on a farm, so I was a farm girl from way back - I wouldn't trade that for the world, it was the best upbringing.

"My poor dad had three daughters, it was a working farm and we were raised learning to do everything on the farm - all of the family are pretty much still in the area."

Ms Bowyer, along with her husband and children, live in Madora Bay, a place she said was perfect to raise a family.

"It's a good area, close to nice beaches and schools - we have been here the past six years and love it."

When she's not handmaking jewellery, Ms Bowyer and her family live an active lifestyle.

"We are a really sporty family - we do a lot of kicking the footy down at the park and going for scooter rides down the beach paths.

"We do anything and everything sports-related."

MARKET: Hey Jude's popup stall at Winthrop Hall, UWA. Photo: Supplied.

MARKET: Hey Jude's popup stall at Winthrop Hall, UWA. Photo: Supplied.

As for the future of her business, she said she was thrilled with where Hey Jude was at, but had some ideas in the pipeline.

"At the moment it's hard to say - but I have some other creative ideas bubbling away in the background which I'd like to pursue a bit more.

"With a lot more scope I could do more with Hey Jude, take it further and expand stockists but I'm really happy with the level that it's at.

"My business fits in well with the family and gives me a tiny bit of spare time to pursue other creative ideas."

One of Ms Bowyer's biggest supporters is her husband, and she jokes about the motivational speech he gives to her every time she experiences a low.

"My husband always says 'it's got our son's name attached to it, so it has to be successful'," she laughed.

"I'm happy to have small and steady growth and to keep it fresh and new for as long as I can.

"My customer range is from about 16-95 years old, I try to have a diverse range of styles so there is something for everyone."

Ms Bowyer will be at the Made on the Left 2021 Christmas Markets, which will take place at Esplanade Park in Fremantle on October 30 and 31.

For more information on Hey Jude, visit the website.