Jenna McDonald is a jewellery designer based in the Perth Creative Exchange run
by WASPS. Jenna creates contemporary jewellery for galleries and offers regular
jewellery making workshops, sharing her knowledge of her craft with students of all
ages from her bright and airy new studio space.
From an early age, arts and crafts played a major part in Jenna’s life.
She studied display design at college and from there went on to complete an
honours degree in jewellery and metalwork design at Duncan of Jordanstone Art
School, graduating in 2009.
Jenna says: “I worked as a visual merchandiser for Scottish jewellery companies
for several years but I always knew I wanted to run my own business.
“And in 2012 my partner and I set up a craft boutique in Crieff, Tangled Up In Blue,
where we showcased the work of over 100 Scottish makers along with making and selling my own jewellery.
“After running the boutique for over six years we felt it was time to concentrate on my jewellery brand full-time without the commitments of running a high street business.”
The enterprise journey
Jenna says that determination, passion and a belief in what she does has helped her get to where she is today, combined with the experience she gained in employment and what she learnt from those roles.
She comments: “I believe without my partner Thomas, and the experience we gained opening our retail business, that we would be on a very different career path today, possibly one not as enjoyable!
“Opening the shop in such uncertain times, and giving so many new and established makers a local platform to showcase their work, was a real achievement for us. We genuinely loved every piece we sold.
“Whilst running our business on the high street, we saw several businesses come and go and it gave us a certain amount of satisfaction that we decided to close through our own choice rather than forced out due to the decline of high street shopping.”
Jenna is realistic about the ongoing nature of the learning process behind running a successful enterprise or business, saying: “I’ve still got so much to learn and no doubt challenges to overcome in my business.
“You’re never really switched off, and the hours aren’t nine to five. However, when the hard work pays off, it’s worth every moment and I feel very fortunate to be doing something I love especially in such a beautiful building in the heart of Perth.”
Along the way, Jenna has received lots of support from various different sources. She says: “My family and friends have given me endless encouragement in my business journey. Relocating to the Creative Exchange has now opened up the door to an even wider creative community. The camaraderie between the artists housed here is supportive and inspiring.
“Organisations such as community enterprise support organisation GrowBiz have also played a very important part.
“I first heard about GrowBiz from another Perthshire-based jewellery designer who found them very helpful, so I signed up to one of their events here in Crieff a couple of years back and have been gaining support, advice and encouragement ever since.
“I have found the advice from GrowBiz very useful on so many aspects of running my creative business. Working for yourself and by yourself can feel daunting and isolating however I feel GrowBiz have provided me a safety blanket of help and support which will be available to me throughout my business journey.
“I would highly recommend GrowBiz to anyone looking to start a business, especially those living and working in rural areas. They point you in the right direction and help you consider other avenues or directions you may not have thought of, and their local events are very handy.
“I feel very grateful an organisation such as this is available to business people free of charge!”
Looking to the future
Jenna says that one of her hopes for the future would be to achieve a happy and successful work-life balance.
Jenna’s website can be found at www.jennamcdonaldjewellery.com