The news is constantly full of how difficult young people are finding it to get jobs at the moment, desperately comparing which Oxford colleges have the highest employment-upon-graduation rates and telling us that it is pointless to spend money on a Masters (oops, too late for me folks). If you’re lucky enough not to have felt the effects that our rocky economic situation is having upon the young professional generation, you’re one of the rare few. Most of us have worked for months upon months as unpaid interns, waitresses, and admin slaves by day, pouring ourselves into job applications by night and, in my case, daydreaming about writing a novel. Many of us even know the frustration of being told that we are probably ‘over qualified’ at the Job Centre. Still, what’s being a little bit patronised in exchange for £50 a week?
Anyway, enough of the moaning. One of my best friends is taking matters into her own hands. Madeleine Mason has always been arty and crafty – when we were at school we used to love going on weekend trips to craft fairs (yes, we were exceptionally cool 14 year-olds). She’s been making me jewellery for as long as we’ve been friends, and now, frustrated with the job hunt despite her shiny First class degree in Art History from Warwick, she’s launching her own jewellery business, Fanciful Sparrow Designs. The shop is hosted by Folksy, the British equivalent of Etsy, and it launched yesterday – just in time to get your Mothering Sunday gifts. Her pieces manage to be pretty, cute, quirky and classic all at the same time, drawing inspiration from a Cath Kidston vintage aesthetic, old maps, books, birds, and flowers. Very Alex Monroe, who is one of my all time favourite jewellery designers. But then I’m her friend, so I’m biased; take a look at it and judge for yourself (my favourite is the duck egg charm necklace – judging by the number of ‘likes’ it is getting on Facebook, I’ll have to move fast if I want to buy one).
It’s an inspiring approach to life. With the number of free resources available to help you start your own business online, we could all do with being a little bit more proactive and inventive in the way that we think about our careers. It’s not about luck, after all, it’s about determination, talent, energy, and drive. All of which my friend has in abundance. She’s going to be selling her trinkets at The Dandy Lion Market ’Ladyfolk’ day (celebrating Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day) in Highgate this Saturday 10th March with lots of other talented young designers, so if you’re out and about in London this weekend do go and take a look.