Small Business: Solo acts - Wayne Jeffers

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Wayne Jeffers, owner of Mt Eden Jewellers.
Wayne Jeffers, owner of Mt Eden Jewellers.

Wayne Jeffers, owner of Mt Eden Jewellers, in Mt Eden Village.

Please describe your business and how long you have been running it by yourself.

Mt Eden Jewellers is a manufacturing jewellery shop with a workshop in the store where you can see your jewellery being made or repaired as well as a showroom of my work and other retail jewellers items. I try to be of service to all my customers, repairing and making jewellery as well as watches, valuations and insurance work. I was a full time jeweller in the city but was working part time for Mt Eden Jewellers for 10 years , working out the back one day a week. The previous owners wanted to retire so I bought the business and I have now owned it for three and a half years.

Have you always been a jeweller?

I'm very lucky in that my last day of school in the morning, I didn't know what I wanted to do for a career and by the end of the day I started my jewellery apprenticeship.

I was very good at art but didn't know how to use that in my career. Someone suggested I become a jeweller so after school I took my art folio to the local jewellers and they signed me up for a jewellery apprenticeship. I have been making jewellery for the past 26 years, which I love.

How many hours are there in your working week?

I work six days a week but often keep working late at night and Saturday evening and Sunday to keep up with work.

What is December like for you?

It can vary a lot. Some Decembers are just an average month and incredibly busy the last two days. Last year was a busy month but the last two days were very quiet.

When and where do you take your annual holiday?

I only get two weeks' holiday a year in January - I close the shop for two weeks from Boxing Day - so I like to make it count. I go somewhere out of Auckland usually.

Have you ever taken holiday during the year?

No. I am the business so I can't get time off through the year. I will go fishing in the Coromandel at Easter or long weekends though.

Do you know other jewellers who could come in and run the shop?

The previous owner, John, will come in sometimes and look after shop but I like to talk to customers and do the work directly myself.

Why does working on your own suit you?

I love owning my own business, I love talking to customers, designing jewellery for them, creating the jewellery and presenting them with the finished product. I also like being in control of my career and business and not having someone looking over my shoulder. I like being able to decide: "Today I think I will design a ring and make it."

What is hard about it?

It's a lot more hours, hard work and stress than working for someone else, but the benefits are worth it.

There is a lot more to a jewellery business than making jewellery. Most of my time is taken up organising the shop, serving customers, doing repairs, paper work and accounting so the time spent being creative and designing and making a unique piece of jewellery is less than I would like.

Any tips to others starting out by themselves about how to stay sane?

Stay on top of your work. I know if a job is due tomorrow but I think I will do it in the morning that that customer will be the first customer in my shop the next day and I will spend the day trying to catch up. Anyone wanting to buy a business or start a business and think it will support them is going to fail. You have to have the skills in yourself and the time and effort to make your business. You are the business. Treat your business well and it will treat you well.

- NZ Herald

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