16 December 2012

I came across this question recently...

It's seems like neither you or your husband actually work, how do you fund your lifestyle?
Unless you've read this blog from the start...thats a very good question!
During our 20s, we both worked very hard day and night, making silver jewellery for wholesale clients. We earned a very meagre wage which we sometimes had to wait months or years to receive! We both rented a room in a large shabby houseshare.
As you can imagine, we had to {well, Nao had to!} borrow and take out loans to keep the tiny business afloat. We decided we didn't want to live like this, so Nao took a massive gamble {and another huge loan} and opened up our first shop in Tokyo. The money from the sales was all ours, instead of most of it going straight into the Buyers pockets.
We took some more risks to become more independent, selling directly from our workshop in London, as well as online...sales kept increasing! {thank you pinterest & blogspot}. We wanted to spend less time banging out endless jewellery like factory workers, so we focused on higher priced items such has wedding & diamond rings, made to order.
Nao focused on the Japan side of things, whilst I ran the London & online things.
We hired some fantastic local skilled workers such as our engraver and diamond setter to help us, and we have a amazing colleague who keeps everything ticking over nicely, processing all the orders from Japan. Now we only make samples and some of the wedding rings ourselves, and we take orders online, so we can be on the beach or anywhere and still take orders via the Internet!
There are many ways to run a business, and it depends what you want to get out of life really. We don't want to be millionaires, who rarely see their families, we'd rather make enough to feel comfortable...and then go camping!
So, after gaining many grey hairs and a few nervous breakdowns, we are really enjoying our lives now...we appreciate everyday, and don't want to waste a single minute of it.
Its easier to start your own business these days, because you can have a website for free and an online shop very cheaply...so the overheads {and risks} are very low. Take advantage of your creativity and give it a go!

2007 working past midnight at Rust HQ {cupboard sized Dickensian workshop!}

Hammering and polishing hundreds of rings, clasps, chains etc. I gained some impressive muscles{the cycle mask was the only mask that would fit my titchy head} the black clay dust gets up your nose and in your hair.

2009 these were made probably 2 hours before we caught the 5am Eurostar to Paris fashion week.

selling to trade buyers {not anymore though!}
reading books about business. yawn.
2010 after the success of our Tokyo shop, we expanded and took on a 5 year lease for our current, much larger workshop/office/showroom. We renovated it by ourselves...
anymore question? just email me!


  1. I love this post!

    I love stories about people who know how to work hard on what they love and at the same time never forget how to love life and each-other.

    Congratulations on your success!

  2. Very inspirational, I love your thoughts on wanting to be comfortable but spend time with your family over being millionaires. I totally agree. Thanks for sharing…I absolutely love your shop and hope to have one of those sparkly rings on my left hand one day ;)

  3. This is so interesting!

    I love the engagement rings you sell. I have dropped several hints to the boyfriend about them :)

  4. Anonymous16.12.12

    I'd like to say that i found your blog a few months ago and have been "catching up" by reading all of your older posts (and enjoying the translated Japanese ones too) I am completely inspired by your spirit and love, your creativity and your wit. There's a lot of information out there about simple comforts, green living or DIY but the way you live it suits me perfectly!


  5. Thank you for sharing. My husband and I work for ourselves too and we have taken advantage of being in charge of our own hours to have lunch together, or pop off for a sneaky drink. When you have 2 kids daytime is the only time 'off'. Not often but when we do, we see it as a perk of the job. Your success is well deserved.

  6. This is so inspirational but you seem to have forgotten to mention the fact that you also have a bag full of talent too - congratulations on all you've made happen x

  7. Congrats to you both once again(I had not a hint of a doubt that all you have is because you worked so hard to achieve it). I wish you a wonderful Christmas with your little one.

  8. You are doing very well what are you doing. Best luck and all the good wishes in the future for your business!

  9. Very nice storie, so nice post ! Love this philosophy of life...
    Full of happiness to you, 3 !!

  10. You are so inspirational.... Im just starting out in my own business and my pockets are empty most of the time (!) but I love watching my little empire grow bit by bit. Being creative feeds my soul (I'm a henna artist) so to be doing this for a job is a dream come true :0)

    Btw, your little bub is adorable - those outfits!!! So cute :0)

    Tara x

  11. What a great post (though I have to say if you read this blog I am surprised anyone would need to ask such a question.). I love reading about your camping trips and coffee breaks, your photos are always beautiful. Who wants to hear about dust, late nights and losing money to buyers? That is the boring stuff in life, you celebrate the fun, lovely, delicious parts in your blog which is why I read it and LOVE it!

  12. I know this sounds utterly mental because I have never, and probably will never meet you or Nao (though I did have a dream once that he had bought you some towels for your birthday and I had to hide them for him!) but you are such an inspiration to me. I just wish I was brave enough to go for it and really make a living doing what I do. Thank you xxx

  13. Such a Lovely post!

  14. Love this post, so happy you shared you story!

    I get so annoyed when people say (whether naively or in a mean way) "ahhh you're so lucky!" etc etc... it takes so much, shear, hard work.

    I don't run my own business, but, as recession didn't spare me over two years ago, I decided to quit my job and go back to university to gain some of the enthusiasm I had lost along the way (and new skills of course), that meant 18 months of no salary and only living off my savings.

    I then started my own business, but missed the interaction with colleagues etc, and so began to look for work in companies, but the ones you actually want to work for!

    I don't want to bore you with details etc, however two years and a bit further on from that hot afternoon when I decided to quit my (unhappy) job and I LOVE what I do now! And I am so grateful for all those risks I took, when I was meant to have been 'sensible'. But if I lOve my job now, it's not because of luck or it hasn't been without its many low(s)... it takes shear, hard work and a willingness to re-evaluate what's really important (and that doesn't include a massive pay packet)

    ;) x

  15. Thank you for this post, the one thing that the person who asked the question seems to have overlooked is that simple pleasures do not have cost a fortune.

    My husband & are big advocates of 'Quality of Life over Standard of Living'... aspiring to being millionaires, retiring early is not something we comprehend... doing what you love and living a passionate life is so much more valuable.

    Congratulations on your success... that success being living a life that you love!

  16. What a cheeky question to have asked - none of their business! I've been reading your blog for ages and have never been in any doubt that you both work extremely hard, and the photos of your sheds and camping, and much of your handiwork, were from your "downtime".
    The answer to theeir question is all in the blog, so cheeky and lazy!

  17. Thanks for this! I have been wondering the same, actually.
    That's fantastic that you can live off your passion! And so lovely that you guys have a business together.

  18. dear artemis, very inspiring to hear how you and nao started RUST. all the hard work and long hours...amazing. thanks for sharing this and i am sure you can motivate many especially those who are thinking of starting their own business. :D

  19. This is such a fantastic post, thank you! It's so inspiring to read about how other people make their dream lives come true. We're just at that turning point now and discovering whether we're going to sink or swing... it's a whole lot of different kinds of stressful that's for sure!
    I love your blog by the way, I'm always eagerly awaiting the next chapter :).

  20. I heard a great quote the other day "The reason we have insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reel". A lot of times when you read blogs, you are seeing highlights of someone's life, not the down and dirty of it all. As an owner of 2 small businesses I know that you will never work as hard, work as long or struggle financially more than when you own your own business. This holiday I've really started to ponder if all this work is worth the lost quality of life and time with family & friends. You know it isn't, BUT rather than quitting, you just need to find balance. B/c of redirecting priorities, I'm already enjoying life a little bit more this season :) Thanks Artemis & have a wonderful Christmas!

  21. Anonymous17.12.12

    wow your shop looks fantastic, i love the interior design (maybe that should be your next venture :)...its great to hear about small businesses like yours having success, but not surprizing because your jewelry is gorgeous!

  22. When I read through your blog back to the beginning I loved looking at all the photos of your business! It truly is beautiful & your work is amazing! I loved seeing how you made the moulds! xx

  23. Anonymous18.12.12

    woo woo!

  24. Oh I love the wording of the question!

  25. Thanks for this post Artemis - I'm planning to open my online shop next year and with so many people being doomy and gloomy about the economy and whatnot it's nice to hear a positive and upbeat success story like yours!

  26. mandy p.23.12.12

    what an inspiration - thanks for sharing!