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Self-employed Adelaide Hairdresser, Michelle, started creating sustainable leather statement earrings as a way to switch off after her mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s 5 years ago, but her creative hobby has grown into a part-time business which she hopes will one day take over from hairdressing as her primary source of income

12 November 2021

Designer Spotlight: Amber Glow by Michelle

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Part-time Hairdresser, Part-time Ear-Blinger, Michelle: ‘There is great value in something that has been created by a person’s one pair of hands’

I'm Michelle, owner and creator of Amber Glow By Michelle. I am married, with a self sufficient 18-year-old son. We live south of Adelaide with our two pugaliers, Pablo and Luda.

Genuine leather & cork handmade earrings in marbled pink cowhide with a crocodile embossed finish

I'm a hairdresser by trade, however with ongoing shoulder issues, was forced to wind down my salon workload playing with hair, giving me more time to do what I love... making leather earrings, which I had been selling on a very small scale in my home-based salon.

Self-employed Adelaide Hairdresser, Michelle, started creating sustainable leather statement earrings as a way to switch off after her mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s 5 years ago, but her creative hobby has grown into a part-time business which she hopes will one day take over from hairdressing as her primary source of income

I love being part of the Madeit community as a trader as well as a buyer. I love supporting my fellow Australian makers. As a trader with a store, I love the resources available, the support, and the fact that I don't get lost in an over saturated market like other international platforms.

Michelle in her home studio ‘My hopes are to grow my little handmade business to be my primary business’

I've always had a hobby / side hustle on the go, however my hopes are to grow my little handmade business to be my primary business and for hairdressing to then become my secondary, for the sake of my weary old body - not to mention my mental health!

Michelle’s neat and modern home studio with a few retro touches like the vintage cream timber credenza desk and aqua radio’

I began spending time making and creating about five years ago after my Mum was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers. I found it settled my mind and allowed me to switch off.

Not just earrings: A striking metallic turquoise leather statement necklace by Amber Glow by Michelle

Being a hairdresser, I've always had a tendency to wear black and so I like to wear earrings to add a pop of colour and interest.

Printed and textured leather sheet remnants and cork Michelle uses to make her lightweight jewellery; ‘The materials I use are natural and almost weightless’

Being comfortable is an absolute must for me... I love the fact that the materials I use are natural and almost weightless.

A collage of Michelle’s creative process, cutting leather shapes and assembling with findings to create a pair of colourful floral dangle earrings.

I source my leather and cork from different parts of the world. They are usually scrap remnant pieces. It's a bit like Christmas when my stock arrives as I never know what I'm going to receive. This keeps my pieces looking different - I'll admit it's in my nature to be a little repetitive, being drawn to the same colours and styles - so it also forces me to use my imagination a little more, stepping out of my comfort zone.

Behind the scenes of Michelle’s brand, using a lightbox to take styled product photos for her Madeit store; “I like to wake up early, caffeinate myself, then retreat straight to my creative space’

My inspiration normally comes to me when I'm in bed trying to go to sleep! I like to wake up early, caffeinate myself, then retreat straight to my creative space to play before normal day to day life clutters my mind.

Glittering red reindeer Christmas dangle earrings made from leather and cork

I try to make pieces to suit the season and demographic of my customer base, however it's often a mixed bag of everything. I’m always curious to find out what people are drawn to. Often the things that I personally like and think will be super popular are in fact not so popular, and vice versa!

The tools of Michelle’s business, including plyers, leather punches and an organiser filled with different findings for assembling earrings;  ‘I love the idea of using materials that would have been destined to landfill.’

Sustainability and being eco friendly is something I consider to be an important aspect of a handmade business. I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible when it comes to my business. I love the idea of using materials that would have been destined to landfill.

A pair of genuine leather and cork statement earrings in blue; ‘Supporting a family rather than the CEO of a big chain company is important’

Customer service is also my priority, whether it be in the salon or looking after a customer online or in person at a market stall.

Printed botanical monstera leaf-shaped leather and cork earrings with gold hoops by Amber Glow by Michelle

I love the idea of buying and producing handmade. Supporting a family rather than the CEO of a big chain company is important to me. There is great value in something that has been created by a person's one pair of hands.

Michelle is offering Madeit’s community newsletter subscribers FREE domestic shipping on orders at Amber Glow by Michelle for a limited time. Subscribe below to get the coupon, plus weekly handmade shopping guides, designer spotlight stories and discounts:



Visit Amber Glow by Michell to find statement leather and cork ear bling and a few other surprises: amberglowbymichelle

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