Kristin Doncaster has always had a creative side. From designing friendship bracelets and bead necklaces as a kid to advancing to more challenging craft projects throughout the years, Doncaster said she’s always enjoyed tapping into her creativity to bring her designs to life.
Now she is using that inspiration and turning one of her most recent crafting hobbies into a little something more.
It’s called Harlow Gold and Doncaster is excited about the possibilities for her new venture.
“I’ve always kind of been into making things,” said the 29-year-old Sackville real estate agent. “So when I saw a lady selling some of her jewelry at a craft fair in Riverview, I wondered how they were made. So I started to look into it.”
Doncaster says she loves earrings, what she calls her “favourite accessory,” so she decided she wanted to start out with those.
“I had never made earrings before . . . but I ended up giving it a try. I never thought it would turn into something serious.”
Doncaster says her designs started to draw some interest from family and friends so she continued to come out with even more colors and styles.
Eventually her sister-in-law encouraged her to “take the dive” into making her jewelry line more official.
“She was saying to me, ‘what have you got to lose?’ And she started pushing me to start advertising them.”
So in June, Doncaster launched her new business online, creating a Facebook page and Instagram account to promote her jewelry designs. She also recently joined Etsy, an online marketplace for artists and designers.
And while her earrings are also available at Dahlias Hair Design in Sackville and at the Doncaster Farm barn shop (when it’s open for antique/collectible sales), Harlow Gold is mostly social media driven, she says, something that’s worked well for her target market so far.
Facebook and Instagram have a wide reach so they have served as valuable marketing tools, says Doncaster.
“I don’t know how people did it before,” she says of promoting the products online.
Doncaster, who returned to her hometown two years ago after serving as a logistics officer in the navy for nine years in Halifax and two in Kingston, Ontario, says she is excited to share her designs with the community and enjoys coming up with new styles on a regular basis.
“The reaction’s been good, everyone’s been really supportive.”
Her unique, handcrafted stud earrings – made from either epoxy resin or clay - come in a variety of colors and shapes, often times with a touch of glitter or sparkle. She also comes up with designs based on the seasons or holidays – for example, she currently is featuring earrings in fall colors as well as some in pumpkin or candy corn designs. She even designed some recently in Titan colors, which proved to be popular.
Doncaster says it’s fun to be able to be able to take these ideas – her own or other people’s suggestions – and turn them into reality.
“I like taking all the different materials and turning it into something. I like seeing the progression, the process.”
And while her focus has been so far on the stud earrings, Doncaster has been dabbling with other forms of jewelry and plans to release some dangle earrings soon as well as new necklace designs.
And just where does the name Harlow Gold come from? Well, from the opening line of the Kim Carnes song Bette Davis Eyes, of course, which starts out ‘“Her hair is Harlow gold.”
It’s a song Doncaster has loved and played over and over since she first heard it as a child and she thought the name would suit her jewelry line, since she has a particular fondness for the gold foil and sparkles she adds to her designs.