Meet Matt - a wheely good jeweller with a great idea
MATT Alexander is a mobile jewellers on wheels coming to the rescue for Coast residents, but what inspired this 24-year-old man to take his passion for his trade to the road? He explains in his own words...
AT THE beginning of 2011 I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
After graduating in 2007 I had spent a number of years jumping from course to course at university with no real interest in any particular field.
I had always wanted to run my own business, but believed that I had no discernable skills that I could translate over into a small business of my own.
That was until I enrolled in a one day a week course at the Brisbane Institute of Art.
I remember my first day, wandering into the workshop at BIA with no idea of how jewellery was even made. I was given a strip of brass, a set of pliers and files and told, "today we will be learning to make a basic ring".
From that moment on I was hooked.
At this stage I was still working casually in hospitality, so every week on pay day I would travel into the city and spend all I had except for $50 on tools for my new workshop.
As I was living with my parents, dad set aside a spot in his shed for me to set up a small workshop and I got started. I started making a number of my own designs for myself, first in brass and then silver.
Within two months of starting the course I was working eight hours a day in the shed making silver name pendants for a few friends and creating more in-depth custom designs.
This was when I decided being a jeweller was not just a hobby but also my future career. From there I visited a number of high-end manufacturing jewellers in Brisbane, asking whether they were interested in taking me on as an apprentice.
It was hard work to find an apprenticeship as there were only about 15 to 20 jewellery apprentices employed in Queensland that year.
I ended up getting a job with a custom manufacturing jeweller on the north side of Brisbane.
While working in this job I learnt a wide range of skills, not only in the manufacturing side, but also about the running of the business, the sentimentality of jewellery and the importance of customer service in the industry.
At the end of 2013, due to financial trouble I was let go from my place of employment. My original plan was to start looking for a new place to work.
However during this time a number of friends and family knowing I was unemployed spread the word and before I knew it I was booked out with work.
That was when I finally had the opportunity to start my own business. Matthew Alexander Jeweller was born.
I spent 2014 concentrating almost exclusively on custom-made pieces such as wedding and eternity rings, along with re-melting down customer's old and broken jewellery into new pieces.
I offered the occasional repair, trying to differentiate myself from other jewellers by offering three-day turnaround rather than one to two and sometimes three weeks.
This received great feedback from my customers and got me thinking of ways to offer this service on the spot. I had not heard of another mobile jeweller in Queensland and still only know of one in Melbourne.
At the beginning of 2015 I launched Matthew Alexander Mobile Jewellery Workshop. This allowed me to perform most repairs, re-sizing and rhodium plating on the spot and at an affordable price as I had minimal overheads.
This has now become my business's point of difference and allows the customer to watch me and means they don't have to part with sentimental jewellery for weeks on end.
Visit Matt's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Matthew.Jewel.Repairs