We had the good fortune of connecting with Lorraine Richardson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lorraine, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Well, that’s a long and maybe a little convoluted answer. I’ve always been an artist and my goal through high school and my few years in college was to be in some sort of art/creative field. That got sidetracked by marriage and children. However, I was always creating… something. In the late 90’s, I took a stained glass class and loved it. However, it takes up a lot of space and each piece takes quite a bit of time (especially, when you have young children). I started making smaller decorative pieces that included collage work. My curiosity and eagerness to learn something new pushed me to look for other items I could solder onto my creations… I started working with antique/vintage hardware, chandelier crystals, old broken jewelry, etc. and I started turning them into jewelry pieces. I didn’t have a business and I wasn’t thinking about making this my *job*. In 2000 I started a job as the Executive Director for a small, local merchants’ association, which included the jobs of publishing their direct mailed newspaper and coordinating their bi-annual handcrafted arts & crafts festivals. from 2008 – 2015 I managed and owned 2 different farmers’ markets. During this time I learned a lot of new skills and I saw that my creations could possibly create income for our family. Bits & Bobs was created in 2010. It hasn’t been easy, still isn’t… and, I’m always trying to find new ways to spread the word and create new things for the Bits & Bobs brand.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I create heirloom quality jewelry pieces using vintage and antique finds. I love giving old forgotten things a new story. My pieces are eclectic and may not be to everyone’s taste. And, that’s ok with me. But, it can be difficult to grow your business when you have such a niche product. It took me years to stop comparing what I do with other successful small business friends, trying to get everyone to love my work and slow growth to get were I am now. I had to become confident in what I created and know that I would find my clients, or they would find me. And, I have and they have. Am I where I want to be? No, not even close. But, I keep trying to find the right way to get my creations noticed and in the hands of future collectors. Social media has been a bear to figure out. I am still trying to figure it out. What do I want people to know about my brand? I would say that my brand is about standing out from the crowd. I create pieces that aren’t like everyone else’s. You won’t see someone waring the exact same piece as yours, but you’ll recognize a Bits & Bobs piece.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live north of Houston, so I don’t really venture into the city. But, there are awesome places outside of the city, too. I always recommend Hop Scholar Ale house/Sabbatical Spirits. Their wall of craft beers is ever changing, the handcrafted cocktails are spectacular, and the food is delicious. Southern Star Brewery has some fabulous craft beers and a very large outdoor area. They have a rotation of food trucks and events with fantastic bands. Deacon Baldy’s is another fantastic place to hang out and enjoy craft beer, cocktails and a selection of wonderful food trucks. Are you noticing a theme here? HA! If there are concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion, we like to fill up a cooler, grab some snacks and a blanket and sit in the park. I love going antiquing in Tomball, at the Round Top Antiques Week, Huntsville, and any other small town.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow…. so many people. My husband, Bryan, first and foremost, for his unwavering support of my ideas and growing my business. My daughters, Kelsey and Avery, for always cheering me on. My dear friend Vicente (BlackCrown Trading Co.) for his support and designing my logo and all of his design work for Bits & Bobs. My friend Matt Roszyk that helped build my first shop at the Texas Renaissance Festival and my brother, Eric Meier, for helping bring my beautiful, new shop to fruition. They both took the ideas rolling around in my head and made them reality. My amazing friends that are entrepreneurs and small business owners. Watching, learning and being inspired by them. Melissa Humphries (Queen Bee Wellness) and Lynsey Kramer (Five Chicks Wellness and Yonder Way Farm). There are more, but these 2 incredible ladies are top on my list. My clients… their support and kind words, keep me moving forward.
Instagram: @rains_bits_and_bobs coming soon: @Bits_and_Bobs_est2010
Other: I have a Facebook group page (Bits & Bobs) that you can find through my FB business page.