In 2004 Maija Pykett became the originator of the fingerprint jewellery concept – a range of silver keepsakes capturing a loved one's fingerprint in silver forever. In this brief Q&A, find out a bit more about Smallprint got started.
WHERE WE BEGAN
I made my first fingerprint pendant when my son Dylan was just 2 years old and I loved it! Having his tiny fingerprint hanging around my neck when I went off to work each day made him feel close to me all of the time.
Tell me about when you first came up with the idea of fingerprint jewellery?
But it wasn’t until a couple of years later that it dawned on me that something I found so precious would be equally loved by other mums. I was stood in a queue waiting to have my second son Noah’s handprints taken when the penny dropped! I was continuously getting compliments on my necklace and I realised that every one of these mothers stood waiting would love to have the same.
Well, there was nothing like this out there at the time, so I had to start from scratch. I spent months perfecting my techniques and designing the range, the packaging and the branding. Right from the word go mums and dads fell in love with it. And not just for themselves – they wanted cufflinks for proud dads and charms and key rings for doting grandparents. I’d created a family business for families.
How did you make this idea a reality?
Memory Treasures has become one of the most rewarding aspects of our business for all of our jewellers around the world. As more and more customers came forward wanting a keepsake of a loved one who had passed away, I realised we needed a separate brand so that customers could find out more about our jewellery and how it related to their particular circumstance. We have made so many Memory Treasures and each one tells a tale and has a lifetime of unique and precious memories behind it.
What made you develop a separate brand for Memory Treasures?
It was a no-brainer really, as it was the only way to maintain the personal service that Smallprint customers had recieved up until then. I really didn’t want to rely solely on ecommerce for sales. Since I launched the business in 2004, many companies have jumped on the fingerprint jewellery bandwagon, but most only offer on-line purchasing which means they never meet their customers. Training jewellers to take prints and make jewellery to my same high standards wherever they lived, meant that our customers could continue to benefit from having a piece of jewellery that has actually been touched by their loved one. It also means that our customers can actually meet the person who is going to make their jewellery, see the pieces they have created and talk about what they would like to order. It doesn’t get much more personal than that!
You mention ‘jewellers’… you have grown your business through franchising, how does that work for such a personal product and service?
So family remains at the heart of Smallprint. We now have a family of jewellers who have set up their own Smallprint businesses around the world. I say ‘family’ because that is what we are – a group of trained and skillful individuals, many of them mums themselves, all producing wonderful silver keepsakes for their customers. We are joined together by a passion for the very unique jewellery we make, handcrafting each piece with the same love and attention to detail that I put into my very first pendant.