We have some very big news… It's been a lot of work behind the scenes and we’re so excited to finally share it with you!
Jenna has officially come on board as a partner and equal share owner of Megan Webb Jeweller! It has been a work in progress over the last few months but the idea has been brewing for a few years (since before COVID was even a thing).
But what is our backstory? And how do we know each other?
Funnily enough, we met through the jewellery industry. Jenna was working for a manufacturing jeweller in Melbourne and Megan was just starting up MW Jeweller way back in 2013. Megan approached Jenna’s place of work offering contract services and before we knew it we were chatting like old friends and having wine and dumplings in ChinaTown on Fridays after work. A friendship was born.
Fast forward seven years and Jenna was returning from four and a half years of exploring the world, ready to make Australia home again. And after nearly seven years of going it alone, Megan was unable to keep up with the workload and keen to bring someone else onboard. After only two short weeks of finding her post-travel feet Jenna started as a full-time employee of MW Jeweller. Megan always had a long term plan of finding the perfect business partner, someone to share the successes and stress, to bounce ideas off of and to collaborate with so she floated the idea with Jenna that if their working relationship continued to blossom perhaps they could make it permanent in due time. Without too much need for consideration Jenna was happy to oblige :) We couldn’t have been in a better position to both want this. It was our sliding doors moment!
We consider ourselves extremely lucky to know each other, to share a passion for sustainability, to admire each other's drive to create exquisite jewellery and to want to grow Megan Webb Jeweller together.
Before we knew each other Jenna travelled her own journey into the jewellery realm. It went like this:
“I finished year 12 with no set idea of what profession I wanted to pursue. But I knew I wasn’t going to go to university just for the sake of it so decided on a gap year. My mum wasn’t going to let me dwindle my time away and made me take up work experience doing something productive. As daunting as this was there was an easy way out - I could do work experience with Mum’s best friend Bronwyn - a jeweller!
As they say, the rest is history but it was something I took to well (so Bronwyn said) and I loved the problem solving component to making jewellery (and fixing your mistakes!). Ironically though, I had always been fascinated by jewellery and simultaneously knew Bronwyn was a jeweller but my junior brain had never made the connection that I could be a jeweller until Brownyn suggested I get an apprenticeship. Being the proactive woman she is, she found me one and lined up a bench trial with a family owned business in East Doncaster. It was here I completed my apprenticeship with great exposure to all things jewellery; repairs, casting, complete hand makes and restorations.
Sometime in 2010 I moved into a new job in the CBD in a hybrid role of jewellery consultant/designer and bench jeweller. This role opened my eyes to a whole new world of jewellery and a higher level of finesse and finishing that was possible and required. The design and consulting side was initially a challenge for me, but after some time I grew into it.
However, there was a beckoning in me and I was desperate to see more of the world and wanted desperately to live overseas and experience a different life. So after much deliberation (my friends can attest to this!) My boyfriend, Chris, and I took off with a one way ticket to Greece in April 2015. We travelled Europe for four months and made our way to London where we set up our new home for four years and travelled as much as we could in that time. In total we visited almost 30 countries!
Whilst living in London I had a couple of jobs in the jewellery trade, one as a bench jeweller in Tooting before making the jump to a startup company as a design consultant and then quickly ascended to production manager. It was a tough choice for me to switch back to consulting after wanting to be a full-time bench jeweller again, but the opportunities with a start-up company were all too alluring and I have made some amazing friends and lasting memories working in such a dynamic and fast paced job. It has also instilled some practices that we are employing in MW Jeweller today!
Returning to Australia was always on the cards, it was just a matter of when. Megan had been in contact (and had even visited London in 2017 for a catch up) and had floated the idea of working with her when I came home. Come October 2019 and I had safely returned to Melbourne and was setting up my life again - I went to chat with Megan about her proposition.
Throughout my journey as a jeweller and working in large teams I had come to realise that I preferred to see an entire project through from start to finish. Generally, my previous roles had me only working on small aspects of a job and this became more problematic than it was worth as details were missed and customer’s were seen as numbers instead of people. I had always envisaged owning my own business but always thought I was too young. Having seen Megan, only a year older than me, doing what I thought wasn’t possible yet ignited something in me to be brave and get out there and take a risk. Although I wholeheartedly admit to having taken the lesser risk compared to Megan, I wanted to jump onboard. Doing business solo can be incredibly hard and if you can have a cohesive working duo there is more to be gained. Joining as an employee initially, it allowed the two of us to see if we worked well together before making the big leap. Despite the obvious hurdle of COVID in 2020 & 2021 MW Jeweller was able to survive and came out the other side stronger and more resilient. And now, in 2022 we have been able to make our partnership official”.
Over to Megan to share her story:
“From a very young age I loved nothing more than to create things with my hands. I grew up watching my mum sew marvellous creations and was (and still am) in awe of how she can create something incredible from raw materials. It wasn’t until highschool that my attention was drawn to jewellery. My mum and I would go to craft stores on the weekends and buy thousands of beads and spools of wire and I would spend hours making earrings and bracelets for family and friends.
I’m not sure exactly when I decided I wanted to turn my hobby into a career but I remember doing work experience in year 10 and trying desperately to find a jeweller who would take me on for one week. It turned out to be harder than anticipated and I ended up at a photography studio but it just ignited my drive to crack into the industry.
I graduated high school with good grades and (thanks to a little peer pressure) thought that the next logical step would be to go to university. I completed the first year of an architecture degree and while I loved it I couldn’t see myself doing it for the rest of my life. Knowing how hard it would be to find a jewellery apprenticeship I remember gritting my teeth and determining that I wouldn’t give up! I sat down with the yellow pages (it was 2003 after all) and phoned, visited or posted a letter to every single manufacturing jeweller in Perth at the time. I think I heard back from three of them, all to say thanks but no thanks!
As it happened a good friend of mine had recently started working at a cafe where a jeweller was setting up next door. Because he hadn’t quite opened yet he wasn’t listed in the yellow pages. She made the introduction and the rest is history. We are still in contact to this day. He is an incredible jeweller who trained and honed his skills all over the world and his patience was immeasurable as I found my feet in the industry.
Like Jenna I had a need to explore the world. As soon as I finished my apprenticeship I moved to Melbourne. I worked for an independent jeweller for a year before taking on the world. I spent two years working in Canada with another exceptional jeweller from Germany who introduced me to new techniques and materials.
After returning to Melbourne I was lucky enough to be accepted into a government funded program that provided financial assistance and business management training to new enterprises. With this I was able to kick start Megan Webb Jeweller. At this point I’d already spent a decade in the industry and had noticed a general trend to consume materials without asking ‘where did this come from?’. As my personal interest in living sustainably was ever expanding I decided that there was no reason I couldn’t be more mindful when choosing the materials I used to make jewellery. It took some extra time and effort but I’m thrilled to say that Megan Webb Jeweller has been ethical from the start”.
Moving forward, we are striving to take MW Jeweller to new heights with our firm beliefs in using the materials we already have above ground (or already in our jewellery collections) to make the pieces that will be cherished for many years to come. It's a passion and a way of life for us to be conscious of the earth and what we take from it as well as what is put back. We look forward to sharing our future with you.
Jenna & Megan