Why Farriers Nails? Very good question.
The horseshoe has long been a symbol of good fortune across the world, so much so that the Germans have a saying in their folk law which roughly translated says :-
No Nail, No shoe, No Hoof, No Horse, No Knight, No Castle,No Kingdom
I think that says it all, our evolution as been entwined with the horse for generations and surprisingly even the Romans shod their horses. That makes horse shoes and farriers nails a pretty important part of our heritage.
With that in mind, I also thought about my own heritage
My mother was Irish of Scots decent and loved horse racing with a passion, my earliest memories were being taken to Sandown and Lingfield to watch racing.. I was about 4,when I started to ride, however the love affair with the horse had started well before then. No great surprise as a love of horses is a common theme throughout the family, recently my great niece added "horsey" to her vocal repertoire as soon as she could speak.
I was lucky enough to live with the ponies on the Isle of Inch Kenneth (now the Earray herd of Shetlands from Mull) at 12 I was given my own pony. Ceaser was kept on a farm where a young lad called George West Lived. Later when I had moved on to a horse and George had become a young farrier, he practiced his shoeing skills on that horse. George is now a well respected farrier in Perthshire, I still carry a photo of that horse in my purse today. When I decided to make my own range, it was Georges Nails that were used to get the proportions and details right for the very first pieces.
I have shared my life several horses but it was that little TB mare that George learnt to shoe on,who taught me important survival skills. Mostly that the ground hurts when hit at speed, but getting back on is always worth it. I grew up wanting to work in Racing, offered a job at 16 my parents said NO WAY! So I went to catering college instead ( I like Cake almost as much as Fergal O 'Brien does) ! in the late 1980's I became a hotel manager for Stakis Plc. The operations Director who signed my contract was one Collin McGrath, the same Colin Mc Grath who is know as the man who gives the bag of carrots to every winner at Kelso Racecourse. The horse world is very small and I am so glad to be a part of that family.
So the answer to why Farriers Nails ? They represent good fortune, for some they are also a symbol of faith. They are also symbol of the importance of the horse in our history. For those that love horses they are a nice connection to the horse with out being obviously "horsey"
The shape is a great shape for jewellery and lends it self to balanced simple designs., suitable for day and evening wear, in town or country.
For me the farriers nail has bought so many people back into my life for a second time and allowed my childhood dreams of working in the horse world to become a reality.
Today I had a visit from the lovely Ann Gage and her lovely Mum, we met through the Equine Business Assistant Jenni Bush and her group on Facebook. As Ann lives in Canada it just proves the equine world is truly tiny and filled with fabulous people.
Next week I plan to talk about leaving the shops behind and Tarrag Naegel's creation.
Don't miss us this weekend Saturday Kelso Racecourse!
In 2006 I opened my first shop selling one small brand and other non branded jewellery. Following a newspaper headline saying" Berwick was dying on its feet,all the nationals pulling out"., which I was sure was not the case. I made the decision to open a shop and five weeks later we were trading! Gung Ho maybe, but it worked!
Having worked for an independent jeweller and also having worked for a few large well know companies,B.S.Y (Before the Snot and Yogurt jobs that arrived with motherhood) I put all that good training and experience into my new venture .
I was know as "Waitrose Wendy" for years so I thought call the shop Its own name. I thought don't get labelled again,so I chose an usual name. Thinking it was a good idea to have a name that started with an "A" to get top listing in the phone book and hopefully to make it memorable. I chose Alame (a Spanish girls name meaning Elegant Poplar Tree) Fraser for my clan and Irish family. Little did I realise I would have a second persona for eleven years, I was called everything from Allan, to Elaine. I think the joke was on me.
Alame Fraser was very kind to me and allowed me to feed and bring up my children. It also taught me that you can't do anything without good training, knowledge and experience. The very first Christmas, I took time to reflect on those who had helped give me that knowledge. I now understood why I was once referred to as "a bit of a Jack Russell" by my boss he assured me it was a complement (even if I did have to look up the word tenacity) . Realising how lucky I had been to work with some amazing people, I took time out to write an open letter to them all thanking them for giving me those useful tools. Not only create a business but also to employ others and create jobs at a time where things were not always easy. However time moves on eleven staff, one dog, three shops and relocation later, I needed something fresh to put into the shop. The little brand we sold was the lovely Sheila Fleet now Scotland's premier designer available all over the world, so not unusual any longer. I learnt that people buy from you, not your shop and that buying jewellery is all about what it means not what it costs. Which is why I like to be out on the stand not in an office.
A trip to a trade show in early 2015 was life changing, and very unexpected . I had gone with my old friend to buy a new range of Scottish jewellery for the shop. I met a man who tried to Hornswoggle me into buying Mexican silver as Scottish, as I walked away my friend asked why I was uneasy or to be more precise said "You turned into your mother, what is up?" I suspected had been misled and this was no way to do business certainly not when your reputation and client base is built on trust. My whole business had been built on value for money, honesty, and service, it was not about to change! However it was a huge catalyst and bought about the company we are today.
We had always made bespoke pieces and in 2008 made a farriers nail neck wire for as 21st birthday. From that day forward we had talked and talked about doing a wee range but it had never been the right time. ........ Come the Monday morning it was Geronimo time!
For what happens next come back next week - when I will explain why farriers nails are so inspiring. Or better still pop along to the Tynedale Point to Point at Corbridge and ask me in person.
Well here we go our first blog a slightly daunting task. Having once frozen the entire EPOS system of Littlewoods stores in Scotland with one click of a button I'm not overly confident but here goes.........................................
Me, I am Wendy for those who have not met me I am company director, tent erector, sales person, designer, stock keeper, bookkeeper, dispatcher, driver and general dogs body of Tarrag Naegel Jewellery. I spend my life travelling the country to equine events selling my bespoke range of silver and gold inspired by the Farriers nail. Having spent many years in retailing both for large companies and for myself it is lovely to be out! The joy of working outside even on cold and wet days far out weights the desire to be trapped inside.
Based in Scotland we travel most of the year from event to event throughout the UK. "Vanda" yes my van has a name.... was a works van but with a bit of clever joinery and a lot of sticky back plastic ( I am of the early Blue Peter generation) she has transformed into a wonder wagon ,she even has wall paper and fairy lights!
The we refers to our wonderful dog who also travels with me, collecting rosettes ,friends and admires wherever she goes. A small and rather tatty spaniel who tends to get called Minnie mouse (not her real name of course) often has more visitors than I do but I would not be without her.
This year will be particularly exciting as we are just about to release our new collection for this year "Spur of the Moment" catch up with us in our next blog post to read all about it. If you can't wait that long go to www.tarragnaegel.com
Phew that's enough for today hoped you like it!
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