Meet The Face Behind
The Wooden Gem
Who Is The Wooden Gem?
Who is The Wooden Gem? Well, essentially, that’s me! I’m Gemma, and the company is run by myself in every aspect. From setting up the business to product design and handcrafting the end results, The Wooden Gem is a small start-up business that I cherish.
What Was Your Background Before Becoming The Wooden Gem?
Ticketing and operations for 13 years. I didn’t do well in school and flunked my GCSE’s so I knew I’d have to work my butt off to get anywhere. So, I did.
My management background has given me a huge leg up in starting my business. Although I am the sole director/employee, it has given me the needed self-discipline and restraint to know how not to run before I can walk! My current ethos is slowly winning the race and ensuring my methods and values never falter. Having two boys at home that need my attention is always my number one priority so the business and family will hopefully grow and mature as one. As for the rest, I’m just winging it…
Why did you decide to get into the woodwork industry?
After having our boys my husband and I sat down and contemplated my taking up woodwork as a hobby. However, after very little time tinkering about, I realised that I could make a living out of what I loved (With the current cost of wood, this seems a little crazy) but it made perfect sense at the time! And so The Wooden Gem was born!
What Obstacles Did You Have To Overcome?
My biggest challenge to date is my mental health. After struggling for years with depression, this has been my main stumbling block. Are my products worthy? Do I have what it takes to expand the business? If I am The Wooden Gem, am I enough to make it thrive?
The Wooden Gem recently won an award at The Colchester Business Awards and was also named ‘Product Specialist of the Year’ at The Prestige Awards, so I’d like to think this means I’m doing something right!
What Is Your Favourite Wood To Work With?
Black walnut! The king of wood in my opinion. Everything about it is wonderful – the rich spectrum of colour, the grain, the satisfaction of its workability – as a woodworker, I could sing its praises forever!
As much as I love black walnut, I enjoy working with all types of different woods. I find each has its own characteristics which makes every one of my handmade wooden products unique!
Who Inspires You?
Anne of All Trades! Although she’s based over the pond, she’s such an incredible inspiration to me and all of my work. I follow her on her social platforms and have fallen in love with her dedication and passion for everything she puts her mind to. She has perfected her skills over multiple trades and her woodwork is truly outstanding!
Anne describes herself as a perfectionist and never feels anything is quite perfect which is something I can relate to on a huge level. Some of my wooden items have never left the workshop because of this. Even after multiple re-designs, if something is still not quite right I simply can’t face putting it on sale!
Not dissimilar to myself, Anne too is a procrastinator! I find this trait comical as I am always finding myself in an endless loop, zipping from one project to another. To hear that Anne of All Trades has this quirk too – at such a great stage in her career – is really comforting!
What Is Your Vision For The Wooden Gem?
My vision for The Wooden Gem is to see it grow and flourish while still staying true to my values in providing handmade, ethical wooden products.
I hope to continue enjoying my craft and loving what I do, and not get bogged down with simply growing the business. Someone once said to me ‘Always keep your hands dirty or you will lose the love for it’ – I aim to stay true to that!