“K Kajoux Jewels – Local Support is what created my business”
Following what she describes as a chance encounter with a bead shop, Kay Lyng left her career in Fund Services to create K Kajoux Jewels, an Irish jewellery label designed and handcrafted in the wild countryside of county Kilkenny.
After her impromptu visit to the bead shop near St Georges Arcade in Dublin, she made a unique necklace that her friends asked her to re-create for them.
Her passion led her to create more designs, which she promoted at craft fairs until being stocked by kilkenny Design Centre.
Her collection of handcrafted jewellery is “for women who like to wear striking and vibrant gemstones in a unique and stylish way,” she says. All pieces are designed and crafted by hand by Kay, using a kaleidoscope of semi- precious stones, Swarovski crystals and Freshwater pearls. Colour is an integral focus, she says. “The colour arrangements in each piece is considered, layered and complex, which I believe sets K Kajoux apart from other designers.”
COVID-19 impacted her business mostly because of the absence of international tourists, but spending a lot of time restructuring her business gave her time to rethink how she operates, which she says will make it stronger in the future.
Fulfilling orders coming through her website through lockdown, she witnessed people continuing to mark special occasions, like birthdays – even though they were apart; and people sending gifts just to show loved ones they were thinking about them. During that time, she offered free delivery and gift-wrapping and included personalised notes for free. The warmth of the personal messages people shared with one another kept her spirits up and reminded her how meaningful crafts like hers are to people.
“What the pandemic has shown us is that our connections with people matter and our communities supported our markers because their connections with Irish Craft are important to them,” she said.
As well as running two social media giveaways to share positivity with her followers, she offered a €100 voucher to a frontline worker in partnership with local radio station KCLR, with listeners calling in with nominations.
Kay says that local support is what created her business. “Initial demand and support came from the people who live in my community so, fundamentally, supporting local is vital to my business.”
To her, Irish craft is naturally linked to people and place. “Irish Craft has always been about the connection to your area and your community and it is vital for the survival of Irish Craft businesses that this connection can continue and thrive.”
Browse her collection here.
Champion Green is supported by @KilkennyShop and @VisaIreland, in association with @sfa_irl, @retail_excellence and Chambers Ireland.