I’m always so inspired by people who have a passion and turn that into a way to make a living. It’s so easy to think “oh one day I’d like to”, but never actually do anything about it. Too much work, too risky… we all make a ton of excuses.
When I heard my friend Lani Williams was creating amazing handcrafted jewellery from her Melbourne home, I was so excited for her. When I saw it was all elegant but also edgy (to this day I am obsessed with the Wu-Tang Ring), I was excited for ME. and everyone who wants Australian-made, locally-sourced items made into fun and funky jewellery.
It takes guts to takes something you love and make it a business, and Lani has plenty of that. (Quite literally – she’s about to have a baby in the next few months!) So I asked her a few questions, and she very generously offered some of her treats for a giveaway. What a legend.
What started as a little tradition of collecting jewellery from her travels soon turned into a hobby and then a passion. Lani met a couple in India who lived in Tibet and handmade sterling silver jewellery in the tourist off-season, then sold it when they all came to visit. “They were just so humble and happy, and lived a life they were so happy about, that it inspired me to quit the job I hated and start doing something I love,” she said. And so she did.
On her return to Australia, she took some courses, taught herself, and developed her style. But there’s always something a bit special that makes us get out of our comfort zone and make a proper go of the thing that we love. When I asked how she pushed past the doubt to make her dream a reality, she said: “my dad has always said to me ‘if you think about something long enough, you will find a reason to talk yourself out of it’. I think about this every time I start to question what I’m doing, push it behind me, and persevere”. Wise words, dad! sometimes the best decisions are bold ones you haven’t over-thought.
Creating her jewellery by supporting Australian businesses is also one of Lani’s main priorities. She sources her materials sustainably and locally wherever possible, and most of her supplies come from small businesses that are family-run and who have been in the industry for generations. “I don’t see the point in sending our money offshore when we are more than able to keep it all in-house within Australia,” she said. “I think there’s something beautiful about making something from start to finish with local materials, especially when it is specifically for someone that is going to cherish it for a lifetime.”
With the amount of Windfall Jewellery output, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s a multi-person operation. In reality, it’s just Lani putting long hours in her Melbourne studio, doing everything from making the bespoke pieces to selling them, fielding enquiries, packing, shipping, keeping accounts and answering questions like these! It’s a one-woman army (occasionally with the help of her husband, the equally-talented husband, Matt).
With everything from anchor rings to fang necklaces and custom designs, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to name a favourite. Especially if you were the person making them, and can make whatever you want! But Lani’s favourite piece is the wedding ring she made for her husband, which was created from melting down the yellow gold of a ring of her mother’s, a yellow gold band of her father’s, and set with a diamond given to her by her sister. “I really like melting down old pieces that I have accumulated from family over time, and reworking them into new, modern pieces I would actually wear,” she said.
The next step for Windfall will be creating a line of engagment rings (swoon), which Lani is super-excited about (and makes me want to get married again) – “big, sparkly, girly wedding rings with a bit of Windfall style”, she said. SO up my alley!
And how does she fit it all in? “It’s really hard when you work for yourself to find the perfect balance,” she said. “It’s also hard when you love what you do and the work doesn’t stop so you just keep going. My husband has a cool roster, 2days on 2days off an they are long 13 hour days. So if he is working so am I. When he is off then so am I. Which gives us this perfect balance of work and life ad gives us heaps of time together. I also travel as much as I can to recharge the soul. So when I work I work my butt off but then I take a lot of holidays to balance it out.”
So if you’re interested in collecting a couple of crazy, sustainably-sourced, handmade pieces made in a Melbourne studio to a hip hop and reggae playlist, then simply leave a comment telling us which of Lani’s pieces (found here) you totally love, and why. We will choose a winner based on their answers next Tuesday, December 10 at noon AEDT. One lucky winner will receive a Full of Love ring ($79.95) a Baby WF crescent moon ring (69.95), and an Under The Skies Above necklace (84.95), all in sterling silver.