I grew up on the island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland; Islay “Queen of the Hebrides” is the most southerly of the Inner Hebridean Islands. It is 25 miles long, 20 miles wide and has a population of about 3,000 people. It doesn’t have a McDonalds, a Starbucks or even a Tesco’s – instead it has it has almost 130 miles of beautiful unspoilt coastline, the 2000 year old Kildalton Cross and Loch Finlaggan where the Lord of the Isles had his settlements from the 12th to the 16th centuries. Islay is also home to 8 whisky distillery’s and a golf course designed by Willie Campbell.
When I was 17, I left Islay to study at the University of Stirling, it was while living in Stirling I met my partner Andy and acquired the nickname Tricky when a rather tipsy friend, misspelt my real name, Tricia!
After graduating from Stirling I moved to Exeter to study for my masters degree, I have now been living in Exeter for almost 5 years. I really enjoy living in Exeter and love the fact that we have all the benefits of city life on our doorstep while we can also be in the countryside after just 10 minutes on our bikes or at the seaside in 30 minutes on the train!
In August 2009 my son was born and I gave up work to be a full time mum. In early 2011 I decided to turn start my own business and Tricky's Boutique was born.
I began selling my handmade jewellery from local craft & artisan markets and I started my first website in July 2011.
I try to run my business in the most ethical and eco-friendly way possible. This means I use recycled paper to print receipts on, all the packaging I use is recycled, mostly I use recycled Graze boxes and as a results all my customers can get themselves a free graze box using the code: BW1VJCV. Everytime someone signs up using this code £1 is donated to the Graze school of farming which is based in Kabubbu, a village in the heart of rural Uganda. Students are taught how to grow, maintain and then harvest fruit from their own trees.
All of the gemstones I use in my jewellery are ethically sourced which means that all the miners and lapidarists are paid a decent wage and work in a safe environment. My gemstone supplier is also committed to helping entire mining communities by building schools and water wells in mining villages. They also help mines to ensure that they do not damage their natural environment by encouraging practices such as replanting 3 trees for every 1 which has to be removed to allow mining and asking local wildlife charities and trusts to assists when mapping out new roads and mines to minimise the affect on the local plants and animals.
Even though many of the gemstones I work with are actually rarer than diamonds they are no longer regulated in the same manner which means that miners are free to sell their gems to whoever they wish whereas previously (and as is still the case with diamonds) there was only one ‘regulating’ body who could set the price which meant the miners got paid very little while gems were sold on for huge profits. Now companies can buy directly from the miner which ensures that everybody gets a better deal!