Roberta Pederzoli runs Quinta Essenza in Perth, which creates hand-made Italian contemporary jewellery inspired by the Scottish landscape.
Q. How and why did you start in business?
A. A few years ago, I was playing in the park in Italy with my daughter. We were making necklaces by joining daisies together.
It reminded me of when I was young and being secretly pleased any time a temperature thermometer fell, releasing its mercury.
Despite knowing it was dangerous, I loved playing with it, separating the mercury into little spheres and hypnotically watching them merge together.
I decided I wanted to retrain in jewellery making so that’s what I did!
In 2013, I won an award by The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council, also known as the Oscar of the Jewellery Industry.
This gave me the confidence of pursuing a career in jewellery, hence Quinta Essenza was born. I design and make distinctive Italian contemporary jewellery, inspired by Italian culture and Scotland’s natural environment.
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
A. Taking small steps and learning from my mistakes. I still remember when I started my business, it seemed like such a daunting task, so much to do and not being sure where to start.
It was paramount for me to have small achievable targets and to overcome the fear of making mistakes. A lot of great business ideas never reach the market because of excessive perfectionism.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
A. My family. I am also grateful to GrowBiz. Their support has been outstanding and their events and business resources are great.
Q. What was your biggest mistake?
A. Sometimes working too hard, but not in a smart way.
Q. What is your greatest achievement to date?
A. Winning The Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council award and, recently, making a group of medals. This last commission meant a great deal for me both personally and artistically.
Q. How has coronavirus impacted your business?
A. I understood how important it is to adapt. I am not tech savvy, but in the last few months I have learnt new digital skills, which enabled me to communicate with my customers and other organisations.
Q. What do you hope to achieve in the future?
A. I would like to expand my technique in medal making. They are a very symbolic medium to distil ideas.
I am also keen on providing workshops for general wellbeing. I believe art has an incredible therapeutic power.
This is particularly true at present as Covid-19 has affected everyone.
At the moment I am working with Creative Stirling and other artists to deliver workshops aimed at people who have been particularly affected by the pandemic.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
A. Reaching a healthy work-life balance.
Q. Any advice to wannabe entrepreneurs?
A. As I mentioned earlier, starting with small steps, being able to adapt and being open to spot opportunities, even in difficult times.
Running a business is not a sprint but a marathon. Working for yourself can make you feel very lonely.
Moving into my new studio at Perth Creative Exchange run by Wasps Studios has been a turning point for me. This gave me access to a lot of support and opportunities.