DIARY OF A MINIATURE ENTHUSIAST is a brand that creates intricate and delicate pieces of jewellery, painstakingly handmade with crystals, beads, pearl and stones.
The contemporary designs of the brand’s beautiful earrings and dainty necklaces are simply gorgeous.
It may surprise some that these amazing pieces of jewellery are singlehandedly crafted by Wendy Gan, a mother of two boys, on a desk in a corner of her home, and not in a professional workshop.
“When I design a piece of jewellery, I will try to make sure that each piece brings out the beauty of the woman who wears it,” Gan explained.
“My passion to make beautiful things inspired me to create my own jewellery including unique, one-of-a-kind pieces which no one else has, and encourages me to keep exploring new ideas and techniques,” said Gan.
“My inspiration comes from all things beautiful, be it artisan cakes, floral bouquets, architecture or fashion, and sometimes my customers’ would send me their own inspirations as well,” added Gan, who describes her design sensibilities as “very feminine”.
More than a decade ago, Gan bought a Reader’s Digest starter kit, which came with a set of jewellery pliers with beads. She began to venture into craftsmanship by making miniatures and jewellery.
“I started off with a blog documenting all my handmade miniatures with polymer clay back in 2007. I love miniatures, dollhouses and as such, it was simply a blog to write about my interest,” said Gan, whose lovely creations can be viewed at www.theminidiary.com.
“Then, I slowly incorporated my hobby of jewellery-making into it. Charms are also a form of miniatures, which I love. Many people started to notice, and that’s when the business started to pick up.”
She came up with the idea of customising charm bracelets.
Customers could pick their favourite charms, or choose to personalise charms that mean something to them.
“I was one of the first to introduce this idea, and it was a big hit especially at bazaars, about 10 years ago,” she said.
The online business (@theminidiary on Facebook and Instagram) was started while she was in her third year in architecture at Universiti Sains Malaysia in 2007, but there were challenges as the sales figures were inconsistent due to her lack of marketing skills. “I am not good at marketing my items,” she admitted.
“Initially, it wasn’t very profitable with the low price point that I had set. Slowly, I attended more talks and classes to learn and improve my business module, and it turned out to be very resourceful through the years. I am happy to say that my online business is now much more stable than it used to be.”
Making a difference
Gan’s stunning creations are very different compared to others. She incorporates special tensha beads from Japan in her jewellery. These acrylic beads are specially decorated by hand, and are very difficult to find outside of Japan.
“I was the first to bring in Japanese tensha beads into the Malaysian market, as I couldn’t get them anywhere else locally. I managed to purchase these beautiful beads directly from Japan and incorporate them in my jewellery designs.
“As for polymer clay jewellery, every single piece is handmade from scratch. From the conditioning (process), mixing of the clay colours to designing every single piece, drilling, sanding and finally, assembling it into one piece.
“These are truly unique and one-of-a-kind as each piece is limited and no one else would have it.”
In fact, Gan’s inventive creativity is not limited to just accessories. She also crafted a challenging and time-consuming Swarovski crystal bouquet for a bride.
“That was a very memorable project. Although it’s not a piece of jewellery, it actually brought me a lot of joy to see the bride carrying such a beautiful sparkly handmade bouquet down the aisle,” said Gan.
The next collection
Currently, she is exploring the idea of creating more jewellery with Japanese tensha beads and incorporating polymer clay, as well.
At the same time, she is working on a new collection of jewellery, which is clearly influenced by Japanese art and culture.
“One of my latest collection is the Ikebana series, inspired by the Japanese art of floral arrangement.”
Apart from earrings and necklaces, Gan has also expanded her creativity into making other accessories such as jewellery sets, lanyards, hair clips and bracelets.
But all of these projects will be explored further in the future as Gan, who is expecting her third baby, plans to focus on raising her children for now.
Once they are slightly older, she intends to resume conducting crafting workshops at her new office. Her ambition is to eventually export her jewellery overseas.