Jo looks to business success thanks to Spectacle Works

Jewellery designer and maker Josefina Martinez has come a long way from working out of a spare room at her parents’ home.

Based at our Spectacle Works in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, Jo has been working flat out on festive orders for her stunning minimalist jewellery, craft fairs and jewellery-making workshops.

She credits our innovative living-accommodation-with-workshops created at the Grade II listed Victorian building in Hylton Street with giving her the support and space she needed to develop her fledgling business.

“This is such a uniquely interesting scheme,” says Jo, who moved into a stylish, airy apartment with workshop in April along with her partner Charles.  

“We struggled to find suitable accommodation because making jewellery from metals involves naked flames which landlords aren’t generally amenable to. Spectacle Works was exactly what we were looking for, not only designed to accommodate different crafts but based in Birmingham’s creative hub.

“The advantages include being able to live and work in the same space, use suppliers on the doorstep and the great transport links to the city centre and beyond. The downside is remembering to finish work as it’s so convenient and easy to keep going!”

Midland Heart bought the former Lessar Brothers spectacle factory in 2009 and with funding from Advantage West Midlands, the Homes and Communities Agency and Urban Living converted the building into 13 apartments and 13 workshops for young creatives to rent at an affordable cost.

Jo’s business ATypical Thing, encompasses online sales, selling her jewellery at craft fairs and jewellery-making workshops that are proving a quirky alternative to hen parties. Also popular with couples are her personalised ring-making sessions where they create each other’s wedding band.

Even the building has provided inspiration for Jo’s designs with the graceful arches of the metal window frames reflected in her range of curved earrings.

The repurposed factory building also echoes her love of recycling and passion for fashioning new from the unloved, as well as for designing dual-purpose items of jewellery.

Click on the link for more information about The Spectacle Works and spaces available to rent.


10th December 2019 | 2019