We spoke to Chris Hood from Metal Urges Fine Jewellery to hear his business story:
What is your name and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Chris Hood, I’m a jewellery and gemstone addict. I own and run Metal Urges Fine Jewellery & Diamonds in Hobart, Tasmania. We specialise in ‘mine to market’ or ‘river to ring’ jewellery. This means that we source our stones from all over the planet and ideally we source it as closely as possible to where it is actually mined. The intention being that the community who mined the stone and did the hard work directly benefit as much as possible. We then produce jewellery using the stone in our Hobart workshops for clientele all over the planet! At the end of the day some of our stones are extremely well travelled!
What is your businesses story? How did you come to start this business?
As a child, I was very practical focused and lucky to have a family with a beautiful workshop I was also regularly picking up stones and things I saw value in! During my primary education – High school, the subjects that I took a lot of time with were my metal work and wood work. I did the other subjects; I did the academia but they never really floated my boat. It was always the hands –on subjects I loved. I wanted to get to the end of each day and actually have made something physical to show for my efforts. Metal Urges is the perfect manifestation of that. In my opinion there is no better workshop than a jewellery workshop. My staff and I can pretty much make anything in our space…we just choose to make beautiful gemstone driven jewellery! If you meet me and get me talking I always wind up on the subject to the fantasy array of modern and vintage tool we use every day…it’s just a pleasure to be in this space and we love our clients to share it with us!
What do you love most about having a business in Hobart?
That’s simple! Hobart is the best place on the planet! I travel a lot and I’ve never visited a place that even came close to Hobart for ease and quality of living. Our lifestyle is such high quality; In a few minutes, you can be outside of the city and into practically virgin bush and enjoying the environment… And then in Metal Urges we have this beautiful product obviously high value but small volume. So, it is perfect for shipping it anywhere around the world. We get to live in paradise and send our piece wherever their new homes may be!
What made you want to start your own small business?
The main drive was that, personally I didn’t want to be constrained by a boss or a structure so the main reason for me going into business was that I’m a bad employee…fortunately it seems I’m a reasonable business person and boss (though I find the title unappealing…I work together with great people and friends). Several of the team have left for whatever reason and returned years later and I find that flattering and it makes me feel really proud of the way the Metal Urges team have managed the business and developed over the years.
What is your business famous for? Do you have a signature service?
Metal urges isn’t just an arts-based jewellery business and it isn’t a traditional jewellery business either. It’s somewhere in the middle…we are the business that takes on those often complex fantasy type jobs, discerning people interested in the process come up with! We don’t turn work away; we rise to those challenges! We avoid mass production consciously preferring individual one off makes! We work with and collect the rarest gemstones and develop unusual techniques such as Mokume Gane . Recently we have started importing Meteorite to use in our men’s rings. Are aim is to make fine quality jewellery with a twist…designed to last at least 100 years!
What is your fave local business(es) in your area?
Other than Metal Urges – that’s a really tough one as we are so spoiled for restaurants. It’s got to be a food business for me because food is one of my other major passions! I’d actually tie it between Criterion Street Café and the New Sydney Hotel. Both of these exceptional businesses are within 50 metres of my business so I’m fortunate to enjoy them both regularly.
Do you have any advice for small businesses just starting up?
If you want to grow your business you need to behave as if you are a big business! Also careful about what you wish for and make sure your wishes and dreams are the same. Sometimes I find myself missing the bench time I used to get…but then again I now get the regular gem travel!
If you are a small business, forget mass production. Forget bulk buying, my firm belief is that your only option is to go high end as you are always going to be beaten on price by bigger business buying mass production. So go high end, provide the highest quality service or product you can…the clients will come!
What’s one quirky fact about your business?
Metal Urges is based around an addiction basically, and that addiction is coloured gemstones. We have a hundred times more coloured gemstone than the average jewellery business! This is the backbone of metal urges and totally sets us apart. We’ve got it because I’m a gemstone addict and I can’t stop collecting them. It means we have the ability to show more coloured gemstones and quality diamonds in one location than any other jewellery business I have ever visited…anywhere!