Maybe being the fact that she was a sub-editor and familiar with smallprint in the literal sense was a karmic giveaway to what was lying ahead. But, it sure would not have made her prepared for the overwhelming success that her second outing with ‘smallprint’ did for her - her line of original silver fingerprint jewelry that takes a personal imprint of babies’ fingers, hands or feet onto precious metal clay, a combination of silver particles and organic material which when fired in a kiln produces fine silver. Maija Pykett’s Smallprint, what essentially started as a one-woman job in 2004 has now 116 franchisees all over the world, from Bahrain to China, and from America to New Zealand, her latest being in America, and redefining the concept of personal jewelry worldwide !A trip to the local Mom store to have her eldest son Dylan’s footprint and palmprints framed as keepsakes also made her aware of the huge potential the ‘sector’ offered. She hit upon the perfect medium to translate the idea – of keepsakes that you carry around with you, close to your skin and heart rather than being stuck in ornate frames displayed on the Family Honor Mantelpiece in the form of PMC or Precious Metal Clay, on a chance visit to the ceramic cafe where her sister in law worked. Precious Metal Clay was developed by scientists in Japan in the 1990s. It looks and behaves like clay but is a combination of an organic material in which minute particles of silver are suspended. Once dried and fired, the resulting form is pure silver.
Maija uses Precious Metal Clay, which allows her to take a fingerprint on a piece of jewellery and fire it in a kiln to form solid silver. Her range of jewelery includes pendants, cufflinks, chain bracelets and even dog tags. Smallprint jewelry range includes its High Fives and Little Kickers which takes actual imprints from children’s hand and feet; Mini Masters which takes replicas of a child’s work of art, and Little Letters which takes a child’s first wrtings, all ranges are beautifully produced and customized onto polished silver. Silver pieces available for purchase are key rings, necklaces, bracelets,, cufflinks and many other items are available through Smallprint’s jewelry line.
In 2006, Maija Pykett started offering franchises for her keepsake jewelry model and the response was so overwhelming that her husband left his full-time job to concentrate on Smallprint in furthering its reach and overseeing the management side of the business worldwide. The Smallprint franchise model is a blend of creating hand crafted quality silver keepsakes along with the commitment to market the product line through interacting with customers, many of which are children. Smallprint franchisees skip retail establishment in place of Tupperware-style parties and in home shows to sell the pieces.
“Smallprint jewelry is unlike any other, because the silver jewelry pieces display imprints of a child’s, fingers, hands and feet. Each fingerprint piece is personally touched by the child creating a particularly special quality that is unmatched in the commercial jewelry industry,” said Maija, on the eve of Smallprint opening its new U.S. office to expand its international franchise operation and launch the first Smallprint franchisee in California.
“Many new moms or entrepreneurs searching for a sustainable business opportunity, perhaps something very different from what they did before, will find that a Smallprint franchise is an ideal business for them.” It seems to have worked wonders as its turnover rose to £750,000 with a profit of £110,000 in the year ending April 2009. They are aiming for £1 million in the current financial year.
Smallprint also supports Sands UK which supports anyone affected by the death of a baby and promotes research to reduce the loss of babies’ lives, by offering a donation of 10% to Sands each time an item of jewellery is commissioned through Sands Northern Ireland.