Pretty purple ribbons and beautiful butterflies are at the centre of a lot of the jewellery Julie Herbert makes, but it is not just because she likes them.
To most of us, these are simply lovely girly symbols, but for Julie they have much more significance - they are a symbol of health conditions she suffers from, but also her independence.
The mum-of-one, who runs online jewellery business EveryoneLovesGifts, suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition which is recognised as wide spread pain that affects the muscles and nerve stimuli. She also has chronic fatigue syndrome.
As a result of these conditions, Julie Herbert can not walk far without experiencing pain and also suffers from excessive fatigue and poor memory, among other symptoms.
When she was diagnosed in 2012, she knew that she would be unable to return to full-time employment because of the severe pain she experiences, but she still wanted to do something valuable with her time - and so EveryoneLovesGifts was born.
Julie said: “I always enjoyed crafting while I was growing up so knew this was the route I wanted to go down.
“This is when I first had the idea of awareness jewellery. To begin with, the jewellery was for those suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
“Before I was diagnosed I knew nothing about fibromyalgia and knew there were others out there, like me, who wanted their voice to be heard and I thought that if handmade jewellery could do this and make them feel better, it was priceless.
“The awareness ribbon for fibromyalgia is purple, but that also happens to be my favourite colour. Butterflies also have a relevance to fibromyalgia. I also feature spoons in my jewellery to remind fellow suffers to save some energy.”
Julie is now not able to get out of the house much due to her conditions, but she did not let this stop her, and the determined entrepreneur used online tutorials to teach herself how to make jewellery,
She added: “I knew this was something I would love to do and now it is real passion.”
Though Julie is unable to go outside much, she admirably still supports local businesses when she can. She said: “The pieces that I cannot make, like chains, I purchase from all different places - mostly online as I cannot get out much the online world really is my lifeline.
“I have been able to source some materials locally where I live, mostly small shops and market stalls. I believe that all small businesses are in this together and without them around our towns will become ghost towns.”
You can browse Julie’s full range of jewellery which includes necklaces and keychains, and buy online, at www.amazon.co.uk/handmade/everyonelovesgifts. Also search ‘Everyone Loves Gifts’ on Facebook and search for ‘@every1lovesgift’ on Twitter and ‘@everyonelovesgifts’ on Instagram.