A Nova Scotia-born jeweller is feeling just a touch of Kate Middleton's star power after the Duchess of Cambridge bought and wore a set of her earrings in Yukon this week.
Shelley MacDonald, who is from Antigonish and now lives in Whitehorse, said she's been flooded with orders less than 24 hours after Kate was photographed wearing the earrings. She's fielded 200 new orders — all for the earrings Kate wore on Wednesday.
"This is the largest jump in sales I've had since starting my business just three years ago," said MacDonald.
'It's quite an honour'
Prince William and Kate arrived on Canada's West Coast on Sept. 24, and are touring parts of British Columbia and Yukon. The pair were touring the community of Carcross, Yukon, when Kate bought the earrings.
"This is every designer's dream is to have the duchess wear anything of theirs," said MacDonald, "It's quite an honour to have her wear one of my designs. I'm kind of speechless."
MacDonald makes most of her jewelry by hand and sells it throughout Yukon. MacDonald also has a small shop in Carcross that's usually open from May until September.
If Kate wears it, people notice
Kate's style is big business. Everything she wears in public is immediately dissected by numerous websites, and those sites include information on where you can buy the duchess's clothes and accessories.
The earrings were based on the Inuit knife the ulu, with a few design flairs added by MacDonald.
"The base of the earring is bronze and I put a finish on it to make it a little bit, like, frosty looking. Then the whole back of the earring, the earring hook is sterling silver."
The earrings cost $95 and can be ordered off the online crafters' marketplace Etsy.
Started with fishing line and rocks
MacDonald said she started making jewelry in Antigonish when she was a kid, and it grew into a passion as she got older.
"I used to steal my dad's fishing line and wrap rocks and try to sell them. When I was about 14 to 16, I started my own business and started selling at the local farmers market in Antigonish."
After she finished high school, MacDonald went to the NSCAD University in Halifax and received formal training in jewelry design and metal smithing.
Business opportunities in Yukon
Once she graduated MacDonald moved to Yukon because she felt it was becoming a hub area for the north and it would be a great place to start her business.
"Starting a business in the north is definitely something that I would recommend to anyone, it's just a great place," said MacDonald,
"The economy is so great up there, there's lots of tourists up there so my business just keeps growing and growing. I love being up there because I'm so inspired by the landscape and my surroundings."