Meet the woman behind Abu Dhabi's cutest new baby gifts
Turn special memories into solid silver accessories and the perfect personalised gift.
The Cadillac on your drive? A picture of your family? The degree certificate that’s mounted on your office wall? Materialistic or intangible, Smallprint, a unique, hand-crafted jewellery franchise, gives precious a whole new meaning.
Smallprint is a keepsake company that allows you to commemorate special memories by turning them into trendy treasures. Dates, names, fingerprints or drawings can all be turned into items of jewellery made from solid, polished silver.
Carol-Anne Watson is a busy mum to Gabriella, five, and Arianna, 23 months, and the new owner of the UAE branch of Smallprint. Carol-Anne bought the local franchise in February, and following jewellery-making training in the UK, started trading in the UAE in April. ‘I adore Smallprint jewellery and have some of my own,’ she says. ‘So taking over the franchise was a no-brainer for me.’
Smallprint was originally the brainchild of Maija Pykett after she got her three-month-old son’s hand and footprints cast in a clay mold in 2004. Maija’s silver keepsake company sparked such national and international interest that she and her husband went on to establish a global network of franchises, which now spans South Africa, Singapore, Thailand and Lebanon.
You can choose from a wide range of pendants, cufflinks, keyrings and Christmas decorations. You can also select charms that fit bracelets from the upmarket jewellery brand Pandora. Carol-Anne then captures children’s and adults’ fingerprints, handprints, footprints, writing or doodles in a soft, clay-like material called precious metal clay (PMC). The prints appear immediately.
All of the pieces are handcrafted by Carol-Anne herself. When she has shaped, hand-engraved and perfected the PMC, she fires it in a kiln to form a piece of jewellery that is pure silver. Depending on how busy she is, the whole process takes three to four weeks. ‘It’s a very intricate process that requires a lot of skill and attention to detail,’ she says.
The keepsakes all come packaged in boxes in branded bags, which include a set of care instructions and a polishing cloth. ‘There is no age limit to these products,’ she explains. ‘We once had a man write “Marry me” on a pendant – what a lovely way to pop the question.’
If you’re stuck for inspiration, visit the Smallprint website or view sample pieces at Carol-Anne’s home in Mushrif, Abu Dhabi – your children can play in the adjoining playroom. Alternatively, if you gather a minimum of five pals, Carol-Anne will come to your home, nursery or playgroup for free. After viewing samples, Carol-Anne will introduce her range and prices. If you like a piece, she will take your prints and the host will bag a 15 percent discount. Discounts of ten percent are also given to Etihad Airways staff and Abu Dhabi Mums, a voluntary membership organisation run by and for parents in the UAE capital.
‘The response from customers when they see their finished piece is almost always emotional,’ she adds. ‘Many customers are moved to tears, and I must confess, I have shed a few with them myself!’
It just goes to show, these trendy treasures are more than just jewellery – they’re lasting memories. Prices start at Dhs405 for pendants, Dhs550 for cufflinks, Dhs525 for keyrings and Dhs260 for charms. Smallprint, Abu Dhabi, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.smallprint.com (056 689 8570).