annette-colemanA THREE-WEEK holiday in Vietnam set South Australian Annette Coleman on the path to a new career and a new business, Gate Uniques.

Having spent years as a successful fashion designer designing the brands chetWynd and Gate, Ms Coleman had sold the businesses and was looking for a change.

“My husband had died and I had a baby and I had time to make a list of all the things I loved, and all the things I didn’t quite love, about the old business,” she said.

In Vietnam, Ms Coleman met a local silversmith and was inspired to design her own pieces of jewellery.

Back in Adelaide, her self-designed jewellery proved so popular she launched her online business Gate Uniques in late-2009.

Ms Coleman said all the pieces had a story behind them. Materials used included silver, leather, wood and semi-precious stones.

“The designs are not just about following a fad,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to rely on seasons and what is in fashion. I am starting to introduce birthstones to the range, and pearls.”

Bespoke designs were also a large part of the business, which Ms Coleman ran from the home she shared with her 10-year-old daughter.

“Being online, means I can travel and still have the business going,” she said. “I have a friend who will send out orders while I’m travelling.”

She said 60 per cent of her sales were in SA and the remainder were interstate and overseas customers.

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ALEXANDRA ECONOMOU,  published this post originally on THE ADVERTISER