An eight-year-old girl who started tinkering with jewelry for a school art auction now has New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Adern among her clients.
Twilight Edwards, now 15, sells pieces from her Taonga By Twilight label, which means treasure in Maori all over the country and the world.
The brand often can’t keep up with demand, raking in up to $ 10,000 a month.
Twilight Edwards gifted NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Adern a pair of earrings which she immediately put on
The earrings worn by NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Adern are the Huia Beak earrings, the Huia is an extinct native NZ bird
Twilight’s mother, Kara Edwards, told the Daily Mail Australia that she was always looking to try and learn new experiences.
“Twilight would take elementary jewelry classes and silver clay classes as a child, where she began to learn techniques for making her jewelry,” she said.
Her brand is loved by Ms. Adern, who wears her earrings at press conferences for celebrated events.
When Twilight heard she would be in the small town of Karetu Marae, she took a pair of her earrings in the hope that she would have the chance to give them to her as a present.
This piece from Taonga By Twilight is inspired by the Huia bird’s beak, it is made with fork tines
Her mother admitted that she did not think she would have a chance to present them.
But Twilight was introduced to the Prime Minister who shocked them both by immediately putting on the earrings.
The two have since met again when Twilight presented her with another pair of earrings that Ms. Adern has worn at several high-profile events.
“She was all over the media wearing her earrings, we were so excited and I remember recording the TV with my phone,” said Ms. Edwards.
Twilight Edwards puts most of her money back into learning new techniques
Taonga By Twilight has a very strong connection with Twilight’s heritage and most of the pieces have a special connection with Maori and Hawaiian cultures.
Her Kawakawa earrings are named after her Nana’s birthplace and it is also her favorite rongoa plant, known for its healing properties.
“They should all mean something to her, the leaf (earrings) has a lot of meaning to our family and her grandmother is from there,” Mrs. Edwards said.
“These earrings are not only a joy to wear, but also embody all the healing properties that Kawakawa blesses us with.”
Twilight grew up on the small island of Roberton in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, where her father was a caretaker for various properties and she had the freedom to fish, swim, forage and roam the island.
Ms. Edwards said the freedom of island life has given her a creative and experimental streak.
“ They had the freedom to do whatever they wanted, to build anything … they had a lot of time to play and fiddle and tinker with things, so I think that’s where it started, ” she said.
“People showed her how to do things and she would learn, and then she moved on.”
Most of Taonga By Twilight’s pieces are made with a connection to her Maori and Hawaiian culture
The Kawakawa leaves are made into earrings and have a special connection with Twilight’s heritage
These gilded Kawakawa leaves are linked to Twilight’s grandmother and are known to have healing properties
Ms Edwards said the brand received a lot of support from the local and Maori community, which has helped it grow.
“She’s so well supported by the wider community, if people were to buy teacher gifts and things like that, they would buy them from her instead of Target,” she said.
Everyone wore her jewelry at Maori events all the time. It is very special to see people wearing her jewelry.
“If she needed anything, I don’t hesitate to think there would be people to help.”
Her mom said she gives back where she can, which usually helps grow the brand.
“She donates a lot of pieces to lotteries and that in turn has helped her do her job,” she said.
Twilight invests most of the money it earns back into the business to help pay for new equipment and tools.
At Taonga By Twilight’s first store on the InnoNative Markets, she was named the best looking stall and won a $ 100 prize that put her in the direction of a silver clay job
The first time she opened a stall on the InnoNative Markets, her stall was named the best looking and with her $ 100 prize she could afford a class of silver clay.
Twilight’s mother said the company has led to a very busy life for her daughter, but the success is very exciting.
“She’s very excited, but sometimes she gets overwhelmed trying to meet customers’ needs while she’s on other things, but she seems to be coping well,” she said.
“I think she’s very grateful for the success, but she’s not talking about it.”
Twilight mainly sells her jewelry through its Facebook page Taonga by Twilight, as well as through Innovation Store and a Maori art gallery in New Zealand.
Twilight uses a number of different materials to make the pieces for Taonga By Twilight