Welcome to the Tree of Opals website and here you’ll learn a little bit more about us.
Owner and Artist
Hi I’m Nikki Kamminga. Keepsake artist and jeweller. I’m a single parent to three children and tutorial maker. I love to cook, sketch and travel whilst learning a new language. Someone who has lost both a parent and a baby, rainbow parent. This is about me and my family and my personal feelings about Tree of Opals memorial and keepsake jewellery business. My eldest two children have additional needs and my youngest likes to breastfeed all the time! One day I would like to do charity work with people suffering domestic abuse especially financial abuse because this is close to my heart.
Nikki appeared on This Morning in April 2017 with Holly and Phil to talk about the trend of umbilical cord and other baby keepsakes
I believe in middle way parenting and following my instincts, so when I had trouble breastfeeding after a breast reconstruction I looked into alternatives to give my baby what I thought was the best start in life; by asking other families for breastmilk on the internet.
When I lost a baby in between Ayla and Hannah, my grief sent me down a path to learn more about reusable menstrual products. I attended a red tent even near my hometown. When I gave birth to Hannah by planned caesarean I kept my placenta and made my own capsules, balm and artwork from it. I trained as an encapsulation specialist and met more inspiring working people, some of whom made beautiful jewellery.
Struggling to cope when my baby was just a few weeks old, I had post natal depression and started drinking heavily. I don’t like to drink much now because it’s a slippery slope. I needed an outlet for my creativity and a way to make money to buy food for the family. I learnt more about myself and I saw a chance to combine some of my skills in art, creativity, web design, marketing, blogging and customer service with my obsession with keeping my babies’ mementos, unshockability and familiarity with pain and loss. I started Tree of Opals in the summer of 2015 while exclusively breastfeeding Hannah.
This business has grown faster than I have ever anticipated and I’ve plunged every penny I’ve taken back into it and every child benefit payment I’ve had, and a some of my ex’s salary. I worked for free, alone, for six months as well as being a full time parent to a baby and a toddler. Our world collapsed when their dad was made redundant and we had to move the studio for the fourth time in six months. I thought I’d never catch up with orders and my mental health spiralled downhill. Things improved when another artist started helping me with orders but when I realised again that they weren’t to my standards I had to work alone again and remake dozens of orders. I had problems finding artists and took on an apprentice, but she left not long after training. Throughout 2017 things were very difficult and I had to increase the estimated lead time to six to eight months now because of the popularity of my jewellery.
Around that time, some customers unhappy with waiting joined together in a group and started bullying me along with strangers. I received dozens of bad reviews and two court cases that ended with me attempting suicide. I made it through and promised myself that I wouldn’t take things personally and I’d deal with issues when they cropped up.
Things are going so well now, with my other business Keepsaker Supplies doing better than ever. I have five helpers including my mum who packages up glitter at her house for me.
Creative admin manager Joanna juggles being a full-time mummy, creating gorgeous machine embroidery and helping our clients do anything from choose a piece to logging in, she sends out our kits once a week and keeps the orders organised. Couldn’t do it without you!
18 thoughts on “About Us”
Hi, is the rose breastmilk pendant still available please?
Here’s the listing, just select rose from the drop down http://treeofopals.co.uk/shop/solid-breastmilk-pendant/
Hi do u do the umbilical cord charms but with a smooth charm..
Thanks for the query, yes the new shape of charm is the smooth style and they’re all made like that unless you ask for something different. I’ve popped you an email x
I was wondering if you ship to the US?
Hey yes we do all the time. It will calculate postage at checkout for you no problem.
What a lovely read, as a mother who has lost a child myself I understand so much of what you wrote (and what you didn’t) Keep up the good work, your on a good road now xx
Hi Nikki I would like to say a very big thank you for making my beads ,I feel I can now put my beloved does ash into my garden,as I will now always have them with me .The beads are out of this world and I am so happy so thank you so much.I also love the beads you made for my daughter in law and myself for the loss of her babies thank you again x
Oh Liz thank you so much for this beautiful review. It was our pleasure to make them for you and it’s lovely to hear that you can lay your dogs’ ashes to rest and I’m glad we could give you some charms to keep a memory of your angel grandchild close.
do you ship to Canada? If so, how much hair do I need to send for a glass pearl pendant? I don’t have very much hair and am worried about losing any during shipping.
Please let me know!
Hi Cydney yes we ship worldwide and we only need a few strands of hair to make one of our resin pearls. If you can send me a pic of how much you have to email@example.com or on our Facebook page below.
Does the breast milk have to be fresh or can it be frozen?
Hi Poppy we actually recommend frozen, we suggest you freeze about half an ounce (15ml) before you order so you know you’ve got milk there. Of course you can express fresh if you prefer though.
We can use milk that’s been frozen ten years or more too!
Do you still do breast milk jewellery? I had a lovely necklace from you just over 2 years ago and wanting something again for my latest daughter x
Hi Natalie we no longer sell breastmilk jewellery but I recommend Precious by Kerry (on Facebook)
i m very much intrested to start this business …can u give me the guidance hw can i start …n hw can get that keesake mould…etc…
Hi Hema, have a look at my other business http://www.keepsakersupplies.com for tutorials, blogs and supplies. Enjoy!
I’m trying to find a white gold cremation ashes ring, I love the Opel finish that you have but can’t find any information about white gold
Could you advise?