Spotlight: Avalanche Jewellery
Posted on 14 January 2017
It's pretty safe to say that most of us lead super busy lives. Trying to juggle so many things at once can be tough and unless you lock down your own system, it can sometimes take it's toll on you.
Being a new designer in the fashion industry is not always sunshine and rainbows. There's a lot to learn along the way.
We caught up with Avalanche Jewellery to find out how she juggles being a momma, a wife and a jewellery designer all in one and we got the chance to find out what life's really like.
Where did you grow up?
In Totnes in South Devon. It’s a really alternative little town bursting with art and music and loads of bongo playing hippies!
What was your first job out of college/school?
I worked in a bar on the campus of my college, I just stayed on when I graduated. They hosted a huge music and writing Summer School with guest writers and musicians, I absolutely loved it.
Was there a major event in your life when you realised that you wanted to make jewellery?
No major event as such. I’ve been making stuff for as long as I can remember and always loved fashion and style so really I guess it was inevitable in a way.
What was the first piece that you created? How have your designs evolved since then?
It was a bone I carved out of wax then had cast in sterling silver (see pic). I would like to think my wax carving skills have improved a bit since then! Also, now I pay more attention to how it functions as a piece of jewellery - how it would hang etc.
Does your local city/town influence your designs? If so, how?
I no longer live in London but I’d say London definitely influences my designs. I have always found London’s street style really inspiring and love that no one bats an eye lid no matter what people wear. Sometimes just checking out someone’s style on the tube can give me an idea. Now I sound like a creep!
Can you remember selling the first item that you made? How did you feel?
Yes I can, I definitely did a happy dance! That hasn’t really gone away just because so much of myself is invested in each piece.
What stages do you go through to create a new piece? We would love to know your thought process.
Normally it starts off as a sketch in my notebook. Currently I’m working on a new collection which is inspired by Ancient Egypt so I’m immersing myself in all that amazing imagery and scribbling down anything I like. It’s such an amazing, rich source of inspiration I defy anyone not to feel inspired! Then at some stage I’ll play around with the (terrible) sketches until they become something I’m happy with, maybe a pendant or a ring. Then I’ll carve it out of wax where it usually becomes something else entirely! When I’m happy with the wax model I’ll have it cast in sterling silver. It comes back from the casters really rough so in the process of cleaning it up and polishing it I usually get busy filing and reshaping it some more. This becomes the prototype from which I’ll get a mould made.
Other than your own work, what is your most prized possession and why?
A gold and garnet ring. My dad died when I was quite young and my mum didn’t know what to do with their wedding rings so my brother and I each designed a ring and my mum had them made by a really cool local jewellery designer. So I guess in a way it’s also my first ever design as well having sentimental value!
Take us through your "typical" day at the workshop
So I usually get woken up way too early by our 18 month old boy, Marlowe. Whilst getting him sorted with breakfast I’ll do emails and look over any orders. I usually hang out with him until he has a nap late morning then I’ll head to my workshop which is adjacent to the house. I’ll stick on some music (not too loud so I can listen out if Marlowe wakes up!) and work on some wax carvings. Then when the little man wakes up we’ll have lunch and go out to the post office with any orders. I’ll do some social media bits and emails in the afternoon whilst looking after Marlowe. Juggling both is certainly a challenge! The evening is when I’ll often get absorbed in researching and sketching my new designs.
What part of the day do you look forward to?
At the moment it’s most definitely sleeeeeeeeep time! When I’m not an overtired momma it’s those quiet hours in the workshop just me and some music or maybe a podcast.
If you could see any person in the world wearing your designs, who would it be and why?
French artist Sophie Calle. I was so into her when I was at art college, I even looked up where she lived in Paris and stalked her. And again I sound like a creep! It’s not something I’d do now, honestly. Though maybe if it meant I could give her one of my designs…!
If you could choose one designer to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
Pamela Love. I love everything she does. She was a huge inspiration when I first started out.
What has been the highlight for your brand so far?
I was introduced to a jewellery designer friend of a friend last year who is way more established than I am. His help, advice and contacts have been invaluable and he has been a bit of a mentor really. He’s helped me push forward in areas I hadn’t even considered.
If you could reach a huge milestone for your brand in the next year, what would it be?
To branch out internationally. Starting with France just because I’m half French so have family there. And get my next collection out and on the shelves.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
That everyone is just winging it! Even the most intimidating people you want to impress, well they’re just people with their own insecurities trying to impress different people. So don’t miss an opportunity just because you’re worried what they might think, just approach them and don’t worry about making a fool of yourself!
What would we find in your bag right now?
What item can you not live without and why?
My lipstick. It’s one of life’s essentials.
Sum up your personality in 3 words?
Must I, really?
What is your favourite song right now?
Avant Gardener by Courtney Barnett
Describe your perfect weekend…
Eurostar to Paris with my husband. Lunch at the top of the Pompidou Centre, a wander through a flea market, stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens. It’s where we got married so it’s extra romantic for us.
Discover the Avalanche Jewellery collection here