International Jewellery London’s annual KickStart initiative is aimed at emerging UK designers looking to take their business to the next level.
10 up-and-coming design talents have been selected by the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) and IJL to have the unique opportunity to showcase their jewellery at IJL 2016 on a group stand in the prestigious Design Gallery.
Here, 2016 KickStart finalist Sammie Jo Coxon explains how her family farm inspired her debut collection, and reveals the business questions she’d ask an industry mentor…
Q: If you had to describe your brand in three words what words would you choose?
SJC: Sophisticated, contemporary and fun.
Q: How did you get started in the jewellery industry?
SJC: I have always leaned towards a creative career from a young age. This led me to study jewellery design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. I then continued my studies at the Gemological Institute of America and became a gemologist. After graduating, I worked at design houses such as Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson in their jewellery departments, and before I launched my own brand I worked at a diamond dealer in Hatton Garden.
Q: Can you explain a little bit more about your design style, your key collection(s) and the type of customer you are designing for?
SJC: My launching collection, Demeter, is named after the Greek Goddess of harvest and protector of marriage. The collection was designed in-between driving tractors and combine harvesters while helping my dad on our family farm during harvest time. This family tradition led me to name my first collection after the Greek goddess of harvest.
Demeter’s aesthetic is rich in graceful, geometric forms that give a sense of strength to the wearer. Great attention to detail has been paid to how each piece frames and compliments the body. With unique combinations of white sapphires, aquamarines, diamonds and freshwater pearls, each piece embodies a timeless and diverse quality.
I am designing for the style savvy woman. She is the woman that wishes to wear a sophisticated piece of jewellery that takes her from meetings in the day to a cocktail party with her girlfriends in the evening.
For Kickstart this year I will be debuting my next collection that promises to stay true to my geometric aesthetic while exploring new streamline silhouettes and explosive colour-ways.
Q: What are the most challenging aspects of launching and growing a new brand in 2016?
SJC: The most challenging aspect by far is the competition. It is extremely easy now to connect to a targeted audience through social media. For example Instagram is saturated with new images of jewellery and new brand pages every single day. It is imperative to have eye-catching images of well executed, well styled, appealing products for a new brand to be able to stand out from the crowd.
Q: If you had a mentor in the jewellery industry what would you ask them?
SJC: I would ask for advice on collaborating with entrepreneurs in other international luxury goods markets. I believe that working together with other like-minded professionals in international markets means we are less likely to miss a trick.
Keeping our customers satisfied in the knowledge that they are always been offered the best products at the most convenient times for their lifestyles. Happy customers are those safe in the knowledge that they are been treated to the best of our ability, leading to returning sales.
Q: Are there any types of retailers or stockists in particular that you are trying to attract?
SJC: I am hoping to build new relationships with press and buyers targeting the luxury goods sectors. I am hoping to acquire new stockists here in the UK and internationally; this will enable SJC London to reach new audiences worldwide through reputable and trusted sources.