KickStart Alumni: Interview with 2014 Winner, Flora Bhattachary

KickStart Alumni: Interview with 2014 Winner, Flora Bhattachary

Known for her ‘East meets West’ style, Flora’s design is rooted in her family links with Asia.  Using conflict free diamonds, recycled gold and hand carving, each jewel is infused with tradition, pattern and symbolism. 

Flora has won a number of prizes, was an IJL KickStart winner in 2015, New Designer of the Year 2017 finalist in the UK Jewellery Awards and has recently made it to the finals of the Professional Jewellery Awards 2018.  

In honour of KickStart’s 10 year anniversary, we caught up with Flora to find out about her experience of being a KickStarter and her journey after.

Q. What have the last 12 months been like for Flora Bhattachary Jewellery and what have been your most successful pieces/collections?

In 2018 we’ve launched the Mor Collection, which is made of recycled gold, conflict free diamonds and Australian Opals.  We’ve worked hard to ensure that going forward our production uses ethically sourced stones and metals.  I’ve also been working closely with The Maiyet Collective to promote sustainable jewellery.

Q. Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration always comes from my family links with India and my early childhood experiences there.  I draw on Asian traditions, patterns and symbolism.  The new Mor collection is inspired by the Saraswati – the Hindu Goddess of knowledge.  She embodies all that is pure in nature – which is why she seemed appropriate as the symbol behind a sustainably sourced collection.

Q. What was your overall impression of KickStart and how did it help your business in its early stages?

KickStart was a great platform from which to get my name out, and introduce my designs to the trade.  I took orders and met new stockists – so it worked well for me as an introduction to retail and buyers.  We also gained a lot of PR around the show and met many of the key jewellery journalists – which has really helped us going forward..

Q. How can future KickStarters capitalise on their IJL Journey and the IJL experience? What would be your advice?

I think that you do have to see showing at trade shows as a journey – it isn’t just what happens at that one initial show.  We have shown at IJL subsequently – and each time it builds your profile and increases recognition of the brand.

Q. What was one of your biggest challenges in launching your jewellery brand and how did you overcome it?

It took me a long time to get the confidence to create my brand.  I worked for other jewellers and jewellery galleries for years before I launched.  I finally bit the bullet and went for it – after taking an MA at St Martins and really pushing myself to go for it!

Q. Finally, what is the proudest moment in your jewellery career?

I think that winning awards have been the proudest moments.  I was particularly delighted when I won two Awards at The Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council: Silver for the IJL Precious Jewellery Award and Silver for Fashion Led Conceptual Jewellery.  The GCDC Awards are so prestigious – so receiving awards which are  judged by some of the top professionals in the trade was amazing.

Heading into it’s 10th Year, KickStart 2019 is now open for submissions. Enter here: https://www.jewellerylondon.com/kickstart/

To read more terms and conditions about KickStart, please click here

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