KickStart Alumni: Interview with 2014 Winner, Kristjan Eyjolfsson

KickStart Alumni: Interview with 2014 Winner, Kristjan Eyjolfsson

It was an apprenticeship that spanned 7 years, through which time Kristjan honed his skills in much the same way venerable goldsmiths have done for centuries, developing an artisanal dedication to his profession that is increasingly rare today.

At 19, he received a scholarship to the prestigious Lahti Institute of Design and Fine Art in Finland, which he augmented with an Honours BA in Jewellery and Silversmithing in England. Advanced professional training followed, and it was not long before Kristjan was offered a head jeweller position at respected London company in 2006.

In 2012, Kristjan realised a long-held dream when he launched his namesake brand in partnership with his wife Ivonne, over the years he has won numerous awards for jewellery design and craftsmanship.

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

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

In mid-2016, I relocated to Sydney, Australia with my wife and baby. I set up my first studio in a charming suburb named Leichhardt, where the business generated a fair amount of local interest. In mid-2018, I made the decision to relocate to the central business district of Sydney, in order to be more accessible to my clients. So far, the move has paid off very well. In Sydney, my most popular collections include On The Rocks, Embrace, Ast and Cathedral – Australians appreciate bold designs and excellent craftsmanship and it is very rewarding.

Q. Where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration is growing and changing constantly and has done so throughout my career. I have always said that a designer’s mind never stops working and therefore is always viewing and analyzing everything around him or her; including nature, textures and forms. Inspiration can strike anywhere, even on well-deserved holidays – a shadow of a wall onto branches or leaves can ignite a new design idea which sometimes leads to a whole collection being created. It’s not exhausting, I promise!

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

Kickstart was a fantastic experience that gave me further branding focus and opened doors to many wonderful people in our industry.

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

To get the most out of Kickstart and being a part of IJL, my advice would be to strengthen all uncertain or weak areas of your business. Typically for us creatives these areas include accounting, branding, communications and marketing. Once you have tidied up these areas and you have a pretty solid approach to production and running your business, you can focus on listening and learning and fine-tuning your voice during the time you have with the program and at IJL. And then let the real work begin!

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

I’m highly dyslexic and this has had a major impact on my business. This is particularly the case in day-to-day correspondence with my clients and reviewing any written communications such as contracts and social media posts. I have tried a few different approaches and nowadays I use a different type of font for all the things I read and also use the text-to-speech feature in Word in order to ‘read’ documents and correspondence so that I fully understand things. These changes have enabled me to have more time and energy to develop my work.

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

Other than designing and making a brooch for Queen Elizabeth II back in 2012, my proudest moment would have to be the fact that despite moving my business from London to Sydney and taking time to enjoy being a new father, my business is thriving and continues to grow strongly in my new home. I look forward to what the future holds!

Heading into it’s 10th Year, KickStart 2019 is now open for submissions. Enter here:

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

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