Last night we headed to the Goldsmiths Centre for ‘In Conversation’ with industry leaders Shaun Leane and Leo De Vroomen. It was a sell-out event and totally exceeded our expectations.
The setting was intimate and casual, almost like being in someone’s front room, listening to a conversation and stories shared between friends. Jos Skeates, Owner of EC One and Chairman of the Goldsmiths Craft & Design Council, got the conversation started with a few prepared questions for the designers. The audience were invited to ask their own questions to keep it interesting.
Not all of their jobs were glamorous when starting out, but everyone has to start somewhere. Their apprenticeships were a huge part of their success and helped them find their style and develop into who they are today.
We learnt that both Leo and Shaun actually got into the industry by accident, but fell in love with being at the bench and seeing their designs evolve into life. The longevity and the emotional relationship with jewellery is why they love what they do and still have such a passion for it.
What was really interesting was a question on brands. A member of the audience asked Leo and Shaun if they consider themselves a brand and if that was important to them. Leo started by saying that being known as a brand actually isn’t very important him and he would rather people recognise and distinguish his jewellery by its style and signature, rather than by a brand. Shaun echoed this, saying he thinks of Shaun Lean as more of a ‘house’ than a brand and it is more important to stay true to your style of jewellery rather than sacrifice your identity for the sake of a name.
They had great advice for emerging designers; be confident with your work, experiment to find a style, be bold with it, stay true to your designs, love and believe in your work and this will resonate with buyers.
To sum up, it was an inspirational evening, unexpectedly entertaining by their humour and whit and we look forward to more of them.