Interview by Kaylie Hatos
Based in Brighton, Jess of Fawn and Rose makes modern handcrafted jewellery. Her geometric designs are brought to life using wood, clay and metal, and a variety of carefully chosen colours. The result is a collection of delicate pieces with an edge.
You can meet Jess in person and shop the Fawn and Rose range at the Crafty Fox Spring Markets on Saturday 12 April at the Bussey Building, Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 (12-5pm).
When did you start your business and what were your motivations?
I started out in 2011, making a necklace to replace an old favourite that broke. I struggled to find anything I liked in the high street shops, so I set about creating one for myself. I made a few more pieces here and there, and in mid-2012, I decided to test the waters and put a couple up for sale.
I was really happy when they sold! It's quite a buzz to design something from scratch and have people like it enough to buy it. So I gradually added more, and took the time to teach myself the skills I needed to expand the range, and it's been growing ever since.
Where do you get inspiration for your jewellery designs?
Everywhere! I live in Brighton, which is a lively and creative town - throw a stone and you'll hit a designer of some kind. It's a really great place to build a creative business, because there's a lovely crafty community here.
Do you work full-time on your business or are you also in employment?
I'm currently working part-time on my business. I'm hoping to be full-time by the end of the year. Thankfully my day job is creative and quite flexible, so that helps me juggle things quite nicely.
How much of your time is taken up with making/designing versus all of the other aspects of running your business?
I'd say I spend around 60% of my time designing and making, and 40% communicating with customers, stockists, and bloggers, sourcing supplies, and then there's the boring stuff - like keeping accounts up to date.
What does a typical day look like?
It always starts with a huge cup of caffeine (I'm not a morning person!), then I get straight on with replying to customer emails, processing any orders that have come in, and making the daily trip to the post office. Afternoons and evenings are usually when I settle into making new pieces, whether that means keeping current pieces stocked up, or starting new designs.
Can you share with us your 5 favourite designer-makers?
There are so many! A few that have caught my eye recently:
What is your top tip for someone thinking about starting a handmade business?
Be aware of trends, but don't let them dictate what you make. It's good to pay attention to trending colour palettes for example - and if you can find a way to incorporate these into your designs, that's great - but I think if you make what you love, you can't go wrong.