UK Made Ethical Jewellery

UK Made Ethical Jewellery Sophia Hargreaves

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Jeweller – Sophia Hargreaves” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1542120045652{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”UK Made Ethical Jewellery” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Next up on our blog is an interview with UK Made Ethical Jewellery talent, Sophia Hargreaves. It’s number nine in our series which will be released throughout 2018. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Sophia. She designs, creates, repairs and manufactures bespoke, handmade and ethical jewellery from her workshop in Hebden Bridge.

Our #ProjectWabiSabi month nine showcase is all about metal and in particular, copper. This is the material which marks the ninth wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during November, I will also be making a copper design of my own. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-8-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”3601″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

The Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?

Sarah and I met at Loughborough uni. I didn’t know Sarah that well until after uni really, and our work crosses over with us both utilising each others’ skill sets for various small business help when needed. I also made Sarah’s engagement and wedding rings (see more here).

We’re really lucky, there’s a group of us uni friends that still meet up for lovely weekends away, 15 odd years on!

What are you doing at this stage in your career?

Well making UK made ethical jewellery of course! But mainly just keeping my head afloat trying to juggle running a business around my other jobs (mother, wife, doggy mummy and DIY queen!). I try and push the business and myself as much as I can while keeping the bread and butter jobs coming in.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”3600″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?

Learning when to say no is a very important skill …

How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

Social media has changed things, mostly for the best but I still crave a bit of creative isolation![/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

Women In Business

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Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?
Oh gosh … erm it would have to be Polly Wales. For believing in her style and pushing the boundaries of luxury jewellery to incorporate ethical materials and bucket loads of bling! The first think I would buy if I won the lottery would be a Polly Wales skull ring!

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What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
I love working with yellow gold… I would love a chunk of 22ct to play with.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

To not give a shit what other people think of you and your style!

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”3597″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I think if I lost my engagement ring I would be gutted. My camper van, (Dougie) might also be up there in first place … I think because it’s so easy to escape life in Dougie … other than that I would quite happily get rid of everything else for a quiet life!

What does priceless mean to you?

Something that has so much meaning that money could not buy a replacement.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/saloukee/” text=”Follow my creative journey on Instagram”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.sophiahargreaves.co.uk/shop/” text=”Find out more about Sophia’s business here”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Nature Inspired Jewellery

Nature inspired jewellery twig rings

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Cast & Found jeweller Jessica Collin -” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1539688422418{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Nature Inspired Jewellery -” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Next up on our blog is an entry about nature inspired jewellery, it’s number eight in our series which will be released throughout 2018. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with nature inspired jewellery designer Jessica Collin. What talent she has making sentimental jewellery in gold, silver and bronze for her clients.

Our month eight showcase is all about cast metal and in particular bronze. This is not only a wonderfully precious and mysterious medium but also the material which marks the eighth wedding anniversary – a gift marked with bronze. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during October, I will also be making new bronze jewellery. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-10-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”3534″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_link_target=”_self” column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

The Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?

At University – Sarah was one the cool kids! She was dedicated and driven, with a real ability to spot trends. It was a brilliant time; access to fantastic equipment and resources, with lots of creative minds all bouncing ideas around. It was a period when we were able to be exploratory in our work. I often wish I could do it all over again!

What are you doing at this stage in your career?

I am doing mainly commission work and developing a body of work for my budding brand ‘Cast and Found’. I love being mindful of the things around me and being outdoors is an important part of my world. Therefore, the brand is based on natures ‘finds’ from my woodland walks.

I collect found natural objects and work them in wax before casting them in precious metal to make intricate forms. This has always been a theme in my work but now the brand focuses entirely on the process of nature inspired jewellery.

Right now I am also spending lots of my time teaching, so it can be a struggle to find time to make which can be a frustrating. On the flip side, I am helping others to reach their creative potential which is fulfilling too!

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What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

There’s been lot of highlights over the 15 years I have been working in the creative industries. Some C.V. worthy and others more personally rewarding.  But being asked to do a project and be featured in Sarah’s book ‘Paper Jewellery – Design and Make‘ feels very special.

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?

Don’t work in isolation! I loved having my studio at The Harley Foundation as it was a brilliant space and it felt so prestigious with renowned makers. But people very much did their own thing. They were often off teaching, exhibiting or doing projects away from the studios. I worked long hours in my space on my own which I found difficult.

Creatives are susceptible to becoming much internalised. I’ve found that you look inwards and putting your very essence into every piece you create means you can feel pretty vulnerable. Being on your own can make you question your creative decisions. So being in a vibrant environment around people who big you and your work up would be ideal.

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

I’ve scaled back my online presence now as keeping up with social media and maintaining an online platform is so time consuming. Maintaining a sense of balance in your focus is a real challenge. Time at the bench is so important but time on the computer is ever more a necessity of a creative business too.
I sometimes worry that the ease of access and sheer volume of creative works available to view online quashes people appreciation of process. It is so very hard for creatives’ work to stand out. Also for makers to build that connection with consumers. Something Saloukee manages to get really right I think!
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?

Lucy Worsley; historian, author, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, and BBC presenter. I’ve chosen Worsley as she has carved out a multi-faceted dream career for herself, which I am in great admiration of. To do lots of different roles centred on one passion must be really fulfilling.

I heard Worsley speak on the radio recently where she talked about her father wanted her to pursue the sciences. She battled to pursue humanities, which is a similar scuffle endured by most creatives I would think! Worsley also talked of reading a history book as a child, with a picture of Hampton Court on the front. She spoke of how she now has her very own office in Hampton Court Palace. What a brilliant symbol of the power of visualization?! Wowzers!

She is a modern everyday woman who has displayed a great ability to apply herself and through dedication and talent achieve her own success. Such an inspiration to the everyday woman.

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What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?

I am a silver girl generally, although I love a good sprinkling of gold and bronze too, this always makes lovely nature inspired jewellery. The intrinsic preciousness that we feel when we hold valuable metals, brings out the magpie in me. I need the malleability of metal to achieve the detail I require for my work too. In my commission work I offer the opportunity to others to seek out piece of nature that means something to them. Perhaps a twig from a favourite tree or a stem from a cherished bouquet of flowers. I am able to immortalise it in precious metals, so the longevity of the material works for me. As for exploration I am just starting to play around with powder coating base metals for a bit of fun. It’s great as it also injects some vibrant colours into my work too.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

How to problem solve and persevere! I am all about building resilience at minute and working to develop your creative outcomes is so reliant on your practice being fastidious. I often worry that with technology our ability to work towards a goal and maintain focus over longer periods of time is lost, as we can gain instant gratification in so many ways online.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”3527″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

A white gold bracelet, a gift from my husband on our wedding day. It has an engraving of a small robin on it to remember my Dad. Such a thoughtful token from the man I love and so emotive to the inner me.  It is also extra special as it was made by a talented friend Sophia (whom Sarah and I also went to uni with).

What does priceless mean to you?

Irreplaceable. As I grow, I continue to move away from accessing worth in relation to monetary value. It becomes ever more inherent that it is people and experiences which are irreplaceable and should be cherished above all. But an object too, worn, displayed or used, can play a key role in the making of special moments. They too become irreplaceably precious to us.

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Woollen Designs

Woollen Designs Rachel Coopey

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Coop Knits Owner – Rachel Coopey” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1535118831681{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Woollen Designs” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Next up on our blog is an interview with the Queen of woollen designs, Rachel Coopey from Coop Knits. It’s number seven in our series which will be released throughout 2018. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Rachel who is best known for creating her own contemporary knitting and crochet sock patterns. She now also has her own range of knitting yarn too called Socks Yeah.

Our month seven showcase is all about iron as this is the material which marks the seventh wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during September, I will also be making woollen designs of our own, in jewellery form. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-5-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”3482″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

The Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?

We spent a lot time together when we were in the same AS level Jewellery class at Sixth Form College.

What are you doing at this stage in your career?

I’m a knitwear designer in the hand knitting industry. After my A levels I went to Birmingham School of Jewellery to do a HND. I went from there to a job in the design department of a manufacturer in the Jewellery Quarter.

Following having a child, I could not commute to Birmingham anymore and I took office jobs closer to home. I was knitting in my spare time and I started to write my own patterns. There are a lot of skills I found I could transfer from jewellery design to knitwear design. The pieces I design are small – socks, hats, mittens. Now I have self published 5 books of patterns and most recently I have designed my own line of knitting yarns.

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What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Publishing my first book. I learned a lot along the way and had help from a lot of great people, there was a week where I was sure I was going to die of stress but I made it through and I was incredibly proud!

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?

Believe in yourself and go for it! On the totally practical side – open a business bank account and keep things separate from the start. It will save A LOT of time and effort when you are trying to do your accounts.

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

I started out producing digital pattern and working for magazines. Then I moved in to publishing physical books and selling my yarn directly to customers and through yarn shops around the world. I have learned to focus my time on what I good at and find solutions for the things I am not.
It’s very hard to do everything and I think it’s well worth considering how much your time is worth. It could be that you could pay an expert who can do a certain thing much quicker than you could do it. You could be doing something that will drive your business forward with the time you save.

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Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?
I remember someone coming in to my school and talking about Marie Curie, it really resonated with me. It is so, so important for everyone to see female role models in areas that have been traditionally dominated by men. The whole ‘I cannot be what I cannot see’ is really important, representation matters.

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What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
I love wool, it’s tactile and warm. Woollen designs have a natural memory to them, so they’re great for knitting socks that won’t fall down! I’d like to do some more knitting with plant based fibres. Also, I’d like to knit some summer tops in linen blends. I’ve seen some interesting yarns using natural bamboo and nettle fibres recently. I have been thinking a lot about going back to the bench lately, I’d love to find some time and space to work with metal again.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

Sometimes things don’t go the way you think they will. Sometimes you start a design and it goes in an unexpected direction and that’s ok! I was a jewellery designer when I left college and now I work in a totally different industry. I don’t think I could have ever envisaged the path I took but I’m glad I did!

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”3481″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100%”][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I had a pendant my Grandad made, he used to polish stones and glued them to fittings. I’ve also got a collection of opals that were his, they mean a lot. Making jewellery was one of my grandads hobbies and knitting was my grandmas – I’m a like a mash-up of both their creative sides.

What does priceless mean to you?

Things that can’t be replaced – time spent with people I love. Things I made at a particular time so they remind me every time I see them.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/saloukee/” text=”Follow my creative journey on Instagram”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://instagram.com/coopknits” text=”Find out more about Rachel’s business here”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Shropshire Business

Shropshire Business Ironbridge

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Shropshire Business Owner Emma Cantillion – ” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left|color:{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}23bfbfbf” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1533050312763{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Shropshire Business” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Next up on our blog is an entry about a fellow Shropshire business owner, Emma Cantillion from The Barn at Lees Farm. It’s number six in our series which will be released throughout 2018. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Emma as although she does not necessarily make products with ‘iron’ per se, her gorgeous BnB accommodation is based in the beautiful Ironbridge area of Shropshire and as one of our best local supporters, that link was good enough for me!

Our month six showcase is all about iron as this is the material which marks the sixth wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during August, I will also be making new jewellery with ‘iron’ in mind. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-5-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”3393″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

The Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?

Sarah and I met at a WiRE training event nearly 3 years ago. Since then our businesses have worked alongside each other on several occasions including me hosting one of Sarah’s Jewellery Making evenings in my annex accommodation.

What are you doing at this stage in your career?

My career is really just beginning if I am honest. I spent 13 years as what is known as a “Trailing Spouse”. So, I am building a business on the foundation of my recently converted barn & annex at Lees Farm, Ironbridge. That is where it started. Where I am going? Well an ‘On Location’ venue, workshops and the list may grow…

What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

As mentioned above, my barn conversion,  what started as a personal necessity, very quickly planted seeds of a business idea to let out part of the accommodation and add a Yurt.

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?

Yes, I had thought I would have to be someone else in business to make it work, in actual fact, I am very much the opposite, everything I do has elements of me running through it, even the scatter brain parts. I have accepted that now, it is how I work and how I work best.

Can I add another one? Support, ask, demand, whatever you can to connect with like minded people. It keeps you sane!

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

This is a strange one for me, as my business is quite new. However, even in the short time I have been running though, accessibility for guests to book and see the competition is at the forefront and demands are higher on the accommodation specifics.
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?
I have recently been reading the autobiography of Gloria Steinem, I hadn’t really heard of her before but a quote on Pinterest struck a chord “I’m not just a dreamer, I am a hopeaholic.”
Sometimes that is all you have got and you have to go with it. Steinem is an American social political activist & journalist, she is 83 and still travelling all over the world. In the 60’s she was at the forefront of feminism and in 2005, along with Jane Fonda and poet Robin Morgan, set up the Women’s Media Centre which is an organisation that “works to make women visible and powerful in media”.
What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?

Materials for me were using everything that was around in anyway that I could that they wouldn’t go to waste. The house I lived in was owned by the man who had the Madeley Wood Company, they made all of the red bricks for the local area, you can still see the factory over at Blists Hill Museum. So exposed brick is very much a part of my property, inside and out.

As far and my personal creativity, I dabble, I love playing with everything from cement to wood I find on a walk out with the dogs, to gold leaf and vintage door knobs.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

Creativity to me is not at all what I thought it would be, I was heading to London College of Fashion at 19, then things changed, quite a lot, so here I am.

My creativity is the little personal touches that make a guests stay special, quirky little niknaks, making use of the heritage of the local area (I am situated in the middle of UNESCO World Heritage Site the Ironbridge Gorge) red brick, iron joists, huge cauldrons that the iron ore used to be melted in.

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I have become less sentimental about objects in the past few years, I have 2 daughters and they are it. Running your own business often means you don’t have the ability to have things, but you don’t need things or money for memories, cheesy I know but true.

Materially – The Barn. Why, because I designed it, I project managed it, the girls visited site every day after school, they painted panelling, filled holes, planted the garden, helped build the kitchen and all sorts of other things. We really did do it together, our triangle.

What does priceless mean to you?

Priceless to me are memories. They are my memories with the girls.

Business wise, they are the reviews that I always dash to read after someone has checked out. Knowing that I have helped to make good memories for my guests is the best feeling, that means I have succeeded, that the hope is working and that the struggle has been worthwhile.

“Make Moments, Enjoy Memories” is my strapline.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/saloukee/” text=”Follow my creative journey on Instagram”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.thebarnatleesfarm.com/” text=”Find out more about Emma’s business here”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Wooden Jewellery

Wooden Jewellery Designer

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Scottish jewellery Kelly Munro – ” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left|color:{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}23bfbfbf” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1521220118305{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Wooden Jewellery” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Next up on our blog is an entry about ‘Wooden Jewellery’, it’s number five in our series which will be released throughout 2018. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Scottish jeweller Kelly Munro and what a skill she has at working with wooden jewellery!

Our month five showcase is all about wooden jewellery and products. This is not only a wonderfully sensitive material but also the material which marks the fifth wedding anniversary – a gift marked with wood. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during July, I will also be making new wooden jewellery. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”2929″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

The Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?

I first met Sarah at West Dean College. I had signed up to do the ‘Sculptural Paper Jewellery’ course which Sarah was teaching. It was a really great week, I learned lots and still use paper in my practice today to plan and mock up pieces.

What are you doing at this stage in your career?

In the summer it will be five years since I graduated. I have been on a roller coaster ride with my small business, but I am finally quite settled at where my business is currently at. I am working on new designs all the time, experimenting along the way.

I am always looking for new and exciting stockists and exhibitions to apply for. I have a really loyal customer base which I am extremely lucky to have and I never thought when I started out that I would have a great wee business going after just 5 years.

What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

I would have to say receiving the jewellery award at New designers, it was such a huge deal for me at the time and I felt the exposure it gave to my graduate collection really helped to boost the start to my business.

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?

Don’t give up too quick. I’m sure at some stage every person trying to start up a business after graduating has thought ‘why am I doing this to myself?’ It can be financially tough, physically and mentally but persistence and a positive outlook on life can go a long way.

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

In my first couple of years of business I was a ‘yes’ person. I said yes to everything I was asked to do. I would make new work for every exhibition I was asked to do and I got to the stage I felt like I was on a treadmill, making lots but getting nowhere.
I have gradually over the years understood what actually makes me tick as a maker and have changed my business to suit that. I loved having work in so many spaces at once however I needed time to slow down my pace and make work that excited me again. I have recently also added small silver smithing pieces to my body of work and have gotten back into painting, which I would love to take forward and show in galleries.
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?
I have never had a particular role model as such, however I always find myself in awe of women running their own successful businesses. Designers such as Donna Wilson and Sheila Fleet are two that spring to mind that have their business for a number of years and are always working forward to the next new exciting project.
What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?

I love working with metal. There is endless ways to sculpt, from, cut and texture it, its extremely satisfying to work with. With regards to other materials I would like to explore, absolutely.

I have recently started a ceramics class which I am looking forward to the outcomes of that. I would love to push my wood work in a different way and make it more 3D so looking at wood carving and turning would be a next step for me. I am open to using any materials as long as I feel like they suit my work, I have recently gotten back into using rubber which is very exciting!

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

To always see the beauty in things. When I was 18 I went for my interview at Edinburgh College of Art. There was a girl there that loved rust, the textures, the colours, the effect it had on other surfaces. I was so confused by this at the time as I had never been exposed to this way of thinking before, I just thought rust was an ugly and unwanted thing and that she had lost the plot.

Now it’s funny looking back to this as now I look at everything in a different light and in the same way that the girl looked at rust. My husband actually said to me last week ‘I love the way you see things, you think everything is beautiful’ as I was sitting looking out the window mesmerised by the falling snow. I think as a creative person we are tuned differently to how we look at the world, we often see the details that are overlooked by others.

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

My engagement ring is my favourite thing that I own and I doubt I would ever be able to replace if I lost it. It’s a 1920’s ring that is just so unusual, I have never seen anything like it before, its very sentimental for obvious reasons.

What does priceless mean to you?

Something that means so much to you that you could never put a price on it.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/saloukee/” text=”Follow my creative journey on Instagram”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”http://www.kellymunrojewellery.com/” text=”Find out more about Kelly Munro on her website”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Linen Goods

Linen Goods Textile Designer Kirsty Anne Powell

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Kirsty Anne Powell – ” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left|color:{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}23bfbfbf” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1528213445148{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Linen Goods:” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Our fourth blog in our designer interview series is on the subject of linen goods. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with the inspiring design thinker and business and service designer that is Kirsty Anne Powell.

Our month four showcase is all about linen goods and the reason Kirsty has been selected for this months interview is because textiles (including linen) is where she began in business. This material is chosen because linen is the gift given for the fourth wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during June, I will also be making new linen jewellery. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-5-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”3260″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

Some Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?
Sarah applied to do work experience at Oromono, which was the first business that I established after graduating from Loughborough University. Even though we designed and sold textile design for high end interiors, I loved her work and her CV showed ambition, her portfolio of work showed her pure talent.
What are you doing at this stage in your career?
Now, I run my own business consultancy, we create solutions and strategies through design innovation.

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What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

I always remember being flown over to Tokyo by my clients to show my award winning collection that I first exhibited at Maison et Objet. I was spoilt by them from the day I landed, I always held my Japanese clients in such high regard. I’m a big believer in treating others how you wish to be treated yourself and the Japanese have the same philosophy in business.

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?
That’s a tough one, there is so much to learn when starting up; but I believe you need to have more than just talent. You have to be ambitious, determined, fearless, be able to take risks and keep pushing yourself to be successful. Above all though, you must love what you do, because you will be doing it everyday. Also I’ve personally always mixed business and pleasure, which led to me travelling to some of my favourite places in the world with my favourite people.

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

After designing and selling my own textile collections internationally for ten years from my Amsterdam studio, I wanted a change. I moved to London and became a Business Lecturer at, in my mind, two of the best creative institutions in the London; CSM and Ravensbourne. It gave so me so much pleasure to advise and help students and graduates to start up their own businesses and work freelance. I’m still in touch with many of them today!
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe  future generations should know about?
Working in the design industry, to be honest, I was mostly surrounded my male role models. All the shows I did internationally in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Tokyo and New York were with furniture and product designers. I exhibited with some very talented people, who I learnt so much from.
Piet Hein Eek, a renowned talented Dutch designer inspired me the most in my twenties. His continual passion to design and his enthusiasm for creating new products puts him right at the top of my list as someone to follow should you be a creative wanting to start their own business, he’s the man to watch.

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What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
Graduating from my degree as a textile designer, I thought it would always be fabrics and interior design. I have worked with many materials over the years including paper fabric, woolen felt, stunning silks and of course I created many linen goods. However, after doing a Masters in service design, I’ve now discovered design thinking. I’ve now become passionate about starting and developing business strategies using design as a process.
Through research I’ve discovered that the best service designers who revolutionise how businesses are set up and developed, quite often come from a design background. Creative thinking gives you the opportunity to come up with ideas and concepts in a different way to a traditional business consultant. So, I guess now my new favourite material is people, I now create and design business concepts through a human-centric approach.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

Anything, anyone, or any place can inspire you, there is so much beauty all around us. I think it’s important to enjoy what you see, what you hear and who you meet; listen, learn and soak it all up. Life’s delights come in many different packages, take time to enjoy what you love, to ensure that you live your life to the full.

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I immediately thought, my engagement ring, it’s a reminder of the man who I live my life with. Together we face everything , we’re a team and together we’re stronger. It’s also a very pretty champagne diamond from Australia, which is where he’s from. Everyday, I look at it and enjoy its sparkle! Another gem in my life, is a little buddha made from stone. I found it in Kyoto in a antique street sale. Its been held so much overtime that its curved in shape to fit in someones hand. I love it, because it reminds me of my journey of exploration in Japan, which I couldn’t recreate now if I tried.

What does priceless mean to you?

Something money can’t buy, an experience, a moment, a place, laughter with a friend, a giggle from my daughter or a smile from my son when I walk into a room.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/saloukee/” text=”Follow Sarah’s creative journey on Instagram”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/kirstyslatest/” text=”If you’re starting a business but need direction, get in touch with Kirsty via Instagram”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Handmade Leather Goods

Handmade Leather Goods Jon Shakespeare

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Jon Shakespeare – ” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left|color:{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}23bfbfbf” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1526571053600{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Handmade Leather Goods:” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Our third blog in our designer interview series is on the subject of handmade leather goods. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business. However, I have made an exception for this one blog in the series, for my ever so handsome and brilliantly talented husband Jon. One man I will allow to appear amongst so many amazing women. Because not only does he produce handmade leather goods, but he has supported me in my business journey for half the time it has been in existence (plus he does ‘feminist’ pretty well too!).

Our month three showcase is all about handmade leather goods. This material is chosen because leather is the gift given for the third wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during May, I will also be making new leather jewellery. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-5-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”3142″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

Some Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?
We personally met in early 2013 but it was not until the final preview night at the Birmingham School of Jewellery in the following June, (after she had been teaching there), that I understood her more in a professional environment. We now work in each others’ businesses on a day-to-day basis.
What are you doing at this stage in your career?
I am currently in my 5th year of having my own watch company W. T. Author, and having originally thought things would be getting easier, I’ve realised the longer you have your business the harder it gets. Continuously re-inventing yourself, and your products, and how the world sees you, so you don’t appear stale, and standing still.
We have just brought out our 5th watch, the No. 1940 and have finished designing our 6th, and I can honestly say, through the ups and downs it is very much the best, bravest, and boldest thing I have ever done. It helps having amazing colleagues who constantly inspire me, and remind me, that when things aren’t so good the reasons why we do what we do!

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What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Probably the very first show we did. Up until that point, it was a dream, a scribble, and a prayer. We had spent a lot of money, and at this point there was no turning back. We had done a pre-order crowd funded project, but this was also heavily contributed towards by amazing family and friends.

Our first show was in East London and it was the first time we had stood in front of the general public to be judged. And although we didn’t set the world on fire, we sold products. We also had so many incredible conversations that provided us the proof that we weren’t totally mental, and gave us the belief to go on.

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?
Believe in yourself, and your abilities. Develop a thick skin. Not everyone will like what you do, some will hate it, and they’ll happily tell you that. But who cares, they’re not someone you want to be associated with anyway.
Tell yourself, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Haters will hate, you will question your sanity, and you will contemplate going back to a ‘normal’ nine to five. But highs are oh so much higher, the rewards so much greater, and the feeling of pride will never be rivalled! To quote the brilliant Dr Seuss ‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” And if you believe in yourself, others will believe in you too!

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Running A Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

There are a lot more watch brands out there now, small start ups, all doing similar things. It’s frustrating, as everyone talks about how different they are, but the majority are doing much the same thing. For us at W. T. Author, we feel that we have to just make sure that we keep upping our game. We see it as clarity to look back at what we’ve done, and figure out how we can elevate the next watch to being completely unique.
This goes in to me questioning everything. Just because it’s a watch, why does it need to look a specific way? Let’s break down the perception that all watches were created equally, and must look the same, and let’s to trust ourselves, and be brave enough to re-think and challenge the need to be ‘normal’.

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Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe  future generations should know about?
Other than my wife, and the fantastic Jewellery Designer Sarah Kelly? {edit by Sarah : bleugh – sorry readers!}  Well I have to say the lack of equality in the world makes me angry, and the fact that we’re in 2018, and it is still such a hot topic is an absolute disgrace. Sojurner Truth was brave enough to speak out about the rights of women, and race, back in 1851, that’s 167 years ago!!! She made the speech ‘Aint I a woman?’ at a monumentally embarrassing point in history. At a time when just because your skin was a different colour, or you were able to bear children, meant you were treated horrifically.
To have been brave enough to stand up to the possibility of getting murdered for trying to break that cycle and make that change. When everyone else around you is too scared to speak out, well that is someone every person in the world should hear about, and take inspiration from:
I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman’s rights.  I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now. As for intellect, all I can say is, if a woman have a pint, and a man a quart – why can’t she have her little pint full? You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much, – for we can’t take more than our pint’ll hold. The poor men seems to be all in confusion, and don’t know what to do. Why children, if you have woman’s rights, give it to her and you will feel better. You will have your own rights, and they won’t be so much trouble. I can’t read, but I can hear…

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What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
I spend a lot of time working with handmade leather goods, as I hand make the leather straps for our watches, as well as assembling them too. However, I probably love making things out of wood the most. It doesn’t require complicated machinery, and is a very simple material to use, with any mistakes just a sheet of sand paper away. Plus, I love the smell of freshly cut wood, and how it transforms from a living being into a beautiful object.
I would definitely like to get more into metal work. I would like to be more precise, and learn how to weld. I like the idea of having the skills our ancient iron age ancestors had, and being able to make things out of metal, without having to rely on someone else making them for me. Making something yourself from scratch gives me one of the greatest satisfactions there is.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

To question everything. There is always more than one way to do anything, and just because you think it, it doesn’t mean yours is the best way. Be open to other ideas, but also if you genuinely believe your idea is better stick up for yourself. Don’t cave in to external pressures. Stand up and prove it.

Remember, there was a time, when we thought the moon was made from cheese, that the earth was flat, and our world was controlled by mythical creatures. These were concepts thought up by the most intelligent scientists/theorists and scholars of their generation. We make the best assumptions given the technology we have at the time. But that’s not to say it’s correct. So don’t just assume, ask why.[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][image_with_animation image_url=”3146″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][divider line_type=”No Line”][vc_column_text]What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

My wedding ring. It makes me so happy that I found everything I could ever wish for in another human being, someone who I genuinely want grow old with, and share every experience I have in life with. On the rare occasion I’m not with her, it’s a permanent reminder of how much I love her. {edit by Sarah : I absolutely did not pay him for this – really!}

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Textile Jewellery

Textile Jewellery oversized necklace

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet Superfrilly jeweller Sally Collins – ” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left|color:{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}23bfbfbf” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1522334511508{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Textile Jewellery:” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Our second blog in our designer interview series is on the subject of textile jewellery. This series is all about showcasing some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

Today we are speaking with Superfrilly jeweller extradordinaire Sally Collins and what a feast for the senses this lady brings with her brilliant jewellery!

Our month two showcase is all about textile jewellery and in particular the use of cotton. This material is our month two because cotton is the gift given for the second wedding anniversary. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during April, I will also be making new cotton jewellery. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”padding-5-percent” column_padding_position=”top” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”2954″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

Some Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?
Sarah and I actually studied on the same degree course at Loughborough! I was the year below Sarah, and I didn’t know her but I knew her work. In 2008 we both started on a fabulous scheme in Birmingham called Design Space; it’s an incubator scheme that provides workshop space and business mentoring support to emerging jewellers for a year. There were about 20 of us, and as soon as I walked in on the first day I recognised Sarah and we started chatting.
Throughout this year I got to know Sarah a little better, but it wasn’t until November 2009 when we spent at intense week together in a hostel and exhibiting at the Sieraad Art Jewellery Fair in Amsterdam that we really got to know each other! I’d always admired Sarah’s work ethic and business, but it was at this point I realised she is also hilarious and really good fun!
What are you doing at this stage in your career?
Currently I am working as a full time lecturer on the BA Jewellery and Objects at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. I moved here in January 2017 and I LOVE IT!!! I have been teaching full time since 2010 and running my business and practice alongside this- it’s a tricky balance but I really enjoy the teaching so I want to keep both going. Earlier this month I was working with a very talented group of jewellers (Sabine Roth, Sari Rathel, Rahel Pfrommer, Rachael Colley, Saloukee) on curating a show in Munich as part of Munich Jewellery Week.
The show was called ‘Selfie-ism’, and my work within the show explored the love/ hate relationship I have, and I think others have, with social media. There is a tendency to post selfies and images of work that convey a larger than life, better than ever version of our self- in my case- bigger, bolder brighter, glitterier, shinier and happier!
Not that social media and selfies are always fake, I’m just considering the pressure we may experience in presenting ourselves in a certain light, and the fact that this can sometimes have a negative impact on our emotions. Therefore- the work I made was a series of almost unwearable earrings full of detail, glitter and colour- representing the physical burden this situation can present. I am OBSESSED with making earrings at the moment, and buying them, I can’t stop!!!!!! I’m also developing a new range of limited edition earrings for Om Diva in Dublin to help them celebrate their 20th birthday, and working on a new range of work using silicone. Busy, busy times with lots if exciting projects on the go!!!!

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What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Yikes I am really not sure!!!! I take great pride in seeing people wear my work, so although it’s a small accomplishment, every time I see someone wearing something of mine I am delighted, especially when I don’t know them at all! I remember once when I was teaching at Birmingham, a student came in on her first day of the BA, she was wearing one of my smaller necklaces- I think her mum has bought it for her from the Lustre Craft Makers Market in Nottingham.

She didn’t realise I was going to be teaching her- it was a joyful moment! I was recently contacted by the super talented singer/ songwriter Elli Ingram– she wore some of my work on tour and that was a huge pleasure as well!

Aside from this, some of my bigger achievements have been exhibiting work with Alternatives Gallery at Collect at the Saatchi Gallery in London and selling a piece to a big American collector, being featured in Grazia magazine in the same edition as the Will & Kate Royal Wedding, being selected for the prestigious Lucca Prezioza Young exhibition in Florence and meeting some of my jewellery heroes at Munich Jewellery Week this year, only to have them tell me they love my work in return (wahoooo!!!!!).

Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business?
I would say very seriously, don’t start your own creative business expecting to make a lot of money quickly. Sure this can happen for some people, but for most people it’s a process of building up the business over time, with some serious hard work and some lucky breaks. I have always found it important to consider the idea of a portfolio career- do lots of different things to bring money in, to interact and collaborate with other people and to keep networking and making connections. As designers and makers we don’t just design and make, we engage in so many things in our practice and businesses- use these skills!

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?

When I first started in the industry in 2008/ 2009, I spent a lot more time involved in the business. As mentioned above I certainly had a portfolio career where I did jewellery repairs, ran workshops with secondary school children, and gave lectures, but I was lucky enough with the support of Design Space to spend a lot of time developing my jewellery business. I had a whole range of different work (all Superfrilly of course but at different price points and in different materials). I was stocked in 15- 20 galleries, I was making new work for exhibitions all the time and applying for every opportunity I could. These days I have to more selective about the work I make and where I apply that Superfrilly creative energy as I work full time. In some ways this is frustrating, as I have a lot of ideas bursting out and wanting attention- my current 3rd years at NCAD in Dublin can vouch for this- I always have an experiment or two on my desk! But, I actually find that teaching really informs my practice, and having time away from my own work and a chance to reflect is hugely beneficial.
Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe  future generations should know about?
Eeeeek so many to choose from! But if I had to pick one I would say Nelly Ben Hayoun. She describes herself as a ‘Manufacturer of the Impossible’! She has incredible energy and drive, an amazing imagination and a get up and go that just won’t quit. She’s worked to create a University of the Underground, a NASA orchestra and so many other fantastic projects! Go check her out if you don’t know of her already!!!!
What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
Fabrics and textile techniques have always been a favourite of mine- I adore the colour and detail you can achieve, and the possibilities of structures and connection to fashion and the body. I love to make textile jewellery. My Mum taught me to knit and sew and I was bought up with that ‘Make Do and Mend’ attitude. This love of fabrics has always gone alongside my fascination with metal- metal is incredible!!! At the moment I’m focusing on metal and silicone for my new collection. But on Friday I received a delivery of work I had in the brilliant Craftspace Made in the Middle show, this work has been on tour round the Midlands for the last year. These pieces were made in press formed, pierced and soldered metal with lots of detailed embroidery and crochet. Opening the box of work up, I got a very strong sense of nostalgia and connection to the pieces and the materials. This made me realise I need to get back to textiles jewellery! Perhaps embroidered silicone????!!!!

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

Creating something, making something that comes from my own brain gives me a unique buzz- something I can’t get from anywhere else, or from anyone else. I’ve learnt to trust in this and trust my own design sensibilities- I’m not saying my work is amazing, or perfect and maybe a lot of people don’t like it at all- but when I make something and I get that fizzy warmth and lift in my heart I know I have got it right. If someone else loves it or values it that’s amazing, but my own reaction is the one I value the most. Gosh I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant?! I just know in the creative industry you have to love your own work- you can’t rely on other people to praise it all the time!!!

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?

I don’t know that I have a particular sentimental object- I love things that remind me of memories/ places/ people/ times in my life and I am definitely attached to a number of objects, but I also try really hard not to get too attached to physical things. Mainly because I’m a bit clumsy- if I become  terrified of losing or breaking something because it’s so precious to me then guaranteed I’ll drop it down the loo or trip over it and break it!!! Or just lose it! So I’m going to say my hands! I am very tactile person, I obviously love making and using my hands to create, but I am also quite gesticular when I talk, and I love the tactility of materials and always want to touch everything! I also used to hate my hands because they’re those classic jewellers hands- a bit stumpy and worn with plenty of scars and absolutely no nails! I have learnt to love them now!

What does priceless mean to you?
It wouldn’t have anything to do with material or monetary value. I would say priceless to me is that fizzy whizzy feeling I described above- I get this when I see things I love, when I make something I’m really proud of, or when I’m reminded of the wonderfulness of the friends/ family/ people in my life. It’s cheesy but it’s true!!!!

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Paper Design

Paper Design Paper Cut Designer

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_custom_heading text=”Meet paper cut designer Sarah Matthews – ” font_container=”tag:h5|text_align:left|color:{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}23bfbfbf” use_theme_fonts=”yes” css=”.vc_custom_1521220133961{margin-bottom: 10px !important;}”][vc_custom_heading text=”Paper Design:” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:40|text_align:left|line_height:50px” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]I am excited to reveal our first blog ‘Paper Design’ number one in a series which will be released throughout 2018. This series will showcase interviews with some of the amazing women who have supported, inspired and been part of Saloukee’s 10 year story in business.

First up we speak with with paper engineer and paper cut designer Sarah Louise Matthews and what a talented lady she is at paper design!

Our month one showcase is all about paper design. This is not only material which marks our very beginnings but also the first wedding anniversary – a gift marked with paper. This year for us is all about celebrating our 1-10 years in business.  So during March, I will also be making new work made of paper. Plus recommending other brilliant independents who work in the same medium.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][image_with_animation image_url=”2894″ alignment=”center” animation=”Fade In” border_radius=”none” box_shadow=”none” max_width=”100{bf9a968572e7ebb68f246158f0b8da6c4ea2bd1e341039728af7ec2198186826}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][heading]

Some Background

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How did you and Sarah first meet?
During my Textile Surface Design degree there was a paper module. Sarah was (the natural choice to be) the visiting lecturer for this project and I thought we clicked quite well during one to one tutorials – hopefully Sarah agrees! When I graduated, I reached out to see if I could come and do some work experience at Saloukee, and Sarah said yes, so before I knew it I was in London being her little helper.
What are you doing at this stage in your career?
I am a freelance paper engineer and paper cut designer. I work with a variety of brands and individual clients to design and make paper creations for photoshoots, visual merchandising, events and everything in between.
What’s your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
Last November, I had my work in an Oxford Street-facing Selfridges window, as well as inside the store. I made hundreds of paper flowers, and it was a stressful, last minute rush to meet the deadline, but I still can’t believe it happened!
Is there one piece of advice that you would give to someone thinking of starting their own creative business? 
Just start. Taking the first step is always the hardest part (I am reminded of this every year when it’s tax return time haha). Nobody is going to be perfect at first, so just make the first move and then allow your business to evolve over time.
I cringe looking back on some of my old work, but if I hadn’t done it I wouldn’t be doing what I do now and I think most creative people would say the same. If the idea of diving in head first is too daunting, just make the first tiny move (even if you have no idea where it will lead).
Whether it’s setting yourself a little creative project and making an Instagram page to share it, or designing one product and opening up an Etsy shop, just do something. Setting up an Etsy shop was my first move, and it only had one product in it for quite some time, but at least I had put the wheels in motion.

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Women In Business

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How has running your business changed in the time you’ve been involved in the industry?
When I graduated, I spent a year doing various internships and bits of work experience. During this time, inspired by the people I was surrounded by, I started creating my own designs, not yet knowing wether it would be a hobby or business.

I got a full time job off the back of one of my internships, where I ended up working for four years, the whole time continuing my own work as a side-hustle. As time went on it became harder to juggle both, but I was worried that I couldn’t yet afford to continue living in London on the income from my own work alone, so I just continued to burn the candle at both ends. My team ended up being made redundant due to our employer’s financial problems, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave me the push to see if I could make my own business properly work. Yes it was hard, yes I had to move out of London, and yes there were times when I thought I couldn’t make it work, but being able to dedicate all of my time to my own work was life-changing!

In the (almost) two years since losing my job, I have had my work on the cover of a magazine, written a book, taught 300 people over a weekend of workshops at the Southbank Centre, had my work in numerous shop windows (including the Selfridges one!) and so much more.

Can you name a female role model (alive/dead) that you believe future generations should know about?
I recently watched the film ‘Hidden Figures’, which was so good! Janelle Monae, who I love, is in it, the soundtrack is great and it is an amazing true story about three female African-American mathematicians who served vital roles in the early years of NASA. I had never heard of any of these women or their work before watching, but am so pleased to now know their stories. All three women are incredible role models, but one in particular, Katherine Johnson, stood out to me.
What’s your favourite material to work with and are there any you’d still love to explore?
It probably comes as no surprise but I love paper! It is the most readily available, affordable material I know of, and there are endless possibilities with it. There is also the added bonus that if it all goes wrong, it can just be recycled! And as for a material I’d still love to explore, I quite fancy doing a ceramics class (but just for fun!) I dabbled a little bit with ceramics at college but would like to have another go.

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Real Life Stuff

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What’s one thing that creativity has taught you about life?

This may not really answer the question but, like many others, my creative business has been prone to somewhat taking over my life, teaching me that I need to be more time-realistic rather than time-optimistic.

One of my pet peeves is the emphasis online among creative business owners on ‘the hustle’, glamorising busyness and encouraging others to aspire to the way their work has taken over their life, which (in my opinion) is a pretty unhealthy way to live. I know for example that my mental and physical health has been worse when I have taken on too much and have consequently had to work weeks of consecutive 19+ hour days … you most definitely won’t find me glamorising it on social media!

Part of me sees it as building the foundations of my business and ‘paying my dues’, but the other part knows that it’s just not a healthy or happy way of life to aspire to.  I am (quietly) ambitious and have always been a hard worker (my family would probably say too hard), but I am increasingly aware of the importance of work/life balance … finding that balance isn’t easy though – I’m definitely still working on it.

What’s the most sentimental object that you own and why?
Photographs! My parents always took lots of photos so I think it was instilled in me to do the same. I love looking through them, bringing back happy memories. I think I’ve been slacking a bit in the last few years though.
What does priceless mean to you?
So precious that money can’t buy it. To me, nothing physical is ‘priceless’, only  experiences can be. As much as I do like to have (a select few) nice things around me, It is far more precious to have nice people around me, and to create ‘priceless’ memories with them.

[/vc_column_text][divider line_type=”No Line”][divider line_type=”Full Width Line” line_thickness=”1″ divider_color=”default”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”center” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/saloukee/” text=”Follow my creative journey on Instagram”][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/2″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][nectar_btn size=”large” open_new_tab=”true” button_style=”see-through-2″ hover_text_color_override=”#ffffff” icon_family=”none” url=”https://www.instagram.com/_sarah_matthews/” text=”Find Sarah Matthews on Instagram”][/vc_column][/vc_row]