I first met Sarah a couple of years ago when I was trying to decide whether or not to start up my blog and which direction to go in. As a marketeer it is often easy to get too close to the project and feel overwhelmed by the detail. I seemed to be going around in circles and so when I was introduced to Sarah by a mutual friend I jumped at the chance to have her on board to help me work out a direction. Sarah has in the past taken on Marketing Consultant projects alongside running her Jewellery business – SVP Jewellery.
Having purchased a couple of Sarah’s gorgeous rings myself and seeing first hand how beautiful they are I wanted to bring you a little insight into the person behind the SVP brand
1: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I first started out in advertising back when it was an amazing industry to work in. At 19 I was the youngest art director in London and part of the first all girl team. Advertising was a very male dominated business back then.
Over the years I worked on very large accounts and became Creative Director.
I have always loved fashion and accessories and despite having a very demanding job and a 3 hour round rip commute to London every day I was always doing something else to fulfil my real love on the side. From designing gloves, using the oldest glove making factory in Italy (10 pairs of hands made one pair of gloves), to creating one off necklaces out of vintage pieces (before Anna Vogal), with the idea of wearing something dear to your heart near your heart. I also made big necklaces from vintage beads and old glass chandelier pieces. My ring obsession started when I created adjustable rings from old vintage buttons.
2: How did you get into jewellery making?
I started having jewellery lessons locally in Brighton and then my husband moved to Mumbai. It was there that my love affair with India began and I was introduced to a family, as a thank you they let me design a ring. Friends wanted one and no one knew their ring size and I didn’t want to annoy the family so I designed a ring to fit any finger. Retailers saw them and wanted them. I got into 5 retailers without anyone saying no within three months so I quit my job and started to set up the business properly.
3: When did you first set up SVP and what inspired you?
SVP was set up three and half years ago. It was a really organic process and I have spent the last two years learning the business side with the help of a fantastic mentor and I have also spent a lot of time in India finding the right supplier and partner to work with as well as learning my trade. I work in quite an unconventional way from a business point of view. I am very lucky I work with amazingly talented craftspeople.
4: Where do you get your design inspirations from?
I am inspired by my upbringing in Lagos, Nigeria, from fashion, songs from the 70’s and 80’s.
5: What is the process from designing a piece of jewellery to getting it out to the customer?
I work like I did in advertising. I brainstorm ideas, I sketch roughly and very fast, I am all about the idea. I then look at the detail – the setting, the faceting, the dimensions, I look at how it will fit with all the other SVP designs, I like everything to go with everything so you can change your look in an instant. I then go to a CAD drawing and then samples get made up, there are often many changes along the way. I get inspired by stones too and work out the best way to facet to show off the colours.
6: Tell us more about the factories you work with in India?
I work with Ashok and his team. The factory is moving from the pink city and he has built a five-story building, which is super modern, they work within government guidelines and ethics and the factory is spotless. We use recycled gold and silver and he also owns a stone factory giving us greater control over how the stones are cut.
7: There are so many jewellery brands and more launching everyday. How do you manage to stay current and stand out from the crowd?
My background has taught me that you have to have an idea, I ever wanted to be just another jewellery brand inspired by travel, I wanted to solve a problem. Rings are notoriously difficult to sell due to the size. Retailers don’t like stocking them as they always get left with dead stock and weird sizes and they can’t invest in a width of stock giving the customer a far greater choice. For the customer they can gift, band, stack and create their own different personalised looks every day to suit their mood and outfits. Our rings are collectable and every stone carries a meaning – we give out stone meaning cards with every purchase.
8: Where can people find your brand?
You can buy online here.
And if you’d like to see before you buy we have various stockists around the UK, we are launching in 12 new ones in October – our stockist list will be updated on our website. You can follow us on Instagram and our stories are great if you want to see more behind the scenes, everyday up close and personal, it’s also full of my India observations when I am working out in Mumbai and Jaipur.
9: How do you use Instagram as a marketing tool for your business?
I have a business account. I find growing followers a slow process, we don’t use bots or buy – just hard graft. I’d love to get the imagery better but we are so short of time all the time as there is always so much to do from the finance, to invoices, dealing with our craftspeople, retailers – the list goes on … and on…. and on…
I occasionally boost posts and pages depending on what we are launching. We work with influencers but we really just like to work with people who love what we are doing and we love what they are doing – an honest mutual relationship rather than sending out a ring and getting one hit on a square. I like to meet people in person, share a pot of tea, understand what they want to achieve just as much as what we want to achieve. I am Northern and love a chat; people and their stories fascinate me.
I have met so many wonderful people through Instagram and it has been a platform for me to meet people in person. Through meeting people I have collaborated in many different projects from great pop ups with other young brands to developing a collection with Antonia O’Brien to celebrate 20 years of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and our latest collaboration is with Erica Davies which launched on the 20th October. She has designed a collection of four rings all with personal meaning – they are stunning!
10: What advice would you give other small brands that are looking to Instagram to help increase their brand awareness?
Get talking, put your self out there, and don’t be afraid to be different, if it doesn’t work just change tack. It does take a long time to build an audience, but for us it’s not about size it’s about growing with integrity and growing a lovely community, for me it’s a bit like inviting people to a ring party we all want to be part of.
11: What are the key tools you use to promote your brand?
Me, word of mouth, great service, honesty, transparency and working with the best people around.
12: Have you got new ideas in the pipeline?
Easy – I am never ever short of an idea it’s what I have been doing daily since I was 19. I am out in Jaipur at the moment developing new ranges for 2019 and beyond.
13: What do you see yourself doing in the next 5 years?
The same but bigger, we are launching in Japan and are looking at other territories for next year. We have a brilliant set up and can scale easily; it’s now all about developing newness to keep the brand constantly fresh and growth. Here I come world.
As always I hope that you have enjoyed reading this interview and any feedback is always welcome.
Love Chet x