We feel truly honoured to have so many wonderful mentors here at Brave Starts. We really do choose the best in the business. One excellent example is our creative jewellery designer Jesica de Lotz. Please read on for a sumptuous insight into the life of a successful creative.
With a name like Jessica de Lotz, you could never really grow up to be anything less than a creative genius, right?! Thankfully it was already written in the stars. The de Lotz lot were already a creative bunch and Jessica was soon to follow. Cue a childhood making pearl jewellery and selling them on the lemonade stand. Fast forward a few years and after graduating from Central Saint Martins with a lauded degree collection called Until the Daybreak Jessica found herself scouted by no other than Janice Blackburn of Sotheby’s and inundated with requests from people wanting personalised monogrammed jewellery. Without much time to plan or strategise, Jessica found herself with enough money to open up a physical shop with a workshop, where she could still be 100% in charge of her creative process.
Fast forward to the present day, three and half years later. What, if anything, has changed? What, if anything, would she change? The biggest change is the fact that there is a child involved now, which of course has meant as much upheaval for the de Lotz’s as anyone. Although initially there were obstacles to overcome, like working around nap and feeding schedules, it is the fact that Jessica has her own shop and her own business, this means that she can continue to work as much as she wants. As with so many new parents, and perhaps mothers in particular, flexibility in the workplace is key if they are to be expected to have a fair chance at both motherhood and a career, which is why so many new parents find themselves either out of a job, unhappy with the amount of hours they have to be away from their children, or setting up their own businesses.
So for anyone reading this who is thinking about getting into the jewellery business, what advice can Jessica, with all her knowledge, give?
J: I know this may sound planned considering who this interview is for, but job shadowing a real workshop jeweller really is a brilliant way of getting a real insight into any vocation. Before that I would obviously advice having some sort of foundation or college degree so that when you are shadowing someone you don’t end up simply making the tea, but actually get a chance to get some serious hands on experience.
Another great way of getting your name out there is entering competitions and applying for bursaries. Central Saint Martins obviously has a whole host of great courses, however, what I wish I had had more of before I set out on this journey, is a stronger business foundation. I have had to learn so much along the way, and I am sure I could have saved myself both time and money had I had stronger business skills.
A: What does a day in the life of a London based jewellery designer actually look like?
J: I am so lucky to have Hatton Garden so close by. That is where I will go and collect metal, see my setter and pretty much all of my resources.
I will also spend time contacting customers, reply to emails and do other types of admin, although I do have a wonderful assistant who helps me a lot.
Then of course comes the real fun stuff, the making and creating. The brand is constantly evolving and I am currently in the midst of a rebranding exercise. I feel I have grown up a lot over the last few years and I feel that the pieces I make need to reflect that more. I am becoming more focused in what sort of pieces I create.
A: In hindsight, would you do it all again?
J: Absolutely! I love what I do and the fact that I have so much freedom in my work. The one thing I would add is that business course.
A: What are your next goals?
J: For the jewellery brand I am in the process of rebranding. I feel I have grown up a lot recently and that needs to be reflected in both the jewellery I produce and the branding itself. On a personal level I would also love to explore other interests such as art therapy and nursing. I love the fact that there are so many options out there and that no one needs to stay in one job forever.