Sophie Hutchinson is the designer behind up and coming jewellery brand HUTCH London. Studying in the heart of London's jewellery district Hatton Garden at British Academy of Jewellery she decided to take the plunge this year and put her skills into practice by launching her first product. As a former intern at Glitzbox, turned freelance, we thought it was only right that we try and get an exclusive interview and give our subscribers something new to look forward to in next months Glitzbox. We got to chatting about the struggles and triumphs that come with starting a jewellery brand which we hope will inspire others to take the plunge and go for something they really want.
How do you balance working part-time, completing your jewellery course, and designing your first collection?
It’s actually not been too bad. Working for Glitzbox to begin with as an intern was good because I learnt a lot of behind the scenes about how to run a business. However now I do freelance and work for other brands too I am able to manage my time and allocate certain days to different things. Designing a collection is probably the hardest part, the designing and imagining pieces is easy, but then trying to figure out how to put them through Matrix (Computer Aided Design Software) is what takes the longest. You can spend days on a more complex piece trying to make it work for rapid prototyping. This is why I have decided to release one piece at a time for the moment.
How did you get interested in the jewellery industry?
I actually did a Bachelors Degree in Hair and makeup for fashion at London College of Fashion, but I realised afterwards that I didn't particuarly want to pursue it as a career. I knew I wanted to do something creative and knew my end goal was to be my own boss. I think of jewellery as something that can become quite personal and evoke memories and feelings and the thought of creating something that is part of that is what keeps me going. I started doing a part time course at British Academy of Jewellery (formerly Holts Academy) in Jewellery Design & Manufacturing and although this gave me great bench skills and a greater understanding of how jewellery is made and which components work together, I knew that I was still much more interested in the design aspect of Jewellery. After completing that course I then decided to progress onto the next level CAD for Jewellery Production which is much more design focused.
What is your favourite jewellery piece you have designed so far and why?
My favourite piece so far is my Sunflower Solitaire Ring. This piece was actually created as part of a project at BAJ, the brief; create and design and solitaire ring that was made up of two components. These were then soldered and finished in the workshop by myself. I’d quite like to put it into production, however I’d print the piece as a whole instead of two parts. I’m not sure how practical the piece is though as it is quite large and the petals tend to catch on clothing items, so maybe I’ll just keep this one for myself and develop the design further so it's more wearable for everyday.
So we've seen a preview of your first pieces, what other pieces are you working on for your launch collection?
I’m currently in the process of creating a sunflower pendant which will be available in gold. I really love how it turned out as a ring and feel that the head part itself would look delicate yet statement on a thin chain hanging from your neck. My first collection is focused on florals and I don't want to limit myself to this. I think my next collection will be more abstract and a play on texture. I already have designs in mind.
What kind of women to you envision wearing your jewellery?
A woman who is strong and confident with her own femininity. The kind of woman who isn't afraid to experiment with her style and loves to layer pieces.
If you could have anyone to wear your jewellery, dead or alive, who would it be?
I don't particularly follow celebrities. I think with social media being massive these days, I could name more bloggers than I could celebrities. So fashion blogger Emma Hill and stylist Hannah Lewis, both have great personal style and wear gold jewellery really well! Millie Mackintosh looks great in everything and would be my dream customer! As well as Meghan Markle. Lets face it they're all gorgeous!
What's been the hardest thing so far about starting a jewellery business?
Theres just so much I don't know and you don't realise until you start. When you speak to some designers they end up having been in the industry itself for years before releasing their own collections. Also I wouldn't want to continue making the jewellery myself, I’m quite slow with the manufacturing side of things, so finding manufacturers and even knowing how to approach them is still something I’m trying to figure out.
I think motivating yourself too continue can be hard sometimes, at the end of the day it’s all a big risk, theres no guarantee that people will like your stuff or buy it for that matter so the “not knowing” where it will take you is scary.
What has been the best moment so far?
Holding my first product (Leaf Hoop Earrings) after it had been 3D printed and cast in silver was definitely the best moment. Actually anything that I have had 3D printed i’ve been overwhelmingly happy with. After seeing something on a computer for so long then actually having it in your hands is a great feeling and one I hope will never get old.
What is the last thing you do before you go to bed?
I always like to have a cup of tea before getting ready for bed. I also like to write in my bullet journal and jot down some things I am grateful for on that day (although I haven't been keeping up with it in February!). I have also put a notebook on my bedside table because I have a terrible tendency to think of jewellery ideas as soon as I get into bed, which then keeps me up for hours! So now I jot them down so that I can sleep and return to them the following day.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own jewellery brand?
As Nike would say “Just Do It”. If you don’t you’ll constantly find reasons or excuses not to and then you’ll constantly regret not going for it. Also stay true to who you are, trends will come and go and although it’s great to experiment with them and have fun with them at times, they will pass. Create pieces that you will still want to wear in 5-10 years time.
You can purchase HUTCH London's Leaf Hoop Earrings here.