Today I am thrilled to spotlight on the fabulous Rachel Lucie, an independent jewellery designer-maker based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.
Further to this I also share a small glimpse at a shoot that Rachel was involved in with a Vintage Bicycle as inspiration giving a wee nod to the Tour de France at the moment touring the English counties.
Rachel happily spent hours as a child lost in a world of beads and wonder, playing with an Indian silver and sandalwood box of her Grandma’s which was filled with antique broken jewellery oddments and semi-precious beads of all kinds from Edwardian, 1920’s and Art Deco necklaces.
The romance of bygone days and all these broken and forgotten gems has always stayed with her and still inspires her work today.
I had a chat with Rachel about her Business…
Who are you, and what do you do?
I’m Rachel Lucie Johns, and I’m a self-taught jewellery designer-maker.
My jewellery is silver and rolled gold, many using freshwater pearls or semi-precious stones, and I get quite a few wedding commissions from brides for themselves, mother of the bride or special gifts for bridesmaids.
I also run an online jewellery shop where I sell a range of designs with different influences.
I am also developing a homewares collection based around my nature photography – it’s not quite ready yet, but more to come on this!
When and why did you start your Company?
My idea all started whilst a stay at home mum to my young children in 2008.
I think the desire to do something for myself, initially as a hobby and creative outlet, along with a lack of my own income was the trigger intially to try and make myself something lovely to wear cheaply.
My love of silver jewellery was something that had really fallen to the wayside because finances were tight.
I realised I could buy semi-precious stone beads, and design unique jewellery just for me, and it was exhilarating!
I quickly decided that this was what I wanted to do as a career.
What inspires you?
I always find this hard to answer, because literally everything inspires me.
I love shape, colour, typography, flowers, landscapes, architecture.
The shapes and colours of anything from packets on the shelves in the supermarket, to a beautiful dainty flower will get me thinking about designs or trying to capture something with photography.
Fasion-wise, I always incorporate some elements of art deco, Hollywood glamour or vintage themes as I love them, and they really go with the pearl and gemstone beaded jewellery I enjoy designing.
Do trends influence your work?
I think it is important to keep an eye on the way fashion or weddings for example are developing as will be some of the things that brides and other customers will be looking for.
To some extent, I am influenced by these trends, but I tend to cherry pick the things I like, whilst leaving out the things I don’t!
I really can’t design jewellery that I don’t like myself.
Even when I’m developing a piece of jewellery I wouldn’t wear, it’s important that I stay true to the look, colour palette or style that I enjoy, or it just won’t work.
What is your greatest achievement?
I am proud that I set up my own business from scratch. I had no previous business skills, training or even capital to start with!
Over the years I have also built up a good amount of lovely repeat customers, some of whom have become friends, and who regularly come back to see what I am making next and buy new designs, which makes it all worthwhile.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough for some of my jewellery to be worn by an actress at the National Television Awards – that felt pretty special!
What do you see as the future of your Company?
I want to develop the new homewares side (currently there will be cushions, prints, cards, notebooks, ipad and phone covers), and when that is up and running I am looking to incorporate silver-smithed pieces (such as rings) into my jewellery ranges.
I was lucky enough to be involved in a great photo shoot organised by a group of local creatives to promote all our work in March.
Here in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, we have the Tour De France this year, and we hit on the idea of a vintage-influenced shoot based around the 1949 film ‘A boy, a girl and a bike’ which was set near here.
Developing ideas with other talented woman to produce the whole look was great fun, and pushed me to create designs I might not have thought of before.
The shoot was featured in the Yorkshire Post weekend supplement.
Photography : Shelly @ Toast of Leeds
Hair : Debbie @ Zeitgeist Hair
Jewellery : Rachel Lucie Jewellery Designs
Headgear and other accessories : Chrissie @ Hat Therapy
Make-up : Beauty Call
Clothing women : Anne @ Amelia Clothing
Clothing man : Kate @ Dynamite Clothing, 35 Market Street, Hebden Bridge, 01422 844 020
Models : Eve, Florence, Jake
Locations : Hebden Bridge Picture House | The Milk Bar | Blazing Saddles Bike Shop | Crown Street Fisheries | Amelia Clothing
To Contact Rachel Lucie – Jewellery Designer-Maker