Meet the Maker: Chain of Jewels
Meet our pals Tash & Sophie, the makers behind tiny sustainable jewellery & accessories brand Chain of Jewels who originally met through a shared love of a nice cold pint and eventually decided to set up a jewellery brand together. Everything they do is made by hand using recycled, organic and eco friendly materials wherever possible. Shop an edit of their jewellery exclusively at our Boundary Street store in Shoreditch, London.
Hey Tash & Sophie! How are you? We’re excited to have you in our Shoreditch store!
Hellooo we’re fab thanks, we absolutely love Lazy Oaf so we’re very excited to be featured in your store!
The past year has been strange, how has it been for you?
Besides the obvious, 2020 was actually a great year for us! Tash joined COJ at the very beginning of lockdown. Graduating in Fashion Marketing last year, she was working full time for a marketing agency which was slowly stealing her creative soul. So, lockdown saw us come together and grow COJ. We know the last year has had many negatives but we’ve had so many positives too. Lockdown really has been buzzing because we’ve had the extra time to put our energy into COJ. We’ve got so many ideas sometimes we struggle to find the time to implement them all. We’re very grateful for the extra time we gained.
We had a brand makeover curtesy of the extremely talented Poppy Almond, we’ve been lucky enough to work with some fab influencers, we’ve grown closer to other independent brands and we also joined forces with Sinead at July Child! But the icing on the cake has to be having some of our pieces featured by one of our all-time favourite brands. So yeah 2020 has been pretty gooooood!
Please tell us how Chain of Jewels came about…
A few years ago, (maybe late 2018) Sophie did a jewellery making course for fun and started making Simpsons jewellery only for friends and family. People kept saying she should sell it, which is what planted the seed.. At the time, there wasn’t many places on the market where you could buy unique, stylish, good quality jewellery which is what really drove Chain of Jewels. The name originated from when Sophie lived with our pal Rose. They used to listen to her Aretha Franklin record all the time and one of her songs is called “Chain of fools” and when Sophie was thinking of a name, Rose suggested “Chain of Jewels!”. So here’s your moment Rose, thank you!!
Do you both have certain roles at Chain of Jewels? Or do you both do a bit of everything?
We both get involved with every element of the business, we like to make decisions together where possible. 2 minds are 100% better than one and we find we complement each other’s skill set. Practically Sophie has the Jewellery making experience, so she takes the lead with most of the metal based products. Tash is a seamstress so that’s her area of expertise but we’re both learning one another’s skill set so we share the workload. Creatively we design individually and as a team because we do have slightly different styles so it puts that variation out there but it’s more likely one of us will come up with a concept and then tweak it together. It’s always good to get a second pair of eyes to make sure our designs are the best they can possibly be.
Which of your designs are your favourite & what are your favourite pieces to make?
Our current favourites have to be our Cupid’s Hoe pearl earrings and Grannys Treasure’s necklace. These are from our new collection that we designed in our new studio together and we had so much fun making them.
How would you each describe your own style?
We’ve got a very similar sense of style, but it is different. Sophie’s more tomboyish, she literally owns one dress, but she does go for more pastel girly colours. Whereas Tash loves to get her legs out in summer and is drawn to brighter colours. This is such a hard question! We both love brands such as; Ganni, Lazy Oaf, & Other Stories, Shrimps and Ashley Williams which is where we get a lot of our inspiration from, we’re drawn to pieces that are a little bit different. Paying a little more for pieces with the plan they’ll follow us through life is the mentality we have when shopping. ”Buy less, choose well, make it last” We aren’t afraid to wear the same piece twice and change up how we wear it. We don’t stick to one specific style either we tend to mix and match things up a lot.
How do you find working with a best friend?
WELL GOOD! Haha we do naturally butt heads at times but we always kiss and make up.
Do you still have day jobs? & if so how do you find juggling them with Chain of Jewels?
Sadly, we do. During lockdown Tash was made redundant from her full-time marketing role but we do both work part time. It’s not the dream situation, it is hard work juggling working and running a business. It involves a lot of hours and thinking “there’s so many other things I should be doing right now”. On a more positive note we moved into our own studio last month which was a huge dream for us. Up until this point we’ve been working separately from our own spare rooms. Sophie’s neighbour is also thrilled, no more late night drilling!
What are your top tips for switching off & relaxing?
Turning your phone off, getting a cold beer and whacking on some Ru Paul! We both have dogs, so getting outside for a long walk is always a winner for the mind too.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
Lazy Oaf! So, as you can imagine when we received you’re email we did a few happy jigs!!
What is your favourite part of running a small business?
The best thing has to be being your own boss! In previous job roles, you get put in a section of the business and you need sign off from a million people before being allowed to make any changes no matter how big or small, which is beyond frustrating. So being able to call the shots and seeing your vision come to life and seeing people appreciate what you do is amazing. We’re both passionate about slow fashion and doing our bit to help our beautiful planet. It’s sad that our generation is so disposable so one of our goals is to produce quality pieces that people will love and cherish for a very long time. So, by running our own business we could create a brand that represents us and what we’re about. It’s also been cool getting to know other independent brand owners and becoming a part of a community through Instagram.
What is the best thing about owning your own brand?
Thinking of an idea, making it and then seeing people wearing it. It’s such an amazing feeling seeing people style our pieces all over the world and I don’t think it’s something that we’ll ever get used to!