Alex Yule draws inspiration from her surrounding environment, inheriting her father’s interest in wild flowers and love of beach-combing rocky coastlines.
From a young age she ve s expressed her creative ideas in 3D forms and went on to train in Display Design. She soon moved into roles building bespoke props and window schemes for stores such as Harvey Nichols before developing her craft further in a career in architectural model making for a leading Covent Garden based practice.
Here, she talks to us at House of Coco and tells us more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
January 2011. At the end of 2010 I was made redundant. I already made jewellery alongside my job, but this was almost certainly the push I needed to set up my own business.
Whats your background?
As a child I was always making things, usually small 3D objects of some kind, and dreamt of having my own creative business one day. When I left school I did a BTEC National Diploma in Display Design at the London Institute now UAL. My first job was building bespoke props and window schemes for stores such as Harvey Nichols, which I enjoyed, but soon decided I would prefer to work at a smaller scale and moved on to work for an architects practice in Covent Garden as a model maker, which suited my precision & eye for detail. Alongside this career, I was inspired to explore my curiosity in jewellery design, so enrolled on an evening class at City Lit and later began a City in Guilds course at Sir John Cass where I learned the skills of working with precious metals. It soon became a passion and I continued to develop my proficiency in fine jewellery making over several years.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
I don’t think there has been one specific challenge, but when you run your own small business, particularly in the early years, you need to play many roles and it’s not just about doing the parts you enjoy. If only I could spend every moment of the day in my studio making jewellery, but there are the other aspects that do not come so naturally to me, promotion , marketing and customer service as well as the boring things such as invoices and accounts.
2016 is not far away now, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I am very happy with the progress I have made with my business over the last couple of years gaining some lovely indie stockists and an ever expanding client base with many faithful customers. So as long as I continue to grow my business, meeting demand for my current collections, and allowing time for creativity, to introduce the new designs I have in the pipeline, that should keep me busy, but I am always looking for ways to introduce my work to a broader audience.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
London, I have visited both Paris and New York, but I have now lived in London for 17 years, so it feels like home, at least for now.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
I don’t use many beauty products as I have quite sensitive skin but like: Liz Earle cleanse & polish & Simple hydrating moisturiser and Burt’s Bees Lip Balm.
If you had to, what item from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
Jeans. In fact I do wear them nearly every day, being a jeweller I am regularly in my workshop so my work clothes need to be practical.
Best place for a coffee?
In my jewellery workshop in South East London with the friends I share it with, but the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs in Leather Lane, EC1 does good coffee.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
I have always wanted my own creative business for as long as I can remember, as previously mentioned. I imagined I would have my own craft shop. I didn’t really enjoy school and in my teens I couldn’t understand why I needed to finish school if I already knew I was going to follow a creative path. One morning on the first day of a new term I came downstairs for breakfast and found a note from my Dad on the kitchen table, wishing me luck for the new term. It said, don’t forget you will need Geography to tell your customers where to find your shop, Maths to add up what they owe you, languages to communicate and so on, listing how the key subjects would still be important for the success of a good craft shop owner! These were the days before the internet, so although I don’t have a shop premises, I do have an online shop and I often reflect with fondness on these words of wisdom when I need that extra encouragement to keep going with the not so enjoyable aspects of business, to achieve my goals.
If you could spend 24 hours anywhere in the world, where would it be?
24 hours doesn’t seem long enough to travel too far and fully appreciate somewhere, but I’d be happy anywhere that’s not over populated, with beautiful scenery and close to the water, with fresh air, sunshine, good food and above all, good company.
Where can people find out more?