Clover Norton not only has a super cool name but this is a woman to watch. Whilst working in fashion retail, she discovered her passion and flair for jewellery design. Identifying a potential gap in the jewellery market for message jewellery she took advantage of an impending career break for motherhood coupled with swapping her London life for a quieter one in the leafy suburbs of Hampshire, to launch her own venture, Synergy Jewellery in 2015.
Here, she talks to us at House of Coco and tells us more about how she turned negative situations around, how she now feels at peace since finding her place in the world and so much more…
I read some of your blog and you clearly turned your MESS in to a MESSAGE. Can you tell us a bit about Synergy Jewellery and your journey to getting where you are today?
There’s no denying my life was tough for a while! After living in Spain for a long time, I returned to London, a single mum with no qualifications, no job and struggling to support my son. It quickly dawned on me that the only one who could pull me out of the hole I was in was me. I used to post pieces of paper around my flat with positive words written on them to keep myself focused and to remind myself that I could make things better for me and my son but I had to work for it .
The first step was landing a part time role in a small fashion boutique where I quickly discovered I was a natural sales person and had a real flare and love for silver jewellery. I identified a gap in the market for affirmation jewellery so I began creating my own designs based around the affirmations and positive words I used for myself to get me through the day when life was challenging.
Fast forward nine years and I took advantage of a career break to have my 2nd child to launch Synergy Jewellery and the journey has been amazing so far The ethos behind Synergy is to carry positive thinking with you and celebrate the women we cherish in our lives with beautiful, meaningful pieces of jewellery.
What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
For me personally , hearing the stories from our customers about how they relate to the affirmations of Synergy Jewelley is amazing although from a commercial point of view it would have to be having the collection featured in Vogue already!
Describe the brand in 3 words?
(Sorry, I need 5 words) Love Belief, Courage, Gratitude & Happiness.
Who is involved in the brand?
As the business grows I am involving more women who are looking for a flexible way of working and I am amazed at how productive this can be. During my maternity leave, I was lucky enough to meet lots of talented women who are striving to find the right balance between working and spending time with their children so I know the right people are out there!
Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
It’s a challenge combining running a family and running a business and there are never enough hours in the day! I get my son off to school and my daughter to the childminders. I then go for a run and do 30 minutes of yoga to clear my head before I start work at 09:30 from my office at home . My suppliers are based in the Far East so due to the time difference I tend to deal with them first as this usually takes up most of the morning. The rest of the day can be spent on everything else – sales enquiries, meetings, working on my marketing strategies or designs –whatever I need to prioritise on that day.
Before Synergy, what did you do on the work front?
After starting as a part time sales assistant I worked my way up to area manager for 10 fashion boutiques in London and Surrey. The brand then moved into the wholesale market, which gave me the opportunity to learn all about production and supply chains. As it was a small business, it was very hands on so I was lucky enough to gain experience in all aspects of the industry and I believe it has given me a head start when it came to setting up on my own.
Who/what inspires you? /
The person who has inspired me the most is my mother. She owned her own shop on Portobello Road in London in the 70s and 80s, and she designed, cut and made all of the clothes, I had a very creative upbringing and she taught me that anything is possible if you try.
Are there any sources you go for support with running your business?
I am still very good friends with the MD of the fashion retail company I worked for and when I need some advice on big decisions, I can turn to her. I also have a business mentor I can speak to once a week with an organisation called Outset Finance. I would also recommend Lara Morgan’s book ‘More Balls than Most’. It has given me some really good tips on growing a business and is a brilliant read for anybody starting out on their own.
What are your plans for the brand in 2016?
I am looking to cast the net further and to keep spreading the Synergy Love! The Autumn/Winter collection will launch in September and my key focus is to develop the wholesale side of the brand and we are already in talks with retailers in the US and Australia. Another goal is to grow our social media audience and to keep our followers smiling.
Did you always know that one day you would be a #Girlboss?
Yes, I think so; I was very proactive as a young girl setting up after school activities at home, running jewellery stalls at Christmas fetes and I set up my first business in Spain at the age of 23. Now I have finally found my place in the world, working for myself with a product I am passionate about. It feels good.
When we interview women in business we always ask, if they could do anything differently what would it be. Usually, everybody says they would never change anything because then they wouldn’t be where they are today. What are your views on this?
Education, I went to the university of life, and trust me, most of the time it was a lot of hard work and definitely not a short cut. If I could, I would have done a lot differently and not been in such a hurry to grow up!
If there’s one #Girlboss activity you could get better at, what would it be?
I could be a harder, tougher, and more ruthless businesswoman; but then again if I was, I wouldn’t be me.
For women aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
Be strong, be valiant, and be determined because as my mum once said; anything is possible… If you try.