Yesterday, after dropping off my five year old at school, I listened to a Melissa Ambrosini’s podcast interview with Samantha Wills. A wonderful Australian entrepreneur who took her jewellery business from the kitchen table to global domination. I really appreciated her 12 year overnight success story and down to earth philosophy when it comes to developing a strong brand. Long term followers of my passion project and business, Hester Fleming Vintage, will have definitely picked up on the ‘slow burn’ aspect of my approach to building this brand. I’m sure many of you have questioned why have I chosen this approach? Why vintage? And why do I keep doing this?
I started buying vintage jewellery seriously in London 2010, after the global financial market tanked and I was let go from my job in publishing. What I didn’t anticipate when I launched my business at Gray’s Antique Market in Mayfair and a very basic WIX e-commerce site, was the amount of personal growth you go through when embarking on the entrepreneur journey.
Like any business founder, I’ve seriously questioned whether vintage jewellery and accessories is the right product for me to sell. Simply put, the fast fashion movement upsets me. While I am no stranger to shopping at Zara or H&M, the environmental cost (including labour and production) is enormous. Plus, the quality of materials used, isn’t the best.
When you think about it, how many clothes or accessories you own, do you actually wear regularly? And, would you pass them onto an Op shop or friend after being worn a few times? Pieces of jewellery in particular, produced throughout the 20th century are of amazing quality and design, still standing strong today. Building a collection of authentic 20th century vintage pieces you love is a wonderful personal asset, that will retain its value.
The other aspect of vintage I love is the design. The explosion of creative innovation throughout the 20th century is inspired. At present, I’m concentrating on sourcing mid century Modernist pieces, Mod jewellery from the 60s, vintage zodiac designs (tricky to find) and large sculptural pendents from the 70s by iconic costume jewellers such as Trfiari and Napier. Eventually, I’d love to produce an ethical high quality collection of pieces inspired by the 20th century. These pieces will aim to hold the test of time and forever enrich your contemporary style. For now, watch this space. Also, look out for my book, soon to be published, How to Buy Vintage Jewellery and Accessories, including a comprehensive list of places to source great costume jewellery in the style capital of the world, New York. Hopefully, more editions about Sydney/Melbourne, London, Paris and Amsterdam to come! Below are some stunning examples of 60s and 70s jewelry design. If you’re keen to purchase, or you would like to take a closer look, contact me here. Enjoy!