At EC One we currently have over 30 designers. Many of these talented and inspiring designers are are independent women. We asked our designers about their careers and why they choose jewellery. Meet our designer Flora Bhattachary. (Keep your eyes peeled for our future interviews)
What made you choose a career in jewellery?
I originally wanted to go to art school - but my parents wanted me to get an academic degree, so I studied history. Eventually I came back to jewellery and took a degree at Medway. I worked for jewellery companies like Dower and Hall and for the galleries Contemporary Applied Arts and Electrum before eventually taking an MA. It was only after I’d studied at St Martins that I really had the confidence to set up on my own as a designer. I find it hard to explain what drew me to jewellery - except that I’ve always been mildly obsessed. It took me a while, but eventually I realised that unless I focused on jewellery as a career, I’d never feel that I’d pursued what I loved.
How do you see the future of the jewellery industry for women?
Women are the main wearers of jewellery plus they are increasingly financially independent, design literate and fashion conscious. They want to express their individuality through what they wear - and they are happy to do that through jewellery that they’ve purchased for themselves. This gives women in many roles in the industry a huge advantage - they understand how women think - and what it is that they want to buy and wear. I think that the future is very bright for women in the jewellery industry - and you can see that in the increasing number of female entrepreneurs in the business.
Do you feel the industry is still male dominated ?
I’m afraid that I think it is still male dominated - particularly in the boardrooms of manufacturing and retail/corporate companies - but that is changing fast. The establishment of the Women’s Jewellery Network in the UK reflects that change and the number of women working in jewellery and rising up the ranks - must surely be going to change the face of the industry.
What advice would you give to a woman starting in the industry?
Seek out good advice from experienced people. Be bold and don't be intimidated!
Check out Flora's beautiful designs here.