Over the next few weeks SP will be sharing with you an exclusive series of interviews with London based, Indie designers. The first is the very talented jeweller and gemmolgist, Katherine Brunacci.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a jeweller and gemmolgist and launched my jewellery label in 2009. I have always loved jewellery and like the idea that I am creating an artifact, a treasure that can be handed down through the generations. Each piece I make is handcrafted by myself and is one of a kind. I hand carve all of the detailing on each of my pieces. No two KAB jewels are alike. I like the idea that each piece is unique to the wearer.
When did your journey start?
My journey started in high school. I started doing some jewellery night classes and absolutely loved it. For me, it was a big stress relief from studies.
What’s the idea behind your business?
I wanted each Katherine Alexandra Brunacci jewel to be seen as treasure an artifact that will be handed down through the generations. I want my clients to feel that they have something that is unique to them. I also wanted to create jewellery that I wanted to buy; big, solid, sterling silver statement pieces and I felt there was a gap in my local market. I have a unique design aesthetic, am fiercely independent and wanted to create my own look, without restriction. The year I finished my Masters degree the opportunity presented itself for a studio and small retail outlet in my local town, so I bit the bullet and went for it.
Do you have a personal life motto?
“Success is how one deals with failure ”
What is your main struggle in being female entrepreneurs?
When I started my jewellery label in my home town I was the only female jeweller and I did feel that my capabilities as a jeweller were questioned because of my gender. This did lead to a slight confidence of faith. Thank goodness within my industry I am seeing a shift with more female jewellers in the field than before.
How do you overcome it?
Over time my belief and pride in my brand grew and my confidence drowned out the contention, I also started to surround myself more with people that supported what I was doing. My mother has always been a huge support and helped me through some of the tough times and doubts.
What was your biggest professional achievement during your entrepreneur journey?
That my jewellery label Katherin Alexandra Brunacci. www.kabrunacci.com will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary this April and is stronger than ever. In my career there have been many knock backs and it can be very disheartening to begin with. I believe strongly that success is how one deal with failure. I also love what I do and
honestly couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I have a strong belief in the product and know that I am creating jewellery that is of beautiful quality and unique.
What was your biggest personal achievement?
Launching Gallery Fifty Four, a boutique jewellery gallery in Australia in 2009, that is still open. I opened the Gallery straight after I left university at the age of 23. I think I must of been a little nuts! The space had to be completely renovated and I also had to make the stock to sell. Working with a very limited budget and a very supportive and handy mother, most of the work was carried out and overseen by us.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being an entrepreneur?
– Stick at it. Success won’t come overnight.
– Surround yourself with people that believe in what you want to achieve.
– Research the competition.
How do you find inspiration on an average day? Do you have any rituals?
I love antiquities and am an history tragic. Medieval jewellery and objects are a particular passion. You will often find me wandering around the British Museum with my sketchbook in hand. I also take my inspiration from nature. Colour and combinations of colour are also very important to me. I am a gemologist, and use my knowledge to combine beautiful precious and semi precious stones with silver and gold to create that truly unique piece.
Many of the concepts I am working on are based on historical fact and folklore. I am currently working on a ‘Siren” series which I am really excited about. As I spend many hours crafting that individual piece, I think it’s important that each creation has a story to tell and is not just a decorative adornment.
Who has inspired you the most and why?
My mother Jennifer. She is a true inspiration. I most admire her tenacity, strength and compassion (This is seriously only the tippity top of the list). She has always been a leader and instilled this within me. She always taught me to follow my own instincts. Without her support I don’t think that my business would be having its 10th anniversary this year. She become an entrepreneur later in life, after spending nearly 25 years raising myself and my three siblings. I grew up in a very patriarchal household, where my father did and still doesn’t see the value of my mother working, this didn’t phase her. She started her working life again in 2009, working for me, and is now managing the Gallery in Australia whilst I’m in the UK. She trained as nurse before starting a family and had a limited jewellery knowledge. This didn’t phase her, she completely immersed herself within the jewellery industry. She is also now just about to head up a large land sub-division project single handedly. Her ability to adapt and her courage are truly admirable. I hope a smidge has rubbed off on me.
Do you have any advice to give to the new entrepreneurs?
I found it really important to surround myself with a strong support network. Look into joining female networking groups. “Meetup.com” has been a very good source for me, it lists open networking groups focusing on specific interests that you can attend many of them for free.Be open and help other entrepreneurs and don’t be scared to ask for help within your industry community. I have found that the sharing of knowledge is a two way street, some of the greatest tips and advise I have received has resulted from helping other designers and being
honest about my own troubles.