Q&A WITH ABBY SEYMOUR – JEWELLER
What inspired you to start your business? How did you go about it?
I have always been driven to achieve and work to a high standard. After working for a few other businesses, teaching in the field and forming a working partnership, I realised that I could ultimately push myself further than anyone else could and I was looking to implement and tailor my own working ethics and principles. My main focus to building my business was to specialise in trade skills and make a living from what I love doing and believe in. I also was very adamant to work to a different structure, try to set a better example and build upon industry standards. My training background is in printmaking, art and bookbinding but I have always been drawn to process and small details, so naturally, I loved the idea of adapting my skill sets to jewellery as a medium. I also loved the idea that jewellery was in a sense wearable art, and the end result could be appreciated every day. There are so many possibilities, techniques and specialities in the field as a jeweller that I imagine it would be little overwhelming to find a starting point. I was able to organically work my way up to the skill sets I have now, one project or skill at a time based on a need to know to get from A to B.
I’m a bit of a bookworm and love researching how things work, so when I first started I was always reading technical manuals and then practising. Little by little I built up enough of a repertoire in the area I wanted to move forward to then officially start my jewellery label under my own name. Whilst I don’t often get the time to practice all that I have studied – including my printmaking and bookbinding training – there is definitely a strong influence from to the ways in which I work and create today. This dialogue is one that I have been able to hold on to and build into the story as a maker of all that I create now. This has helped to set me apart and consolidate what I am now known for. Even though my work is diverse in medium and form, the designs entail detailed and intricate hand-formed marks paired with bold, hard-edge geometry, together reflecting a restrained and quiet simplicity. I think that creates continuity in my work and a cohesive brand identity that is recognisable. My detailed print illustrations clearly speak to the carved features of my jewellery, further reflected in the surface detailing, imprinted and carved on my porcelain objects.
What do you find to be the most rewarding part of your business?
Getting to make things. There is nothing more satisfying and rewarding to me than creating a wearable form of art: initially conceiving the design, employing my principles, crafting every detail with my very own hands, overcoming limitations with inventive solutions and then completing an item that will be cherished on a daily basis. Of course this all sounds very idyllic and it’s absolutely not what a typical day looks like for me. As many would know, in order to make any business successful a huge effort must go into the planning, analysis, prototyping, logistics, administration, PR and marketing – the list goes on. The proportion of time that I get to spend doing the designing and making is far less than the other seemingly menial tasks, but it still doesn’t overshadow how rewarding it is to make with my hands and be able to stand by my principles to bring something of the highest possible quality into an already mass consuming culture.
What makes your product different? Why do you think it has succeeded?
The biggest difference is my unique style. It’s hard to pin point if my products have done well due more to one thing over another, but I have always conceived the designs as an artwork in their own merit and as the priority before any product function and monetary value comes into play. I guess having a strong primary aesthetic vision over a commercial drive strengthens my brand and style. I'm still not sure if this is the most successful way to run a business financially, in fact I'm sure it's not but that’s where my products are different. I think that most people can pick up on genuine connections rather than more diluted attempts to cash in on trends. The personal element that is inscribed into each and every piece is so important. The reality is that we are all living in a grossly mass-consuming environment and people are slowly reverting back to more minimal and meaningful purchases. I am building my business and brand for the future, not for today, it is a long road with a more conscious impact chosen over short-term instant rewards.