Piccadilly Lily interview Rosie Wolfenden, joint founder and owner of top jewellery brand, Tatty Devine.
Tatty Devine is one of my all-time favourite jewellery brands and I was fortunate recently to chat with Rosie Wolfenden, joint founder and owner of this iconic brand.
The brand is most famous for its playful perspex jewellery - a totally independent British Company, they design and Micro-manufacture original jewellery.
Rosie and Harriet Vine met in 1996 when they started their degrees together. In 1999 they had an extraordinary break when they came to the attention of Vogue magazine. "Being open to opportunity and not being afraid to big up what you do is really important when trying to get a break, and in life generally" was her recollection of this time.
Working together for all these years, Rosie stated "we are more than friends, we are business partners. Tatty Devine is so important to us both that we have enormous respect for each other which goes a long way". Their efforts have not gone unrewarded as when in 2013, Rosie and Harriet received MBE's for their services to the Fashion industry, "receiving an MBE was fantastic and something that we didn't expect. When you work for yourself there's no one to say 'well done' so the MBE was amazing recognition and felt really good."
I was keen to know more about Rosie's working day, especially since the arrival of her two children. "I can no longer work 24/7 as I have children to care for and hang out with. When I am with them I try not to let work get in the way so they have my undivided attention. Having less hours in the day to work means you have to be much more efficient, however, that isn't a bad thing at all". There also isn't such a thing as a typical working day for Rosie "it depends what is happening and what time of year it is. I enjoy being out and about as well as visiting our studio in Kent or our store in Covent Garden". Tatty Devine's other shop is based in Brick Lane.
The company now employs 30 people across the business. This includes jewellery makers, sales advisors in their two stores, and the HQ team. When I asked Rosie how they view their success, she stated; "we view success on how happy we are and how happy our customer is"
Like me I'm sure you'll all want to know how they come up with their design ideas! "In the design process, we generally ask ourselves 'What do we want to wear' and 'does this exist in the world?' So you could say we design for ourselves. Making something that we will wear and something that is original is what matters most to us. Our customers seem to relate to this, thank goodness!" To start the design process, Rosie and Harriet discuss ideas and things they are currently into.
Harriet then works these ideas up into drawings, that are then developed into jewellery. The production team sample the jewellery and they then review to see where improvements or changes can be made. As they run their own production studio the process is quick, although they tend to like to work a year ahead so they have time to make everything.
Over the years, they've had some fabulous collaborations including George and Gilbert, The Tate, and English Heritage. I loved when at the end of 2017 they were given the honour of decorating the Wintertime Trees at the Southbank Centre with some of their iconic and much-loved designs. The famous collaboration with Belle and Sebastian came about when they walked into the shop one day and the shop assistant mentioned that Harriet and Rosie were massive fans, it then went from there!
When quizzed about possible future collaborations Rosie hinted that they would love to make jewellery for Grayson Perry or Rei Kawakubo.
And does Rosie have any favourite pieces? "There are too many to mention, however, the Dinosaur necklace holds a special place in our heart".
The girls are constantly trying new innovations - "we'd love to do 3D printing, but our aesthetic is so 2D that it slightly blows our minds!" she says. Tatty's 20th Birthday is approaching but Rosie wasn't giving away any secrets about their plans "you'll have to wait to find out what ... watch this space!
I was curious to know who Rosie admires in the Jewellery World and was delighted to find out we both share a love of Alex Monroe, 'so intricate and special', Rosie says of his work, I totally agree.
Tatty Devine was one of the original brands that launched with Piccadilly Lily. Still today, as always, Tatty remains one of Piccadilly Lily's top selling and top loved brands.