Go gaga for gold or be in awe of amethyst as Charlotte Pearson reveals a business to tame the magpie within.
Everyone knows that diamonds are meant to be a girl’s best friend, but for Southwater’s So Baroque they beg to differ.
“You can’t go wrong with pearls,” explains Kim Chambers, who co-owns the business with Mickey Watkinson.
“We were surprised at how popular they are with all ages.
“Me and Mickey love them but we are in our late 40s and early 50s and thought it would just appeal to that age group, but the younger market buys them as well.
“Pearls don’t date and can look classic as you can have a rounded more elegant style or look modern.”
Their passion for pearls also saw it have an influence on their name.
“A baroque pearl comes in different shapes so they aren’t all uniform,” she explains. “But baroque also means ornate style, which we love.”
The friends set up the business in 2013 after a shopping trip.
“We always went to shows in London and went shopping together,” Kim reveals. “One day I just thought ‘we could do this’.
“We both love jewellery and thought it would be a great area to move into, although it can be very competitive.”
The business specialises in costume fashion jewellery with items featuring gold vermeil and gemstones.
It also boasts brands such as Tilley & Grace, Rodgers & Rodgers, friendship bracelets from Boho Betty and handmade pieces from Ashiana.
In a bid to make themselves stand out from the crowd Mickey and Kim attend a number of trade shows throughout the year to get inspiration.
“You can really find things you wouldn’t see on the high street,” Kim says. “We usually go to London but we went to Paris at the end of January, which was so exciting.
“What we have is quite diverse, and we always make sure we have a number of styles and items.”
Sourcing their fresh water pearls also sees them look even further a field to the far east, using pearls farmed and harvested in freshwater mussels in the lakes of central China.
“What we pick is then designed by us and then made and shipped to the UK,” Kim adds. “It is a way of keeping costs down but also ensuring the quality of them.”
As each season comes and goes Kim explains they do look at trends but choose core products that are more classic.
“Last year we saw that pastels were quite big so we dipped a toe and bought small amounts to see how it would go,” she adds.
“You have to experiment and see but overall we know our client base and what they like.”
That is not all as So Baroque has started to add homeware products to its repertoire, with ornate mirrors and candle pins.
Also popular over the festive period were silk and cashmere scarves.
“So Baroque as a name isn’t restrictive which means we can do more than just jewellery in the future, although that will be our bread and butter,” Kim explains.
An important part of the business is charity work and anyone who has been to etc’s B Aware fashion show, or the autumn gift fair at Knepp Castle, will no doubt recognise Kim and Mickey.
“It is great to be able to give something back,” Kim enthuses. “We give a percentage of the money at the events to the charities which is great to be able to help.”
Jewellery is one of those things that no matter your size or shape you can wear it and even with trends changing you can incorporate colours or patterns if you don’t feel confident enough to dive in straight away.
So why not ditch the diamonds and go pearl with So Baroque?
So Baroque work from home but have a number of shows lined up this year.
To find out where they will be, visit www.sobaroque.co.uk, where you can also view the stock.
Working with jewellery all day and every day does Kim have any styling tips?
“When it comes to jewellery I think less is more,” she begins. “It is great to colour clash but I love to be coordinated.
“We have collections that you can wear the necklace, bracelet and earrings or just take one element and wear that either on its own or with a mixture of other items you own.
“We had a range of Aztec jewellery last year where you have one statement piece and then understated items.”
February 11, 2015 Fashion and Beauty