Libby Collins talks to STYLE LDN about starting, jewellery company, ‘Cecily’ with her sister Tess.
Q: How did Cecily start?
A: It just sort of happened really. Tess had a number of years’ experience working as a jewellery buyer, and decided that she would take all of her knowledge and put it to good use in her own business.
As she was making these big changes, I was in my final year at London College of Fashion where I was studying Fashion Promotion. We were sat in Tess’ car one day towards the end of my degree, waiting for the AA Man (her car had broken down) and we were having a discussion on what sort of brand Tess wanted to create. It was in that car that ‘Cecily’ was born. With her ideas, and my branding knowledge, we created this brand and it just seemed the natural path to go into business together.
We have always wanted to run our own businesses (not necessarily together) and it was like fate took over. Within those two hours we had formulated this business plan and shook on it and it just kind of went from there.
It was one of those moments where your brain just starts developing ideas and from that point it seemed like someone had cleared all the traffic and there was a clear path ahead. I hadn’t planned on this happening so fast out of leaving uni but it was one of those moments where if we didn’t do it there and then, we would never do it.
Q: Where is the jewellery made and who by?
A: The jewellery is designed by us and made in Bali. They are the most amazing craftsmen and everything is made by hand. It has a real personal touch, which is so important to us.
Q: How is working together as sisters? (If it were me and my sister we’d be killing each other!)
A: When we were sat in the car making this massive decision to go into business together, we both hesitated thinking ‘Are we just going to drive each other mad?’ When we lived together we didn’t get on so well but working together in ‘Cecily’ works amazingly well.
We are from different creative backgrounds; Tess is from a design/buying background, where as I have a degree in Promotion and PR. It means that we don’t get under each others’ feet, we both respect each others’ knowledge and experiences, and it just works. When we’re working it’s probably the only time we don’t fight!
Q: What are your roles?
A: I wouldn’t say we have set roles as such. I obviously deal with the PR and marketing side and Tess is much better at speaking to suppliers and dealing with customs and shipping… basically organising getting the jewellery to us. As far as designing is concerned, we both kind of muck in. We both have an artistic streak and designs come as and when we get inspired. It’s very relaxed.
Q: Is anybody else involved?
A: Nope! It’s just us!
Q: What is the concept behind the brand?
A: The concept is to deliver beautifully designed on-trend pieces, made from the finest materials and made with love. It’s jewellery to last, to create memories with. It’s there to act as an extension of yourself, to project your mood and to fall in love with.
Q: How do you promote Cecily?
A: We send out regular press releases and are always in talks with stylists. We want to get the jewellery featured in as many fashion shoots as possible because of its ability to help tell a story.
We also regularly update the Facebook and Twitter, and we have a blog on our website that we have just started where people can follow our journey!
Q: How have you found dealing with the finance and business side of things?
A: This is definitely not my forte. There is so much to learn and it’s tough. There are times that you just want to crawl back into bed and turn your phone off. Designing and sending out press releases is definitely the fun part but with the fun has to come the sensible boring bits and, unfortunately for me, it’s this side of the business that forms the foundations for the brand.
It’s one of those things that I’m sure I will get the hang of…. I hope! Tess is definitely better at it than I am! Every stage is a learning curve, but I have every faith that we will get there. This is why it’s good to have a partner as we both have very clear strengths and weaknesses and we support each other to help develop the brand.
Q: Where can people buy it from?
A: People can buy from our website, and we have a stockist in Salcombe (Amelia’s Attic..check it out online!) in north Devon. It’s still pretty early days but we hope by the end of the year to have a number of boutiques selling Cecily Jewellery.
Q: What is your favourite piece at the moment?
A: Im currently wearing the ‘Rosanna Dove’ necklace, it’s a beautiful rose gold dove pendant. It’s so simple and delicate and great as an everyday piece. My other favourite piece is ‘Silvania’, a gold plate hummingbird and feather necklace. It’s stunning.
Q: Who would you like to see wearing your jewellery?
A: I would love to see Kate Hudson wearing it. She has that fun free-spirited attitude towards life that clearly resonates through her style. It’s this sort of easy relaxed outlook on life that inspires us! Tess and I both have a bit of a travelling bug, we both went on crazy gap years and when you’ve travelled the world that never leaves you.
Q: What are your aspirations for the business?
A: We don’t like getting carried away with ourselves but we would like to have boutiques and luxury department stores all over the country stocking Cecily products, and why not… to go international! Having big dreams never hurt anyone.
To see more designs and purchase from Mr T-Shirt, visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/designimports
Interview conducted by Francesca Bassenger. Photographs © and courtesy of Cecily London, with many thanks to Libby and Tess Collins.