When the likes of Kate Moss & Ed Sheeran are spotted wearing your jewellery collection, you know you’re doing something right. Meet Daniella Draper the founder of her eponymous jewellery brand that is currently taking the UK by storm.
In just a number of years, she has transformed her business from a small craft unit in Lincolnshire to a nationally renowned brand with a handful of stores. To hear Daniella’s secrets to success, we caught up with her at Central Saint Martin’s where her journey as a jewellery designer first began.
Did you always know you wanted to become a jewellery designer?
“I’ve always loved jewellery but never thought it could become a full-time career. During my first three years at Central Saint Martins I had real doubts of whether or not I was going to pursue it as a career as the course was very conceptual. It was designed to push you to your creative limits with the aim of finding your identity.
“I was probably a little immature but by the final year I found my groove. I most certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t spent that time at Central Saint Martin’s – not just the skills I learnt but also all the people I met along the way.”
You’re an entrepreneur as much as a jewellery designer, tell us the story of how Daniella Draper Jewellery came about.
“Well, it’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of late nights. I moved home to start my business which enabled me to focus and have more time. There were more opportunities around Lincolnshire as the cost for shops was lower, allowing us to grow faster. My mum is my business partner and being able to work so closely with her really helped – her support has been invaluable!”
Your mum is a part of the business and your sister, Holly, is in a lot of your photography - is the brand a family affair?
“I still live with my parents so we all live and breathe the brand - it’s really nice having that support network. We all have different strengths and we’ve got everyone’s best interests at heart. It’s really nice to be able to bounce off each other and it’s been enjoyable having someone to share the journey with.”
As a dual-gender jewellery brand, how do you approach designing a men’s collection?
“A lot of my jewellery is quite masculine anyway, it’s chunky and bold so applying the same design style to a men’s collection wasn’t particularly tricky. I try to keep the men’s collection simple – classic styles with a modern take. Men are becoming much more interested in jewellery so our focus is on creating pieces that aren’t too fussy but still have the hallmarks of our brand.”
You have quite a famous fan-base. Which celebrity were you most proud to see wearing your jewellery?
“Seeing Kate Moss wearing my collection was pretty special. I’d literally just graduated and then she ended up wearing a load of my pieces for a Dazed & Confused shoot. It was a great starting point and foundation for me – I was completely awed by her. This was back in 2009 and gave me quite a break to ride on!”
Since Kate Moss, what other famous faces have been wearing Daniella Draper?
“Ed Sheeran has quite a few of my pieces – I’ve spotted the odd photo. Weirdly, I actually made a bangle to go on his waxwork at Madame Tussauds, although I haven’t been to see it yet.”
What is your greatest achievement to date?
“That’s a hard question to answer really – I guess it’s having the ability to make only the things I want to make. Being able to walk into a jewellery store and purchase sapphires or diamonds and then craft them into something beautiful for someone is a dream come true. It’s the real definition of freedom – I feel spoilt being able to do what I love.”
Who do you look up to?
“It definitely has to be my mum – she is so strong, so smart and she always thinks outside the box. I look at her and aspire to be like her when I’m older.”
Tell us about your personal style?
“I must admit that I go for comfort and practicality. Shirts are a big thing for me as you can so easily layer them up and are perfect for looking smart. Material and quality are also a big thing for me – I can’t resist anything that’s made from cashmere. You’ll often catch me in a shirt, jeans and some cashmere thrown in for good measure.”
What does the future hold for Daniella Draper, will we ever see a store down South?
“Oh yeah, definitely! Having expanded really quickly we’re currently coming together as a business and making sure that all of our processes are in place. We’re looking at potential new stores further up north and also on the west coast of the UK. My sister is currently in LA so who knows, maybe you’ll see Daniella Draper popping up in the US soon…”