MEET OUR DESIGNERS - EMMA WARE, WARE LONDON
Jewellery designer Emma Ware's approach to her designs is born of a desire to celebrate the human spirit. After working in the arts and film-making, Emma began her jewellery journey in a warehouse in Hackney Wick, where she was inspired to use bicycle inner tubes as the primary material to create beautiful, intricate pieces. Since then her collection has grown, yet retains its focus of recycling and repurposing materials which now include silver (largely recycled) and vegetable tanned leather, which are all still handmade in her east London studio.
After taking part in LDC's Meet the Maker concept store in Exmouth Market, Emma now joins us on our panel at our upcoming Mindful Maker: Presentations & Networking. We can't wait to hear how she strives for minimal impact throughout her business, and how she creates such beautiful treasures from someone else's trash.
We caught up with Emma before the Mindful Makers evening to find out more about Ware London, her ethical values and her advice for future entrepreneurs...
Tell us a little about your brand, and your ethical/ sustainable values.
Ware London is a conscious, unconventional jewellery/accessories brand creating unique yet elegant adornment for the spirited individual. Sustainability and ethical values are fundamental to the business and behind every decision made. We don’t claim to be perfect but we just don't want to contribute to harming the planet and it’s inhabitants.
The materials we use are repurposed (bicycle innertubes, recycled silver) and/or biodegradable (leather, bubblewrap, packaging) where possible, the designs are handmade in our London studio. Finding eco alternatives is an ongoing process that I hope will be made easier as pressure is put on suppliers to create more responsibly.
How do you see the industry changing in terms of ethical and sustainable considerations?
From the planet’s point of view, we have no choice but to change. Once a brand labels itself ethical, attention is drawn to the fact that the alternative isn't ethical. At this stage it’s about creating awareness, demonstrating that there is a problem and why we should care. It’s a slow process but as awareness grows I hope that bigger brands feel the pressure and not changing will have a negative impact on their image. We shouldn't have a distinction between ‘normal’ brands and ethical brands, ethical should be the norm and the alternative labelled negatively.
Why have you chosen to partner with LDC?
LDC is a new way for designers/brands to market and sell their work. Not ‘just’ a pop up, it's a supportive network of likeminded business owners and a unique opportunity to showcase and network in key areas during key seasons. As a designer maker I don't often get to see the product to consumer end of the business and it’s so valuable, it makes the business make sense. It’s important to see how potential customers interact with your products and who your customers actually are. Normally I wholesale and sell online so I don't meet the person buying my designs. After my first pop up with LDC I was empowered by the ability to take control and connect direct with the people who want to wear my designs. It’s so much more effective than a mediocre tradeshow or social media campaign. Workshops, ‘Meet the Maker’ concepts, networking events, LDC’s marketing and extensive contact list make for a valuable experience all round.
What advice would you give people who are thinking about starting their own business?
Research beforehand, and plan. It’s hard to know what to do when you haven’t done it before! So interning or working for a brand in your industry is a really good way to start. Ask questions about everything. Maybe do some workshops in branding/marketing/selling.. or there’s a lot online for free.
Think about how you want your business to work, each business is very different, there’s no one way to do things and you can make yours suit you. Ie. you can aim to outsource production of a commercial product that you will sell thousands of, or you can handmake everything yourself and have a very personal service. The plan can also change. Once launched it’s good to hit the ground running and keep the momentum up. The media loves a new brand with a USP and after 3 years a lot of help for new businesses dries up.
Who is your dream muse (alive, passed or fictional!)
Ah for me Frida Kahlo encapsulates the freedom, strength, boldness and individuality that I imagine my Warers would be inspired by. She didn’t conform to someone else’s idea of how a woman should be and powered on turning her struggles into creativity and beauty.
Meet LDC designer, Emma, in person at our Mindful Makers event on 19th June, and hear her speak on our panel about everything sustainability! Register for tickets by clicking here.
Check out Ware London at: https://www.emmaware.co.uk/
Or follow them on instagram: @ware.london