41 year-old, Freya Rose from Southsea, Hampshire is a British shoe and jewellery designer, whose passion for fine craftsmanship, exceptional design and ethical practice is winning her awards, as well as a place in the hearts and minds of celebrities and royals globally, with her “sculptural wearable works of art.” Designed in London, sculpted in Spain and bejewelled in Bali, her collections are inspired by nature, architecture and her late father’s encouragement to “always stop and smell the roses”. Freya’s eponymous label incorporates her knowledge of fine jewellery and passion for celebrating ancestral craftsmanship to create unique jewelled shoes and demi-fine jewellery, using precious materials such as mother of pearl, brass and sterling silver, to be treasured forever. Committed to craftsmanship, people and sustainability, her collections have gained her international awards and she is fast becoming regarded as one of the UK’s leading shoe couturiers, as well as being named this year as a Prince’s Trust Ambassador.
What is your business and what does it offer?
I’m a shoe and jewellery designer, producing small quantities of the highest quality shoes, jewellery and bags for clients who are looking for something really special to celebrate an occasion or event. I’m passionate about; beauty and it’s form slow-fashion and championing true craftsmanship. I work with artisan families who have passed on their incredible skills from generation to generation. At Freya Rose, we source the finest quality, ethically sourced, mother of pearl and semi-precious stones in the making of our designs truly unique pieces that will stand the test of time. I’m an advocate of slow-fashion. Within the last year, we have also made a positive change by using 100% recyclable packaging and utilising DHL’s GoGreen service, which contributes to their worldwide environmental protection programme.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
12 years ago, I was a single parent, working all the hours I possibly could, with a young baby to support, when I came across the Prince’s Trust. I started my business with a £3000 Prince’s Trust loan.
Driven by my passion and a determination to succeed, the business has organically grown and recently boomed to a multi-6-figure-enterprise, increasing its turnover by 400% during the last financial year and growing my in-house team from 3 to 10.
Designing and creating has always been in my blood. My Mother, who is herself an internationally acclaimed jewellery designer and has won the De Beers award 4 times – her first whilst she was still at university. She still has a workshop just around the corner and my stepfather is a master goldsmith. They’ve been huge supporters of my craft and championed me every step of the way.
I’m astonished when I look back and see how far we’ve come with the business and I want to inspire other women in the same way. During my life some of the most talented people I’ve met have come from disadvantaged backgrounds and I feel passionately about supporting them; just like the Prince’s Trust supported me. It can be really hard to build anything without the proper advice, support and investment and I’m passionate about helping women from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their dreams.
What is a business highlight?
As a business owner and entrepreneur, I have recognised my love for, and the inspiration I find in meeting and working with others. From creating and collaborating alongside true craftsman, to being able to work with incredible and inspiring business people, I find the opportunity to connect with and learn from others a constant source of fulfilment and a true business highlight.
Like so many, I faced challenges and hardship because of the pandemic, however it also allowed me to innovate and explore new avenues through designing an inaugural jewellery collection. This opened up opportunities and attributed to substantial growth within the business and I’m now in a position to give back through charity donations and supporting timely initiatives I’m passionate about.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate to see some of the most stylish women wearing my pieces, but I genuinely love seeing all women wearing my designs.
How do you fit work in with being a mum?
Over the years I’ve learnt the ultimate art of juggling. Both running a business and raising a family are 24/7 jobs; I quickly realised, to find balance, I had to work methodically and efficiently. Being mindful to make time, I decided unless it was absolutely crucial, I would always take weekends off for family time.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My younger self suffered with anxiety. I cared a lot about what others thought and struggled in finding self-confidence as I constantly feared arrogance. I’ve learnt it is okay to ask questions: ‘why?’ ‘how?’. Life is about constantly learning. By taking on opportunities, asking questions and investing in yourself, you’re always going to better yourself – I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to not know everything.
What impact do you want to make?
I’m astonished when I look back and see how far we’ve come with the business and I want to inspire other women in the same way. During my life some of the most talented people I’ve met have come from disadvantaged backgrounds and I feel passionately about supporting those from a similar upbringing; just like the Prince’s Trust supported me. It can be really difficult to build anything without the proper advice, support and investment and I’m passionate about helping women from disadvantaged backgrounds to realise their dreams.
I feel strongly about supporting and upskilling women from under-represented communities globally and keeping ancestral crafts thriving. The provenance and traceability of the materials used in my designs are fundamental to my business. I’ve worked alongside my artisan shoe couturiers in Spain for over 10 years. The signature mother of pearl heels and jewellery are responsibly sourced in Bali, where we now employ 30 jewellers. I believe that preserving and supporting these ancestral craft techniques is essential in a fast, modern world where globalisation degrades these ancient practices and often exploits those involved in the process.
I’ve recently launched a new initiative that supports the indigenous craftsmen and women in Indonesia by investing in the training of the next generation of jewellers to preserve these skilled ancestral techniques.
We’re committed to giving back and charity has been built into this enterprise since its inception. We gave 100% profit from our ‘Luna’ design to Together for Short Lives charity and we donated over £2,000 of products to NHS workers during the Covid pandemic, as well as offering a discount for NHS brides.
In collaboration with the charity, we’ve reimagined our best-selling ‘Mini Hoops’ design in aid of The Prince’s Trust #CHANGEAGIRLSLIFE campaign, which helps to ensure that young women’s futures are not predetermined by circumstance. Over 44 years, The Prince’s Trust has supported those in particularly challenging situations, which range from mental health problems, growing up in the care system, victims of sexual abuse, involvement with in the criminal justice system and long-term unemployment. When I discovered the traditional Indonesian technique used to create the Woven Mini Hoops earrings, it really resonated with me. The idea that the woven nature of the craft represents the power in women supporting women and how a single piece, when connected with other kindred forces, can create such strength. With every purchase of the new ‘Woven Mini Hoops’ we’re donating 5% of the profits to The Prince’s Trust #CHANGEAGIRLSLIFE campaign.
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