Hargreaves Stockholm was created as an ethical fine jewellery brand that not only focuses on creating beautiful, wearable pieces but on making those pieces as responsibly and as ethically as possible.
House of Coco spent some time speaking with the founder Jemima to find out more about the brand, plans for the future and more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Hargreaves Stockholm was finally launched at Stockholm Fashion Week, January 2017. I say finally because it was the culmination of many years of work and research. We launched the company because after nearly two decades in the fine jewellery industry I felt there had to be a way of producing beautiful pieces but as responsibly as possible. I don’t compromise of ethics but I also don’t compromise on quality.
Whats your background?
I am an apprentice trained goldsmith and have had the great fortune to work with some truly spectacular masters. After my apprenticeship I worked with very traditional, hand made fine jewellery. From there I managed both traditional workshops and large scale production workshops and have run projects for film work, royalty and high profile clients. Over the years I have also offered consultancy services for jewellery companies and jewellery brands that want to diversify, reinvent their image, workshop or product base. Over that journey I have questioned the materials we use and have searched for alternatives and that has lead me to create my own brand.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
There are a number of people in my team who help me on a freelance basis. I have a great friend who works as my right hand on production. She is exceptionally talented and we have worked together for many years now. She creates a lot of the prototypes as well as being great to bounce ideas off. When we have too much to do there are extra pairs of hands that work on production too. So that makes three of us or more when we need it. Outside of the workshop I have two very lovely CAD engineers who really understand how I work and what I expect. It is really important to me that I have a good rapport with the people I work with. It really helps to solve any technical problems and come up with exciting solutions. Then there is also someone who, with the latest robotic technology, produces the sustainable packaging for me in house.
As the business is still very much in its infancy I get help where ever I can so a lot of the general computer work outside of design is carried out by my very lovely, long suffering husband.
I also work with a PR company that has a network of resources that I can call upon for photography, website or general advice.
There are of course all of the suppliers in the chain who work hard to supply the materials we need.
So, although we may not have full time staff I always say “we” when discussing the business because I am not doing this alone, I have a large network of eager support around me.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
At the moment I wouldn’t change anything because I really believe in our brand philosophy and our products. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, years of research and trialing prototypes but all of that gives a strong foundation.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
Sourcing responsible materials has been really challenging. There is huge amounts of red tape involved in some responsible materials and in other materials there is no red tape because the trail to discover the true background of the material is too undocumented to consider. We want to be responsible in all aspects of the business and one of the biggest challenges has been high quality ethically sourced and produced packaging. We have actually just started producing our own packaging in house using robotic technology to ensure, again, that neither ethics or quality are ever compromised.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
I am allergic to pearls.
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
There is a lot planned this year. We are preparing for Fashion Week in London and possibly Paris as well as Stockholm. There are also press days in London to have pieces ready for and the brand was nominated for Precious Talents which is a Swedish industry award and the show for that is the week before London Fashion Week so there will be lots to prepare. The main focus from this point is to increase our number of stockists and to consolidate product ranges. At the moment we work from two small studios in London and Stockholm and it would be great to get everything under one roof this year.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
There have been lots of exciting times in the short time since launching. The first time seeing pieces in Elle was fantastic. It is so important to have the support of magazines, it can make such a difference for new brands. I am extremely grateful for the support we have had. I was recently having my haircut and there were the usual magazines on the little shelf in front of the mirror. Damernas Värld (a big Swedish Fashion magazine) was open and a photograph of our Fealty torque collar was right there in front of me. I tried not to look too excited whilst trying to surreptitiously get a photograph of it for Instagram. I didn’t manage a good photo so I called my mum instead!
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
London as I have lived there many times and at such different stages of my life. It is a fantastic, diverse and unique place.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Burts Bees lip balm is a must have. Their products and philosophy are absolutely on point. They were kind enough to support our Stockolm Fashion Week launch by providing lip balms for our eco gift bags. They were all flavored with a little peppermint oil and everything we took with us still smells amazingly minty. The baby ointment is also fantastic not just on the kids but also as a lip balm or for dry hands etc.
It is really important to me to consider my own brand philosophy as much as I can. That means I try to buy responsibly. I am a fan of wearing probably too much eye makeup and I have been searching for an eco mascara. My current favorite is Kjaer Weis. It is a great mascara that is made of 99.8% organically sourced ingredients.
The final must have is Björk & Berries hand cream. Working at the bench plus long icy Scandinavian winters definitely take their toll on hands. I need a hand cream that I can carry in my bag and that absorbs quickly. I do love their “Botanist” hand cream for the slightly smoky smell that is so reminiscent of Sweden in the winter as everyone lights their stoves. I have their “Dark Rain” mini hand cream in my bag and the organic witch hazel and aloe vera are are so soothing on tired workshop hands.
Style is not just following Fashion but having the confidence to find what works for you, who you are and how you live. We are all different and it is inspiring that we are finally edging towards a time where there is more freedom to be whoever we want to be.
Best thing about London to you?
London has an incredible mix of different people and cultures all mixed up together. Regardless of background it really feels like everyone comes together during the tough times. London is an exciting and liberating place to be. I also love the reassuring sound of black cabs day and night, that always felt like home.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Statement shoe every time!
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
I have a soft black shirt by Filippa K and it goes with everything and is so, so comfy. It washes really well too. I love Filippa K and the strides they are taking in responsible manufacturing.
Favourite love song?
I’m not really a love song sort of a person but Elbow, One Day Like This is pretty special.
Best place for a coffee?
In the studio whilst preparing for the day is a marvelous place to be, especially when the sun is shining.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
I’m sure my wonderful old master who trained me was full of great advice like, don’t remove too much metal as you can’t add it back but you can always take a bit extra away later.
It’s more the people who have said I can’t do something that has stuck with me though. “You can’t sell ethical products, it makes the industry look bad”. “You can’t sell diamonds that didn’t come from a mine because the industry won’t like it”. “You shouldn’t use Fairmined gold as it makes the industry look bad when we don’t use it”. My personal favorite was probably “a business like yours will never be a threat to a business like mine”, which was from a very traditional jewellery firm. I love those comments, it really helps to drive me. A number of people have said to me that they know I’m doing something right by the way it is shaking up the people I have worked with in my industry.
Hot chocolate! I keep thinking I will stop having hot chocolate in the morning and make something healthy like a fresh juice or something. That pretty much never happens and I find myself merrily drinking a large cup of hot choclate instead!
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A quiet 24 hours with my family with time to just be together is the best place in the world.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
There are many goals to reach over the next couple of years. Increasing stockists and having a larger, consolidated production workshop are going to be key. After that I would like to start opening stores.
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