Claire Troughton is an established jewellery designer with almost 20 years experience. She makes collections of silver jewellery, inspired by nature as well as individual wedding and engagement rings from her Chester studio.
Claire’s exquisite attention to detail and her striking use of gold and silver help to create her distinctive style and this is exactly what caught our eye at House of Coco.
We spent some time with this #BossBabe to find out more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Claire Troughton Jewellery was launched in 1996 – We’re celebrating 20 years this year! My aim was, and still is, to make beautiful, well designed jewellery at affordable prices.
Whats your background?
I completed a degree in Jewellery Design at Edinburgh College of Art before moving to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter to perfect my skills. After a one year business course I spent a further 9 years in the Jewellery Quarter before moving to Chester.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
My hardest challenge came in December 2010. Just before Christmas a huge fire swept through the Chester Enterprise Centre where my business was housed. It devastated many businesses and was so intense that there was nothing left of the top floor where my business was housed. This meant that I lost all my original designs, stock, computer records, exhibition stands and tools built up over 15 years. Some of these were irreplaceable. There was absolutely nothing left and it felt almost like losing a family member. This loss was such a great shock, but thankfully no-one was hurt in the blaze. I would say it took a good 2 years to fully recover, but I now feel the business is stronger than ever, with a better vision of where it is heading.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
Gosh, there have been so many exciting times from winning awards to seeing Louise Minchin wearing a necklace from the ‘Forrest Ferns’ collection on BBC Breakfast. However, I guess the biggest thrill was having my design for cufflinks shortlisted as a gift to be presented to members of the G8 summit. This resulted in me being invited to a reception at 10 Downing Street and meeting James Dyson, Cherie & Tony Blair.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
New York! We spent part of our Honeymoon there and I just loved it. From the museums and tourist attractions to chatting to locals in run down bars and sitting around in parks just people watching, it was fantastic. I can’t wait to go back!
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
My number one must have is Bare Minerals ‘Prime Time’ BB Primer Cream. I’ve always struggled with high colouring around my cheeks. This just covers so easily and gives a great every day finish even without adding foundation. Touche Eclat I think can be found on many a handbag list. Thirdly I need Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream. I’m constantly washing my hands at work and consequently they can become dry. I’ve tried lots of hand creams, but I find this one sinks in really quickly without leaving an oily residue, meaning I can get back to work at the bench quickly.
Creating your own look and being confident with it. You don’t always need to be a slave to fashion. It’s about how you put your clothes and accessories together to give you the confidence to let the brightest you shine out.
Best thing about London to you?
Choice. I absolutely adore living in Chester and being so close to the countryside that inspires me, but it is a really tiny city with limited cultural offerings. There is just always so much to see and do in London. I could spend days just wandering round the museums and galleries and sketching. There’s also a wealth of restaurants offering international cuisine and of course great shopping, not just on the high street, but in markets where you can find gems from independent designers and makers.
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Statement shoe! I love shoes. We now have 3 shoe cupboards in our house and they’re all overflowing with my shoes. My favourites are a pair of Irregular Choice in electric blue suede with bluebirds all over them. There’s no occasion they aren’t right for! Just one of 5 pairs of Irregular Choice I own at the moment, but there’s always room for more.
If you had to, what item from your wardrobe would you wear every day?
I would very happily wear my 1950’s style tea dress. It’s pink and white checks with little daisies all over it and was hand made for me by a friend using an original 1950’s pattern. I wear it with a huge frilly underskirt. It’s just so floaty and girly and makes me feel very feminine.
Best place for a coffee?
I don’t drink coffee. I’m a good old fashioned tea girl! I love searching out an independent tea shop for a more quirky less corporate experience.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
When I first started out I met a trade jeweller who had been working in the Jewellery Quarter for 40 years since the age of 15. He told me never to turn work down because of lack of experience and said ‘If you don’t know how to do it we know someone who can’. This has always stuck with me and over the years I’ve been approached to complete projects that I had no idea how to start. It would be easy to turn the work down, but I’ve always taken the view that I can learn how to make the piece or ask for help in doing it. This means my skills have grown as well as my confidence.
The Eurovision Song Contest! I know I’ve just blown all my credibility now, but I’ve been watching it since I was a little girl and there’s still something fascinating about it today. Of course it’s not the same without the late Sir Terry Wogan’s acerbic comments, but still good fun.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
Until recently my main market has been selling wholesale to shops and galleries. I plan to continue with this, but will also be promoting my bespoke collections more. The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of customers seeking out unique wedding and engagement rings from me. As well as offering this service I will also be developing a collection of 18ct gold and gemstone rings which can be purchased through the website and will be available more quickly than a bespoke ring commission for those who just can’t wait to wear it!
Please have a look at the website www.clairetroughton.co.uk and connect socially at www.facebook.com/clairetroughton , www.twitter.com/ctroughton1 , www.pinterest.com/ctjewellery. Why not sign up for all the latest news and offers by heading to the website and pressing the ct logo to sign up for the mailing list. We promise not to bombard you with emails and certainly will NEVER share your details with third parties.