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In Conversation with Charlotte Strømmen

In Conversation with Charlotte Strømmen

In Conversation with Charlotte Strømmen

October 26th, 2022

She got it from her mamma! That's where Charlotte Strømmen's love for jewellery came from so it was inevitable that she would one day launch her own brand. Luxury for everyone is their ethos and they have stayed true to that through every piece they have created.

Whilst their jewellery will put a smile on your face, it's the story behind their brand that will inspire you the most. Here, we spent some time with Charlotte to find out more...

Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your brand, Charlotte Strommen Jewellery?…

Growing up I always had a love and interest for jewellery. I grew up in a really tight-knit family in the jewellery business in Norway, so I’ve been exposed to jewellery from a very young age. The love for jewellery is actually a passion that I have shared with my mother and my late grandmother.

As a person I am very family-oriented and so I guess I always knew deep down that I wanted to go in the same footsteps as my brother and continue on with the family legacy. But with that being said, I never imagined that I one day would launch my very own brand. I actually played with the thought of becoming either a pathologist or psychologist, before eventually deciding on becoming a goldsmith (and an engraver and a stonesetter).

At the age of 21 I finished my goldsmith education in Norway. I’ve always dreamed of living abroad, so I therefore decided on moving to Germany to specialize further in Engraving and Stonesetting. I have been so lucky to be able to attend one of Europe’s leading schools in Stonesetting, Engraving and Goldsmithing; Staatliche Zeichenakademie Hanau. And I think my education at this school has been a huge factor in me developing myself as a designer.

For me drawing has always been a way of relaxing and clearing my mind, so I always have a notebook at hand. After I decided to become a goldsmith, my sketches have since developed into jewellery designs. And over the past few years I’ve been collecting my designs and elaborating them. It was actually my mother that suggested that I could launch my own brand with the designs I had made over the years. At first it was just a crazy idea, but after some time the idea grew on me. And before I knew it, I was working on my own brand and designing jewellery for a living.

At the age of 24, I decided it was the right time to launch my own brand. With that being said, my journey has definitely not been easy. I decided to launch my brand in February 2020, right before the pandemic broke loose in Europe. So, there has for sure been a lot of obstacles along the way, but I am so proud the see where we have come as a brand since our launch.

Where did your love and interest for jewellery come from?

I think my love for jewellery was something I inherited from my mother. I grew up in a family in the jewellery business, so I’ve always been surrounded by jewellery. In fact, I went to my first jewellery fair at the age of 6 weeks.

I’ve always been very interested in art and expressing myself through different types of art. I actually attended art school from the age of 5 – 17 years. And during this time, I would always try to incorporate jewellery to some extent in my art studies.

But it wasn’t until my older brother decided to become a goldsmith, that I understood that this was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Through his work, I awaked a deep interest for jewellery within myself, and thanks to him I decided to become a goldsmith, engraver and stonesetter.

What I truly love about jewellery is that you can change a look of an outfit just by accessorising the outfit with different types of jewellery, and that you can express yourself in so many different ways. For me jewellery makes me feel quite beautiful and confident – and it has such an impact on my everyday life.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your designs?

For me jewellery is all about feeling inspired and to be able to express your inner self with the jewellery you wear. So, when I created my brand, it was important for me that all my designs reflected these criteria. I want people to feel inspired, happy, and good in their own skin by wearing my jewellery.

Not only is it important for me to bring joy to people with my designs, but I also want to give people a feeling of luxury at an affordable price. Therefore, I came up with our motto; "Luxury for Everyone". My vision from the get-go has been to give a feeling of luxury, that a lot of people can indulge in. I love to combine colourful and sparkling stones with fun and interesting, yet classic and timeless designs. My hope is that our jewellery can inspire people, in the same way that I get inspired by the art of others.

Do you have plans to expand your range in the future and if so, what will you expand into?

Yes, I am actually working on expanding our range as we speak. I am still in the developing phases, but some time within the next few years I hope to launch a gold collection. Right now, all our jewellery pieces are made of silver (925 Silver / Sterling Silver), but I am currently working on an all-new collection in gold.

Looking back since launching the business, is there anything you would do differently?

In all honesty, I don’t think there much I would do differently if I was given the opportunity. I mean, sure it would probably be a lot easier launching a brand outside of a worldwide pandemic. But looking back, the pandemic definitely also made me change my outlook on how to run/ build a business and it also resulted in me depending on myself a lot more. During lockdown I had to learn how to do jewellery photography, editing, social media strategizing, building a website and so much more. So, it's been a steep learning curve, and it’s definitely been challenging at times - but at the same time I’ve learned so much about myself and my capabilities.

I think, when launching a brand, it’s crucial to have a vision for your business. I most certain had a vision for my brand from the get-go, but looking back I wish I was more confident in myself. So, I guess the one thing I would change looking back, would be my confidence. But then again, I think confidence is something that grows along with the success. In the beginning everything is so “new”, and you feel quite vulnerable and exposed. Personally, I feel like all my pieces are small parts of me – and so showing these to the world, can be quite intimidating. But I have for sure have felt that my confidence as a designer has improved a lot since the launch.

Who’s involved in the business and what are their roles?

I do most of the work for my business myself. All the designs, pictures, social media etc. are done by me. With that being said, I come from a tight-knit family in the jewellery business in Norway, so I am very grateful that I have my own sales team & office that helps me with the daily tasks. Right now, I am finishing a specialization within Stonesetting, so I spend my time travelling back and forth between Germany and Norway. Therefore, I am so grateful for the support I get from my co-workers.

Since the launch of our brand, the response in social media has grown a lot. So, in order to manage everything properly, I’ve recently started cooperating with a pr-agency, Agency M, to help me with our Public Relations work. I am forever grateful for the fantastic work the fierce women behind Agency M, put in for our brand.

For anyone interested in launching a fashion brand, what advice would you offer them?

For anyone interested in launching a fashion brand, my main advice would be; go for it and trust in yourself!

With that being said, it’s so important that you love what you are doing. If you don’t love your work, then you won’t have the energy that it takes to build a fashion brand from scratch. Building something from scratch takes so much motivation, dedication, and willpower – so it’s important that you live and breath for your brand. Personally, I’ve never worked harder than after starting my brand, but I’ve also never been happier. You need to trust in yourself and to stay true to yourself and your gut-feeling. And if you put your heart and soul into your brand, then you are a long way on the road to success. But it is also very important to not give up and instead of measuring success in the big milestones – try to see success in all small positive happenings along the way. And remember that it's all about the timing. Myself, I started to develop my designs years before launching my brand, but it took some time before I felt the timing was right to launch.

Talk us through an average day in your life…

Well first of all, I guess there is really no such thing as an “average” day in my life. Since I do most of the work with my brand myself, I kind of function as a “multipurpose-worker”.

At the moment I am also finishing my specialization within Stonesetting at Staatliche Zeichenakademie Hanau, in Germany – so I spend my time travelling between Germany and Norway. So, in order to talk you through an average day in my life, I have to talk about both of my everyday situations.

When I am in Germany, I wake up between 04.00 – 05.00 in the morning to get ready for the day. I like to have a slow start in the morning, so it’s important for me to wake up early in order to get in some self-care before leaving for school. After launching my brand I’ve become somewhat of a morning-bird, so waking up early is something I enjoy. When I wake up, I usually make myself a cup of coffee and start off with checking my emails and doing some work. I also like to organize and strategize my day each morning, so that I know what that needs to be done throughout the day. I believe that it’s also very important to eat a good meal and not to stress in the morning, so that you are prepared in the best way for what might come your way during the day.

At 07.00 I usually leave for school. I live in Frankfurt, so there is about a 30-minute commute to my school – which I use to debrief with my office. My school day usually lasts from 08.00 in the morning until 16.00 in the afternoon. I use my free time during the school day to work, but I also make sure to spend some time with friends as well.

My afternoons usually consist of work. It can be everything from social media work, photographing jewellery / editing pictures, designing new jewellery pieces, answering emails, meetings, arranging and organizing photoshoots / collaborations and so on. Doing so much of the work for my brand myself, means that my work tasks are very versatile. But then again, that is one of the things that I love about my work – it never gets boring!

The difficulty with having your own brand, or with being a designer in general – is that you are really never “off” work. For example, I always keep my cell phone or my notebook at arm’s reach, because you never know when you get inspiration for a new idea / design. I mean if I wake up during the night with a brand-new idea, it’s so crucial for me to write it down or to make a quick sketch so that I won’t forget it in the morning.

I tend to go to bed between 22.00 and 23.00 depending on day. The important thing is that I try to get about 6 Hours of good sleep so that I am well prepared for the next day.

When I am in Norway, my day starts a little later since I don’t have to work before going to school. I tend to wake up around 06.00 in the morning and make myself a cup of coffee before getting ready for work. The main thing for me, is being able to have a slow morning in order to be well prepared for the day. Having some time in the morning, relaxes my entire being, and it is truly what that can “make or break” my day. There is basically nothing I hate more than having to rush in the morning. Before heading off to work I make sure to eat a healthy meal to keep me energized for the long day ahead.

My workday usually starts at 08.00 o’clock in the morning. A typical day at work can consist of so many different tasks. I love to be “hands on” when it comes to my business, so when I am at the office I also help out with the orders, and the after-sales service. My typical tasks also include meetings (client meetings, staff meetings etc.), photographing jewellery, designing new items, arranging collaborations and / or photoshoots, photo editing, answering emails. I basically do all the things that need to be done that day – so it’s highly important for me to strategize and organize my day each morning.

A typical workday for me can last until 19.00 – 21.00, depending on how much work that needs to be done. Both when I am in Germany and in Norway I tend to work extra hard during the week so that I can take some time off during the weekend. If I put in a few more hours each day during the week, I can allow myself to take more time off during the weekend. Weekends for me are sacred – they are so important when it comes to recharging your “batteries” and to stay motivated & inspired. Therefore, I make sure to spend the weekends with the people I love and to do something nice for myself.

Every day I try to put in some hours for a self-care and a little “me-time” – whether it’s meeting friends or just relaxing at home before going to bed. The main thing is that everyday should start and end on a good note – in order to be able to do it all again the next day.

Over the past few years, I’ve become more of a workaholic. In all honesty, I live and breath for my work, and it’s one of the most important things in my life – except for my family of course. I grew up in a family with very good work-ethic, so I guess I have been influenced by them from a very young age. But it wasn’t until I made my brand, that I understood how important hard work is in order to succeed in something. And to be honest, hard work does pay off. It might take some time, and it can be discouraging at times – but if you don’t give up and keep on putting in the work, then eventually you will see results. For me, seeing all the small steps along the road to “success” is actually a reward in itself - and definitely the biggest motivational factor.

What do you do when you are lacking creativity?

When I am lacking creativity, it’s about doing all those small things to get back into that creative state of mind. One of the things I love to do when I am lacking creativity is to put on some good music, make myself a cup of coffee (preferably a Latte) and read a magazine. For me magazines are truly great sources of inspiration. As a designer it’s so important to be up-to date on the trends. The fashion industry is always evolving, so for me it’s of highly importance to stay updated on all trends. I love to combine trendy colours with more classic and timeless designs.

When it comes to getting rid of lack of creativity, it depends on what kind of day I am having, in order to find out what I might need to get back into a creative space. Some days all I need is a little “me-time” and other days I need social interaction, in order to find my inner creative state of mind.

But my go-to list when lacking creativity contains; taking a walk outside / enjoying the nature, meet up with friends, watch a movie or a series, go to a museum (preferably something involving Baroque or Rococo), visiting / exploring cities, reading a book or a magazine, draw or paint something, putting on a sheet-mask, doing some shopping or cooking a good meal from scratch.

In all honesty, for me getting into a creative state of mind, is all about clearing my mind. Getting rid of unnecessary thoughts and stress, and instead filling my mind with positive impressions. I feel like a positive state of mind is a good pre-condition in order of getting those creative juices flowing.

How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?

In my opinion, social media has been such an evident role in our success. Through social media we are able to reach more people and connect with our target group in a much more personal way. I believe that the bonding that we do with our followers on for example Instagram, has been such a crucial part of the growing of our brand.

We get a lot of messages, questions and pictures sent to us on our social media accounts and being able to read / answer these, has been so important to us. I run our social media accounts myself, so for me as a designer, it is such an important tool in getting to know my potential target group on a deeper level. Seeing how the final clients wear and style our jewellery pieces gives me so much inspiration and motivates me to keep doing what I love.

Through our work with different influencers, we are also able to connect with a whole other audience and target group.

What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”.

For me, seeing the small positive things in every situation is the key to keep me going. Like most people, I do also meet obstacles and challenges along the way, but when I do I try my best to spin it around so that the obstacle becomes an opportunity instead. It’s all about the mindset really. If you stop trying as soon as a challenge arises, then you won’t get any further. I try to always push myself to keep going, even when things get though. And for me personally, the small successes and accomplishments are the biggest motivational factors.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is on your must visit list?

One of my biggest interests is for sure travelling! I love being able to explore new places and to experience new cultures and traditions. It’s something that is so important for both me as a person and as a designer. I get so much inspiration from meeting new people and seeing new parts of the world. A lot of my jewellery pieces are actually inspired by my travels around the world.

When it comes to travelling, I prefer a mix between nostalgia and new adventures. I love to revisit places I went with my family growing up, but I also love to explore new territory.

If I had to pick one destination on my must visit list, I guess I would have to go with Miami. I just love the feeling of Miami – the mix between the vibrating pulse of the city along with the relaxing beaches on South Beach. Also, I just love that you can find so many different cultures in one place. From a designer’s point of view, I absolutely adore how colourful the city feels – it gives me so much inspiration! This also reflects in my jewellery – I love to work with vibrant colours, and to mix them with more classic designs.

My must visit list also include some of my favourite cities; Florence, Hamburg, and London. I have so many fond memories from my travels to these cities, and they have truly inspired me greatly in my work as a designer.

Next on my visit list is definitely; New York, LA, and to explore new parts of the UK.

What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care for me is all about taking a few minutes for myself. For me, it doesn’t really need to be an elaborate self-care routine, it’s enough with a few minutes where I get to unwind.For example, I love to put on a mask and watch a series or a movie, or to spend a girls-night with some of my closest girlfriends. Or it can be something as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning while I get ready for school or work.

Self-care to me is really just about the small pleasures in life. Running a business can be quite stressful, and it’s no secret that doing a specialization on the side increases the level of stress in the everyday-life – so the last couple of years I’ve really made an effort to try to do something nice for myself every single day. Self-care is really important for my inspiration – I need to be in a good place mentally to be able to make good designs.

Where do you see the brand in the next 5 years?

In 5 years, I hope to see that our brand has expanded to other countries outside of our market. We get a lot of inquiries from different countries around the world, but until now we have focused more on building / growing our brand in our main market. But we do see a huge response from other countries, so expanding our market is definitely something that I see happening in the near future. Other than that, I hope I get to continue with doing what I love and thrive for in life – and I am so excited to see where it takes us as a brand.

It's been such a wild ride since our launch, so if there is something that I have learned – it is that hard work pays off and to expect the unexpected!

Where can people find out more?

To find out more about our brand, you can visit our social media accounts or our website:

Instagram: @charlottestrommenjewellery

Facebook: Charlotte Strømmen Jewellery

Website: www.charlottestrommenjewellery.com

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.