Making jewellery and accessories in 2020
Ever since we started Alice Made This, our aim has been to create precision jewellery for men and women with a story behind it. As we head into 2020, this seems more important than ever. In a world faced with a climate crisis and a growing rejection of fast fashion and disposable pieces, the desire for timeless and sustainable items that can be enjoyed for years to come has never felt more relevant. We all want things that are built to last, that have an ethical provenance and hold meaning. Our foundations are to be honest, local and responsible in all that we do. I caught up with Alice to bring in the New Year and discuss these values in a bit more detail.
“When we set up Alice Made This, Honesty was one of our overriding desires as a business. We are individuals that thrive on the relationships we have and we wanted this to continue across Alice Made This. Whether it is a team member, an engineer, artisan, retailer or customer we want to have an open and honest relationship. Ed and I run the business as a married couple. Working and living together means that we need to have honesty with each other to ensure a happy home and work life. Because of this it is second nature to have this as a value across everything we do.
Running our own jewellery and accessories business is amazing, but as anyone who has his or her own business knows, it can be relentless and incredibly tough at times. If any concerns are brushed under the carpet, rather than confronted, it always makes it more problematic in the long term. Honesty is essential to allow us to drive the business forward correctly and with a long-term vision. We do everything with integrity and if we make mistakes or fail along the way we make sure we learn and develop so that we see the benefit.
One particular area that Ed and I enjoy is having direct dialogue with our customers. We allocate time every week to do this whether it is regarding a bespoke wedding ring order or a pair of silver cufflinks bought simply to match a new shirt. It is really important for us to understand our business from a customer perspective and since we began Alice Made This we have always strived to build and offer an experience that we would desire and expect as customers. I hope that this comes through. As we grow we will keep this as a priority. We want to ensure that are customers are still the humans that we connect with rather than just some data or a number.”
From our initial design stages and manufacturing processes, to our website and our approach to customer service, we strive to offer you all an honest experience. We are open about our inspirations, the stories behind the making of our men’s accessories and women’s jewellery and are always on hand to answer any questions you may have.
By staying local and maintaining great relationships with our factories and our artists, we can be transparent about our code of conduct, the sources of our raw materials and the details behind your pieces. That means that when your new piece of Alice Made This jewellery arrives, you can be sure of exactly where it has come from and how it has been made.
We consider every element of our process to create timeless and beautifully simple products, with individual stories that mean something to you.
“Before we launched Alice Made This I had a 12 year career history working with factories across the globe. With a career in product design, I had the fortune of seeing a plethora of processes, materials and techniques in the worlds of home wares and engineering. It opened my eyes to the cultural variations in production methods and processes, from the very clinical to the very artisanal... almost science versus art. I loved it!
The smell and the bustling nature of a factory literally ignite my brain, both on the left and the right side. I thrive soaking up the incredible knowledge and skills found within factory walls by wonderful people who have honed their crafts over many years, whether it is shaping metals into silver jewellery or any working with any other material.
This stage in my career also opened my eyes to the crazy distances we travelled, to the margins we squeezed and negotiated, to the volume of things generated to drive business targets, and to speed of turnaround that society had come to demand. In Asia, in particular, I was party to the enormous rise and the evolution of the world’s manufacturing demands. Parallel to this, I delved in to the history of manufacturing, explored age-old processes and materials, read about the industrial revolutions of various cultures and decided that, with Alice Made This, we were going to be local!
I feel passionate about working locally. In a world that is using technology to drive its machine learning, I truly believe human hand skills will become a future proof differentiator. Paired with lateral thinking these hands will be the inventions, the craftsmanship and the experiments of our future.
At Alice Made This we seek out local processes and the skilled artisans and engineers that perform them to both inspire us and to highlight this. These are the kinds of skills that cannot be replicated by the machines, the ones that ensure there is individuality, expression and emotion placed into each product that we make. Our hand engravers who carve intricate designs into our men’s cufflinks and our patina artist experimenting with colour in particular follow these intentions and this year we continue to introduce some new stories and techniques which I am super excited to tell you more about when we are ready.”
We are proud to be surrounded by incredible talent and craftsmanship. From the beginning, Alice has translated her love of factories to our men’s and women’s jewellery pieces. The processes, the materials and most importantly the people.
Whether it’s a pair of our men’s cufflinks or one of our necklaces for women, we work with engineers, jewellers and artisans across Britain that we know personally to create our collections. We can be sure that they share the same values as us, so we are able to guarantee the quality and transparency of our processes.
We created Alice Made This to explore new techniques and to learn about new materials to create interesting jewellery and accessories for men and women. We immerse ourselves in different industries, whether that’s working with the team in our Aerospace factory that usually makes aeroplane parts or collaborating with Derek Bayley, our Patina artist based here in London.
Whichever process we use and whichever design we create, we search for local experts. Our teams have years of experience in honing their craft (with some even holding Royal Warrants) and are best in class. This allows us to build strong, honest relationships and results in high quality, long lasting jewellery and accessories for you to gift and enjoy.
“Responsibility is something that we do not take lightly. As a woman in business I come at this from a number of angles. We considered saying sustainability as a title value but we feel that this word is only part of the story. Responsibility includes sustainability, but also the corporate and the social responsibilities that come with running your own business. As a small business we do not have enormous budgets to throw at problems and solutions, but we do have the ability to act quickly and make impactful changes to our business methods without so much of the hoop jumping and the red tape.
We launched Alice Made This in 2012 and properly started building our business as a professional opportunity in 2014. At this point we were becoming very aware of the impact of materials, manufacturing and waste in the fashion industry. Conversations of environmental footprints, diversity, inclusion and good ways of working were prevalent and we were able to build a strategy to include these. To us (and to you all) these are now expectations rather than choices and in every decision we make these are the decision-making attributes. We have to consider the impact of everything we do on our world naturally, physically and mentally, and do the best job we can in answering to them all in a responsible and good way. This is our overriding intention everyday and as we grow.”
Being responsible in all that we do is our team’s number one priority. We take this very seriously, with our men and women’s jewellery intentionally designed to stay with you through life. We work with natural materials that can be recycled, from inside the walls of our studio all the way through to our packaging. We take pride in sourcing responsible materials, end to end throughout our journey and stand by the environmental three R's (reduce, reuse and recycle).
Alice Made This isn’t about mass production or throwaway fashion. It’s about celebrating craftsmanship, championing fascinating raw materials and sharing the wonderful stories behind our jewellery with you. Whether you are looking for a new wardrobe staple for yourself or personalised jewellery to gift to a loved one, you can wear our pieces for years ahead and incorporate their stories with your own. They’re made honestly, locally and responsibly to stay with you.
In addition to our main values of honest, local and responsible our men and women’s jewellery is also defined by other principles.
At Alice Made This, we have a passion for:
Engineering, machines and industrial history both excite and inspire us. We are always discovering, learning and developing. There is science and innovation behind everything we do, from a pair of our copper cufflinks to one of our statement necklaces for her. We appreciate every technical detail, subtle intricacy, high tolerance level and attention to detail.
Warm, tangible, honest and timeless. Materials are our soul, our colour palette and our refinery. Whether you are searching for a rose gold necklace, a pair of silver cufflinks or a solid gold wedding ring, we have a design in a metal to suit you.
The human touch. The processes that connect the industry with our products. The inspirations for our collections. Behind every element of Alice Made This, there is a story to be told. For example, the graphic profiles of our men’s cuff bracelets are inspired by the force of the sea on our British coastlines and the colours of our patina cufflinks and women’s necklaces draw on the palette of a magpie’s feathers. There is meaning behind all of our jewellery.
At Alice Made This, we are inspired by:
We are inspired by proportion, natural order, architectural and sculptural forms, both natural and man-made. From our cufflinks to our women’s rings, each piece of jewellery has been designed specifically to sit and fit comfortably, while creating precise silhouetters.
Primary shapes and geometric structures inform all our designs. We take inspiration from science, nature, mathematics and reason. We look at the world in terms of shape and precision. You can see this across our entire jewellery collection, from our cocktail rings to our lapel pins.
Strong, confident lines and graphic influences build a bold yet elegant approach across our 2D and 3D work. This has particularly informed our personalised jewellery collection, allowing you to engrave your own messages, initials and memories into our accessories, engraving your own lines.
We are inspired by the past, present and future. We consider the facts, the figures, history, culture and innovation. We are constantly exploring, researching and gathering knowledge. We love hearing about the history of our casting house, where many of our cufflinks and rings are made, or finding out more about the tradition of patina while creating our women’s necklaces.
The aesthetic of Alice Made This is:
Simple, paired back, uncomplicated and unfussy. Less is more. We strip things back to reveal the clean, clear and renewed. You can see this in all our designs, from our wedding rings to our lapel pins and brooches.
Developing the clean, simple and precise into something so exquisite that it becomes truly desirable. Our jewellery is designed to last for years to come.
We are considered, concise and selective. Everything has a purpose, everything fits together and everything can stand alone. For example, our women’s rings look as fantastic worn individually as they do stacked together.
Our brand is about the long term. We design for materials, product, and process. We are driven by taste not trends. We are time defying.
Thank you for reading our thoughts as we head into 2020! A new year and a new decade, a leap year, a new cycle to the Chinese calendar and an Olympic year. The last year has seen communities pull together to share, be heard and to support one another globally. The positive of the world’s current negatives are that ‘community’ is becoming ever more important. A community is essential to life and everything that surrounds it. So an enormous thank you to our Alice Made This community. We really wouldn’t be here without you all. Happy New Year.
If you have any questions about our men’s and women’s jewellery, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help. You can also follow us on Instagram @alicemadethis for a behind-the-scenes look at our pieces and processes.