Brighton is bustling with fresh new designers, innovative ideas and creative energies, so I jumped at the chance of interviewing Brighton local Claire Montgomery of Cat-a-Cake Creations. Fun, nostalgic and bright and colourful, Claire's jewellery collection reminds anyone who grew up on the Sussex coast of summers by the sea side and scoffing ice creams before the seagulls got them.
I hope you enjoy my interview below, I left some links at the end if you'd like to get your mits on a piece from the collection.
When did you first discover a passion for jewellery design and what made you want to start up your own business?
I've always had a passion for jewellery since a young age, I've always been fascinated by weird, wonderful, and stand out designs. It was only just over a year ago however that I started creating my own jewellery. After designing my greeting card ranges I decided some of the designs would work well as pieces of jewellery. So from there my exciting jewellery adventure began....
If you weren't a jewellery designer what would you be?
As well as being a designer I also organise a local craft fair called The Fairy Tale Fair, so I guess I would do that full time. I've also always had a dream one day to own my own cupcake and crafty shop so I could spend my days baking pretty cakes!
What is your signature style in jewellery design?
Cute and quirky! All my jewellery is hand designed and laser cut locally in Brighton, and they are all unique designs. Many of the designs feature animals and are inspired by fairy tales and my seaside surroundings. I have recently launched the Carousel collection, at High Street Fashion Week London, which is inspired by seaside childhood memories and features ice creams, carousel horses, doughnuts and more!
What are your thoughts on local fashion and how does living and working in Brighton reflect in your work?
Brighton has a great unique fashion scene which I think is very inspiring. People aren't afraid to be different in Brighton, and are keen to stand out in unique, one off items- which makes it great for creating quirky designs and also means lots of local designers and makers are supported, so its good lots of people shop at independent boutiques, such as those in the lanes, and at craft fairs where there are lots of wonderful handmade creations to be found!
My seaside surroundings really inspires my work, and is the inspiration behind the Carousel Collection as I mentioned above. I think the seaside for a lot of people evokes happy childhood summer holiday memories, and I think to associate my jewellery with those nostalgic feelings is what I aim to do. I love the retro seaside look, bringing back the days of when the British seaside was at the height of fashion.
If you could have any celebrity wearing your collection, who would it be?
I'd love to see celebrities such as Adele, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby or Little Mix wear my laser cut jewellery as I think it would really suit their styles.
Describe the Cat-a-Cake Creations Jewellery Girl in 3 words.
Cute, happy, quirky.
What advice can you give to those who might want to start a career in jewellery design?
It doesn't matter if you don't have previous experience in jewellery- as long as you have ideas and a passion to create it you can make it happen. Just start small with a few ideas and sketches, then refine, research, design and make. Once you get that far, try booking a stall at a couple of local craft fairs- these are great way to get feedback on your designs and give out business cards to those that are interested. Etsy is also a great way to get your designs to a wider audience!
You can connect with Cat-a-Cake Creations on Facebook and Twitter and their jewellery is available for purchase on Etsy.
All images are credited to Cat-a-Cake Creations.