It was at her kitchen table in 1998 that Harriet Kelsall established her jewellery business. That same table is now in the conservatory of her country home, covered in seedlings – shoots of new growth that seem somehow emblematic for this ever-blossoming business.
A continuous stream of fresh ideas has ensured that Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery not only stays ahead in design terms, but also actively follows its founding principle of building responsibility into every aspect of the business.
“I feel like 2016 is the year that trail-blazing aspiration has really gained momentum. For example, more customers than ever before have opted for Fairtrade gold to be used in their engagement and wedding rings, which further increases our focus on being a responsible business,” says Harriet, who has recently become vice chair of the NAJ and non-executive director of the RJC and British Hallmarking Council.
But this central concept of ethical practice extends much further than jewellery design – it is also applied to the workplace. “Earlier this year I invited six employees to come together to create a wellbeing committee, and the way they’ve taken up the challenge has made me incredibly proud.
As a result of their work, we have given our team members the opportunity to spend two half-days each year giving back to the community. We have regular healthy eating days, take part in sponsored events, run a Fairtrade coffee morning and have launched yoga classes at the local village hall,” Harriet explains.
This resolve to ‘do things the right way’ was further validated by a recent health scare that led to emergency open heart surgery, and reminded Harriet of what matters in life. She has since designed a necklace for Chain of Hope to raise money for life-saving cardiac care for children around the world.
“Having children inevitably makes you think about the future and what it holds for them. I want them to feel like I’ve done everything I can to leave the planet in the best possible shape for them and their generation to take over,” she adds.