Marie Walshe only launched her brand, which is named after her daughter, in October last year, but it has already been shortlisted for the New Designer of the Year award, been chosen to exhibit at Goldsmiths’ Fair and become one of this year’s Hot 100.
“This kind of recognition, especially from the industry elite, goes a very long way in building the confidence of your brand,” says Marie. “For them to acknowledge your skill and craftsmanship and want to back your brand is incredible.”
Marie is a keen and proactive supporter of industry transparency, and sees Sorrel Bay as being a part of the movement towards ethical trading. “I believe we must tread lightly on this beautiful planet, and so I strive to use Fairtrade gold and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones. I want my brand to promote dignity and integrity, offering solutions for positive change, hope and education,” she explains.
Much of her sense of responsibility comes from a lifelong fascination with gemstones, gemmology, botany and archaeology, and she draws huge inspiration from the exhibits at the British Museum. “I could lose myself for hours in the Enlightenment Room, with its hoards that had been buried for hundreds of years; fossils and flints; and ancient adornments made by human hands long gone. The idea that my work will exist many years from now – perhaps handed down through generations or buried and one day discovered again – is just magical.”
With the interest of the press and bloggers piqued following the immediate success of Sorrel Bay, Marie can already feel the momentum building. “I am truly looking forward to taking the brand forward and discovering the new avenues ahead. It’s both exciting and terrifying!” she adds.