Designer creates bespoke designs with a rush of trade orders.
Kleshna, the brainchild of designer Kleshna Handel, has become one of the most talked-about jewellery brands this weekend with the stars of the X Factor adorned with her hand-made bejewelled poppies.
Handel met with the X Factor stars’ stylists to create bespoke poppies for each of this year’s contestants, raising awareness for the Royal British Legion.
During this weekend’s X Factor shows, contestant Kitty Brucknell wore a supersized sparkling crystal poppy, while judge Tulisa Contostavlos wore one of Kleshna’s poppy hairslides.
Speaking to Professional Jeweller this morning, Handel said: “I’m thrilled to say the poppies worn on the X Factor were my designs. I met with their stylists and have been working round the clock to get them made in time for the week before Armistice day.”
Handel has also created a poppy for former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, who will turn on the Regent Street Christmas lights in London tomorrow wearing her design.
“I have been making poppies for the last three years, with proceeds going to the Royal British Legion,” said Handel.
“I can’t underestimate the huge amount of time we spend making them each year and have to say that while we have our wonderful retail supporters who buy our poppy collections each year, exposure such as that on the X Factor certainly accelerated awareness.”
The brand showcased its 2011 poppy collection at trade shows this year and while a number of its retailers placed orders, the uptake was not as substantial as Handel had hoped. “People are suddenly realising the potential of the poppy but I would have adored if retailers had had faith and placed orders nice and early.”
At present, Kleshna has sold out of a number of designs, with waiting times for online orders listed at 6-8 weeks on the brand’s website.
Handel says she has been inundated with calls from retailers now looking to stock the poppy collection. The enamelling and stone setting is done by hand by a small team that includes Handel herself, which adds to not only the quality but also the current wait times of the pieces.
“If anyone wants to place an order of course we will fulfil it – we sell our poppies all year round," she explained. "In July for example we sent a newsletter out to our customers with the poppies in it and had orders for 50 in two hours alone.”
Handel’s creations were challenged by London’s Biggest Conversation (LBC) radio host Nick Ferrari this morning, with Ferrari suggesting that she was cashing in with her creations. Both a friend of the designer and Handel herself called in to the show to explain to Ferarri that proceeds from the sale of her pieces go to the British Legion.