The quirky duo on copyright infringement and hitting £1m turnover.
Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden, the founders of jewellery brand Tatty Devine, made their mark in the industry this year when then went up against high street giant Claire’s Accessories over copyright infringement of their designs. While some victories were won, the duo also brought the issue of design copyright to the fore, featuring on national TV and radio with their story. They were named Trailblazers in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and Pursuit.
Professional Jeweller: This has been a big year for the brand, which has grown phenomenally while facing its fair share of publicity. What have been the highlights of your year to date?
Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden: Our two month pop up at Selfridges [was a highlight], Rosie being asked to be a Titan [mentor] at Doug Richards School for Creative Start Ups, the high street scandal and consequently being on Radio 4, BBC News 24 Show me the Money and Watchdog. Last but not least breaking through the million pound turnover has been a significant milestone.
PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way? And if so how have you overcome them?
HV & RW: The high street copies was an enormous challenge as not only is it difficult emotionally when you feel a large corporation has helped themselves to your designs, but we had so many visitors to the website that it kept crashing and dealing with our customers frustration was very challenging. Our customers’ satisfaction and experience is a top priority for us. We overcame this by working incredibly hard as a team and with our lawyers to secure a successful outcome.
PJ: After you went on TV did you get a response from the industry or your customers?
HV & RW: Both really. In some respects we only went on TV because of the reaction from our customer. After we put our blog up about the copies we received 2,000 tweets over night, we trended in London and we also got around 200 comments on our blog -up until disabling it, as it did not want to be publishing libellous comments. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, people were 100% behind us and it felt like we had an army. After this reaction the media quickly picked up on it, and one thing led to another. We received calls from all the major publications that day. TV is so powerful, and as a result our customer base has grown significantly which is wonderful.
PJ: We imagine you’ve come up against such things before, why did you feel pushed to really highlight the issue now?
HV & RW: We have always highlighted this issue, but never had quite the same reaction before. We feel that it was brought to the forefront because there were so many designs copied including our Dinosaur necklace which is one of our most treasured pieces.
PJ: Do you hope that other designers will see what you have done and feel brave enough now to speak out about copycats?
HV: I hope that our experience can become a positive case study for other designers out there. No one should ever be allowed to help themselves to what is not theirs, and everyone has the right to stand up for what belongs to them.
PJ: How would you describe your working attitude?
HV & RW: We both approach work with a “can do” attitude – nothing is ever too big – we always find a way to make things happen. Tatty Devine has become such a big entity it demands hard work, determination and a lot of passion, which we supply it with at all times.
PJ: At the end of a long week, how do you get away from it all?
HV & RW: Well, work has a habit of dominating sometimes, but we love it. Harriet has a four year old daughter and spends her home time with her who she finds incredibly rewarding and fun. Rosie finds running a good way to offset the balance but other than that a lot of time is spent in art galleries, museums, cinemas and music venues.
PJ: After hitting the million pound turnover mark, what are your plans for your business for the next year?
HV & RW: For the coming year we have lots of exciting projects and pop ups in Paris, Taipei and New York. Our book is being published in New York in February and we want to build our US presence around that.