Q&A: Imogen Belfield

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The British designer on growth, awards and the Goldsmiths’ Centre.

Imogen Belfield is a leading young British jeweller crossing the boundary between jewellery and fashion with her statement, organic designs. This year she won the Kickstart award in collaboration with Stylesight at IJL, was part of the Rock Vault Dozen at London Fashion Week working in palladium, and now has her sights on key overseas markets. She was named a NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and IJL.

Professional Jeweller: What have been your highlights of the past year as a jeweller?
Imogen Belfield: This year has opened up so many new opportunities and the business is growing at a rapid rate. I’ve had some fantastic press with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, as well as an increasing celebrity following for our jewellery. Winning KickStart [Stylesight award] at IJL has been the perfect progression for my business, having been awarded the Bright Yong Gem award in 2011 by Hilary Alexander. Most recently I was part of the British Fashion Council initiative, the Rock Vault Dozen for September’s London Fashion Week, which was sponsored by the International Palladium Board [the participants had to make a piece of jewellery in palladium] and curated by Stephen Webster.

PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way? And if so how have you overcome them?
IB: As a new business working as a sole trader, it is always a challenge to be able to manage the work load in all the varying strands that enable a business to operate successfully – whether it’s fulfilling orders, admin work, or marketing and promotion. One of the first decisions I made when starting my business was to invest in PR and marketing. I have worked with the same fantastic PR team since the start, and the result of this partnership has been phenomenal.

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PJ: You made a move into the Goldsmiths’ Centre this year as one of its first residents. What was the motivation behind the move and what it has it brought to your business?
IB: Moving into my new studio at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in July of this year has taken my business to the next stages of growth. I now have a team of interns working with me, as well as establishing business relationships with my stone setters, casters and gold platers who are situated just around the corner, in Hatton Garden.

PJ: How would you describe the style of your work?
IB: Sculptural, evolving and inspired by all things rocky, architectural and organic.

PJ: When the weekend rolls around, how do relax off the job?
IB: It is very important to have a balance, and I have learnt now how to manage my time to allow this to happen. I now ensure I have my weekends off wherever possible, which never used to happen. In turn, this does mean working like a maniac during the week to get the work done. I spend my time relaxing with friends, enjoying London, food sampling at Broadway Market, and unwinding on Primrose Hill when the sun is been shining.

PJ: What are your plans for your business for the next year?
IB: To establish my businesses roots on an international scale. We launched with the iconic Italian store Luisa Via Roma in Spring of this year which has been an incredibly exciting development for us. We also have stockists in Hong Kong, Georgia and Dubai. We look to strengthening these relationships with our current clients, as well as seeking growth in new countries.

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