On business growth and making jewellery to make people happy.
Linnéa Götstav is the designer and founder of the story-filled jewellery brand Renaissance Life. She has been creating jewellery for a number of years, winning retail stockists such as John Lewis and Fortnum & Mason. Last year the brand held a pop-up shop in Selfridges and entered the Russian and Danish 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 were the highlights of the year for Renaissance Life?
Linnéa Götstav: 2012 was a year full of surprises and amazing happenings. I am of course honoured that my company and brand Renaissance Life has been nominated to Hot 100, it is a positive sign, which is telling us that we are on the right track. Another professional highlight has been my meetings with Stephen Webster. He is a true inspiration, fantastic jewellery designer and a person that has achieved greatness.
PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way? And if so how have you overcome them?
LG: Yes, I have hit quite a few challenges along the way, I think all designers, artists and entrepreneurs do that. If not, you are not risking enough in my opinion. The only thing you can do when you face a challenge is to think positive, try to be calm and find solutions to the issues. It is a though world out there and unfortunately everything is not always as easy as you like it to be. You can never wait for something to come to you, you have to out and get it, whatever it is. I always think that if you work hard, are open minded and believe in what you do; you can overcome most encounters.
PJ: You’ve launched your first marketing campaign in 2012 – how has that helped the brand?
LG: The whole process of creating a campaign was very rewarding. First of all I had the opportunity to take the time off to reflect about what I wanted to achieve with the brand. I also have had the change to meet lots of stylists, journalists, and press and fashion bloggers and listened to what they had to say about the brand. The whole process has expanded my artistic expectations and made my mind freer. The marketing campaign has made the brand stronger and created a higher recognition.
PJ: You also hosted a pop-up space in Selfridges. How did this come about and how did you manage to catch the eye of the Selfridges buyer?
LG: They actually contacted us; I didn’t chase them. The first time we met was at London Fashion Week when we exhibited there. They came to our stand to look at the collection and they liked our design and styles and thought it was quirky and surprising. The exhibition in the pop-up shop in Selfridges has been a door opener and I couldn’t in my wildest dream think that they have so much power; people really look up to them and follow their example. Why Selfridges and many other department stores orders from us is because we fulfill their needs; we have a attractive collection that the end consumer buys, a fascinating concept, a quality higher than most high end brands, a good service and a genuine and sustainable brand. Today retailers don’t want to take risks, but the consumer is still after something unique, that’s why I think they like us.
PJ: How has your retailer network has grown this past year?
LG: Our retailer list has grown dramatically and we are very thankful and happy about that. Today we are available in around 120 stockists in 15 countries; the new markets for this year include Russia and Denmark. Earlier in 2012 we also began to collaborate with a forward-thinking retailer in Hong Kong that also is the main representative for Vivienne Westwood and has 12 stores in the capital.
PJ: You travel a lot in your job, hence your Hot 100 photograph at the airport. How do you cope with this?
LG: I love travelling, meeting new people and seeing different places and cultures, I believe that’s why I can cope with travelling as much as I do. I also feel I always learn so much when I am way on my trips. But sometimes it is of course exhausting. Currently I try not to be away more than 10 days in a row and when I come home I spend time with my family and close friends. There is Swedish quote by Astrid Ericson that always lifts me up if I am down. It goes: “The world is a book and he who stays at home reads only one page.”
PJ: Your work is very much led by stories – what kind of thing inspires you as a designer?
LG: My interest in design and jewellery has been with me since an early age and my grandmother was the one who introduced me to the world of jewellery and the mystery within. All of Renaissance Life’s jewellery is born out of a story inspired by my grandmother’s values and her stories about the past, present and the future. My vision is to make jewellery with the same magical touch as my grandmother’s jewellery, jewellery with feeling, jewellery that is able influence people and touch their soul.
PJ: Describe your working process when it comes to creating a new piece
LG: My designing process is very organic and the ideas comes to my naturally while living my life. Many of my creative vision usually come to me while dreaming at night. With the inspiration in mind I start creating the structure, the texture and shape. The first piece is usually made by hand in the studio and thereafter mounded and casted. As the pieces are handcrafted a piece of jewellery can take from around three hours up to around 20 hours. I have made some bespoke pieces that have taken over 300 hours.
PJ: How do you manage your work-life balance and how do you relax off the job?
LG: Even though I am hard working I am on the other hand quite laid back, this is something that I think helps me a lot. Nowadays I don’t get stressed easily. I always try to do my best, but after years as a designer and business owner you realise what your body and mind cope with. After a had days work, I love to go to the gym or run by the seaside, then when I am back in my flat I like to take a bubble bath and read a good book or watch a film with my boyfriend.
PJ: What are your plans for your business for the next year?
LG: When I am planning I always think about the quote “May the dreams of your past be the reality of your future”. For next year my dream is to spread my designs throughout the world and make people happy. I want my jewellery to have a positive impact on the life of the people wearing it; I want the jewellery to remind them of the importance in life. For next year I am planning to expand our charity work and focus to make it even more prosperous. Our collaborations with UNICEF and Save the children will be also be developed further. As always we are planning to launch two new exciting collections, including a new Fairtrade diamond collection. During 2013 we will also have a massive marketing and press campaign in the UK and Scandinavia and we will enter five new markets.