Q&A: Rosanne Karmes, Sydney Evan

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The US diamond jeweller planning to push her playful jewels in the UK.

Rosanne Karmes is the designer behind Sydney Evan, a whimsical diamond jewellery brand looking to make its mark in the UK. She speaks exclusively with Professional Jeweller about her route into jewellery, winning celebrity fans and her plans for the UK.

Professional Jeweller: How was Sydney Evan born – were you always interested in jewellery design?
Rosanne Karmes: I’ve been into jewellery since I can remember. I started stringing beads on necklaces as early as eight years old. I have no idea what attracted me to it. I started working in fine jewellery manufacturing and wholesaling at 17, doing every job from sales to all aspects of manufacturing. Then after eight years left and had a very successful showroom representing fashion accessories designers for 17 years and realized I was helping design for each and everyone I represented and the designs ended being their best sellers . I then realised there was a need for fashion fine jewellery and knowing much more than the average bear, started Sydney Evan.

PJ: How would you describe your style of jewellery?
RK: Classic with an edgy and whimsical twist often with a sense of humour on certain designs.

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PJ: You have a strong celebrity following in the US – has this helped boost awareness and sales of the brand?
RK: Honestly, not as much as being carried by the most amazing stores all over the world. I’m so blessed to have their support as well as that of international celebrities such as Rihanna, Kate Hudson and Gwen Stefani to name a few which of course, has contributed to raising awareness of my designs.

PJ: You’re now set to enter the UK market; what are your plans in terms of number of doors you want to reach, and what kind of retailers are you reaching out to?
RK: The same kind of distribution I have in the US, a mix of the best department stores, fine jewellery stores and high-end fashion boutiques. It’s really important to me that we nurture long-lasting relationships with our customers and so we research each market thoroughly so each retailer has been hand selected at our end so there will not be a conflict with any existing stores that carry our line in terms of location, etcetera.

PJ: Will you be taking part in trade shows in the UK or Europe, or targeting buying groups to reach key jewellery retailers?
RK: We do Tranoi in Paris.

PJ: Are you also set to enter other European markets and if so, which?
RK: We are already in others [Colette in Paris, for example] and will continue to grow into any that have the right fit for Sydney Evan.

PJ: Of your collections, which design is your favourite, or which is your favourite piece of jewellery you have made?
RK: I don’t have a favourite. I have favourites: My coral bracelet with diamond and ruby Chamsa, the 20mm mammoth bracelet with larger diamond insert. I love [the mammoth bracelet] in every way I do it, all size discs in every colour. I can go on forever. [laughs]

PJ: Are there any brands in the jewellery world that you look up to?
RK: Cartier.
 

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