The story of Posh Totty Designs is nothing short of inspiring — and what the company continues to do to date, both in terms of business and charity work, is impressive too.
On a trip to Mexico in her early 20’s, Alice Rivers-Cripps sought work with a group of local Mayan jewellers. It was here she learnt the very basics of jewellery making, a taster that would plant the seed for her future career path.
Through years of making in the evenings alongside a job as a shop assistant, Rivers-Cripps pioneered her very own signature method of personalising. At the time, personalised items were largely unknown and were met with some scepticism.
Thankfully, Rivers-Cripps didn’t need a magic ball to tell her personalisation would one day become the hottest trend and she started to sell her wares in the store she worked in and slowly generated enough money to take on a lease in the smallest shop in Brighton.
“With dreams of scaling my business, I endured countless rejections from grant boards and funding panels,” the founder of Posh Totty Designs shares. “Finally however, I managed to negotiate a deal with the organisers of a London jewellery show, to let me have the smallest stand they could offer. I managed to secure a few wholesale accounts and was invited to join the then very new site, Notonthehighstreet.com.
“Sales from the new outlets enabled me to invest in my own existing website, and it was at this point I recruited my very first member of staff to help me with jewellery making in the small shop. 16 years later, Posh Totty Designs now run one of the biggest jewellery workshops in the South.”
Posh Totty Designs now operates two shops in Brighton and London, as well as a department store concession model in Wimbledon (with three more opening this year). The company also sells via its own website, as well as 10 other UK and International market places, with PTD products being top sellers on two of these.
“Revenue has been up consistently year-on-year and I pride myself on still having 100% share of my company,” says Rivers-Cripps. “I still very much rely on my gut and reliable data to make my decisions.”
Success for the Posh Totty Designs founder is having items still handmade in Brighton and being able to scale up the business without compromising on its values.
Company values include giving back, with Rivers-Cripps believing all successful businesses should have a social responsibility to give something back. To date the company has generated over £30,000 for the three charities it sponsors, including Women for Women International.
“We work closely with Women for Women International and I was lucky enough to go on one of their trips to Kosovo to meet some amazing women first hand, who had been affected by war and brutality. It was very emotional but an incredible experience and we created the ‘Share a hug’ range from the experience raising money for them and women all over the world, just like them.”
Describing the business as her “third baby”, Rivers-Cripps understands first-hand the challenges working mums face and does all she can to support her staff during parenthood and other significant milestones in their lives.
Rivers-Cripps explains: “I do what I can to support my whole team whether male or female. For example, we understand that at some point most of the team are going to want to take some time off to have kids. Currently I have two managers pregnant, two just back this week and a few on maternity leave. It’s important we support them and let the business work around them.
“Flexi working is one way that we can support the team whether its parenthood or something they just want to do for themselves. I will always try and help fit these needs into their work life. It’s important to have a work life balance and it may be something as simple as fitting in a tennis lesson each week.”
Rivers-Cripps would call her mum the most inspirational person she knows. From an early age, she encouraged the entrepreneur to be true to her character and channel her creativity. This no doubt helped Posh Totty Designs come to life.
“My mum is my number one inspiration as she was a single parent mother who made me feel that anything was possible, that I could achieve it all, even though it wasn’t always like that for her. She had it much harder than me but always puts a positive spin on everything and she still knows how to make even the most tedious tasks fun. Her mantra is ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’, which is something I always try to live by.”