Which part of London speaks to you the most?
Chelsea is my stomping ground. I work from my studio, have my boutique store here and live just around the corner – and it’s a lovely 10-minute walking commute to the ‘office’. Chelsea epitomises British traditions and history but spots such as Pavilion Road are constantly being redeveloped (there’s a fantastic cheese and wine shop there if you happen to be in the area). But behind the landmarks you know and love, it’s a small and friendly place and being here feels as though you are living in a village – and that’s a rare thing in a big city. Chelsea is packed with lovely hidden spots that you have to know about to find.
Why is being British such an important part of Annoushka’s identity?
While the global market is an important part of the business, I think Britishness has subconsciously always been a part of the brand. In addition to our boutiques, landmark London department stores were instrumental when we started out. They gave us their full support and, as a fledgling brand, that was important for consumers to have confidence in us. Our Britishness is translated in the irreverence of not taking ourselves too seriously. It’s been 10 years since I founded Annoushka and our mission was to take the reverence out of jewellery – it feels like we have achieved that.
How has the jewellery industry changed?
When Annoushka started a decade ago, there were ‘rules’. Everyone knew you could only wear a big rock with a ball gown, you couldn’t pair pink sapphires with orange because it ‘clashed’ – you couldn’t even pair white with yellow gold. I want the women who wear Annoushka to set their own rules. My Crown Rings are designed to be mixed and matched however you want them – pair yellow gold with white, and why not throw in some rose gold for good measure? And, most importantly, wear your pieces with whatever you fancy, including your jeans.
Why do you think this shift happened?
First and foremost, women are now buying jewellery for themselves, rather than waiting to be gifted or inherit pieces that perhaps won’t suit their personalities. Currently, 80 per cent of our sales are to women buying their own jewellery – and it’s women from China and the Middle East who are really driving that trend as they are now able to, and feel entitled to, invest in something purely for themselves.
Are there any other parts of the world you have a soft spot for?
I lived in Hong Kong for three years and met my husband there. It’s such a busy city. I always felt like it was a beehive of activity with creativity buzzing behind every door. I had a Links of London store there and now have an Annoushka in the city’s Mandarin Oriental.
Tell us what inspired you for your Hidden Reef collection?
While I love the wildness of the UK coastline, I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time in the Philippines. The last time I was holidaying there, I was snorkelling and marvelling at all the textures beneath the waves. It’s a hidden world and I found that so exciting. The Hidden Reef collection is all about celebrating texture and the unexpected things in life that you wouldn’t know are there unless you look for them – a lot of my pieces, such as the Globe Pendant, have a tactile element. And, of course, this reef-inspired collection is a reminder to us all that our oceans need to be protected and preserved for the future.