Bamboo Vera has only been going since September but it's accrued quite a following, and not surprising given the stunning pieces inspired by Naomi's love of all things nature. I caught up with Naomi to find out more about her passion for the exotic in miniature and an added bonus is that all the beautiful pieces are purse friendly. Read on to find out how you can treat yourself with an exclusive discount.
Tell me a bit about you and your background:
I was born in Taplow and lived in Maidenhead until I was three, then moved to Poole in Dorset. I pretty much grew up on the beach. Haven Point & Evening Hill in Sandbanks are still two of my favourite places. I adore the coast and spent hours shell hunting, always searching for the most exotic shell I could find. I think that’s where my fascination with nature began. I moved back to Maidenhead from London 8 years ago. By chance my fiancé, who I met in London, came from Maidenhead and now I live two roads away from where I lived as a small child.
What was your inspiration to become a jewellery designer, where did you train?
I was always intrigued by anything miniature, everything from doll houses and tiny figurines to miniature paintings. I was fascinated by the detail and craftsmanship involved creating anything so beautiful on such a small scale. The tutors at my Art Foundation course recognised this and suggested I tried jewellery design as one of my options and I loved it. From there I went onto Central St. Martins to study a BA(hons) Jewellery Degree.
The course was heavily focused on making rather than design and it became quickly apparent that I admired the skill & craftsmanship so much as I wasn’t a very capable maker myself. I spent most of my day rummaging around under my work bench looking for stones I’d dropped, or trying to repair pieces I’d over heated and melted with a blow torch! I’m definitely more of a designer!
Where does the name Bamboo Vera stem from?
It’s a mix of inspiration & influence from my family, friends & Far East travels ... I used to travel a lot to the Far East for work, mostly to China, India & Vietnam and returning from one trip I gave my niece, Paige, a soft velveteen Panda holding a stem of bamboo (she was about 10, now 23), we named her Bamboo Vera...But it’s also influenced by trips to India & seeing Bamboo used as supports for the construction of buildings. It’s incredibly strong but also undeniably beautiful and these half-built structures looked stunning, like suspended tropical forests or art installations. I found everything about India mesmerising. Vera is also my mum’s middle name and I’ve come to love it. I used to think it didn’t really suit her as it made me think of little old ladies and she’s certainly not that. So the name Vera reminds me, whoever you are…. you can be whatever you want, and as my mum is always so stylish, it’s taken on a lot her glamorous personality.
Where does the inspiration for the jewellery lines come from? All your jewellery lines have a botanical/creature theme, is this something special to you?
Near where I grew up in Poole there’s a Museum called the Russell Cotes. It’s on the cliff top overlooking the sea. It’s the most amazing building housing a Victorian couple’s remarkable collection. The first time I went I was speechless, I’d never seen anything like it... the rooms were lavishly decorated and filled with opulent textiles, treasures, paintings, and unusual sculptures... it was so exotic and magical, I wanted to move in! I think this kicked off my passion for botanicals & exotic creatures, and where the idea for the Bamboo Vera’s Menagerie probably started. Oh and of course I have to thank David Attenborough for his influence too... his documentaries have shaped so many passions, mine included.
What does the jewellery making process look like? How long to make a piece?
I start with drawings and then detailed specifications for manufacturing. I work with a small family run production studio. I’ve worked with Frank & Susie, the husband & wife bosses, for years, in fact it must be nearly 15 years. They are a dream to work with and over time we’ve built up our own language to describe different details, techniques and finishes. I love that no matter what challenge I set them they are always happy to give it a go, and you can’t ask for more than that. Also, they care about the quality and finish of the jewellery as much as I do, even developing a special premium plating for me that’s more durable and longer lasting.
Which is your favourite piece of jewellery?
At the moment it’s our Love Bird stud earrings... I wear them every day. I like that you can wear them so they follow the contour of the ear and sit discreetly along the curve, or if you swap them over you can wear the birds facing outwards and they look like they’ve just landed there and are peacefully perched for the day.
How would you describe your style of jewellery and the women who buy them?
My jewellery is influenced by fashion and the seasonal trends but not slavishly directed by them. It’s playful, collectible and easily wearable. Each BbV animal or botanical charm has its own individual character and special story description. I think our customers reflect this essence and are themselves charmingly individual, and each with their own story.
On our website we describe Bamboo Vera as below, and I think if any of this resonates, then Bamboo Vera is perfect for you...
She’s sugar and spice, and mostly nice : A tomboy in high heels : Mysterious and mischievous : Sassy & sultry : Brave and admired
What has been the highlight of your business so far?
We launched in September so it’s still quite new but the response from the customers has given me such enjoyment. I design for real people, I literally have certain friends or family in mind when I’m drawing up new ideas, like muses. So to have customers express their love for a certain style and why it means so much to them personally is amazing, and then coming back to order another style from the collection is the dream.
Bamboo Vera are giving Mums about Cookham readers 15% discount on all products until 29th February. To claim your discount add the code MAC15 when you checkout on www.bamboovera.com
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