[8 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday everyone! After a pretty grey week in London, we have found ourselves looking for ways to inject a little colour back into our lives.
Thankfully, we had the opportunity to chat with Nikki Gewirtz this week, the founder of Lola Rose. You may recognise Lola Rose as a jewellery brand that champions semi-precious stones, but Lola Rose now stocks lifestyle and beauty tools too.
Good morning Nikki! Welcome to CAROLINAGMX! Could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel it has influenced you today?
Thank you! My family – and especially my grandma, whom Lola Rose is named after – were my inspiration as I was growing up and undoubtedly that has led me to where I am today. They instilled in me the faith that anything is possible.
My grandma was an incredibly stylish and glamorous woman whom I absolutely adored. As I started designing my own pieces I was reminded of her, so it made sense to set her in the heart of the brand. To this day, every time I design I feel grandma Lola with me, inspiring each piece I create.
That is so heart-warming. So, how did you actually get into the jewellery industry?
I was inspired by a birthday gift from a close friend, as well as frustrated by the lack of affordable yet luxurious jewellery and, finally, unfulfilled in my career as a PA. I decided it was time to create my own version of what I knew women wanted because I wanted it too. Three months after my birthday I created my first piece, an organic tumble bracelet, crafted out of the finest semi-precious stones to make the wearer feel connected to something important: mother nature. The Alfie bracelet embodies everything I want my brand to be and it became the foundation of Lola Rose.
How inspiring! So was the timing important?
I started Lola Rose just after my 30th birthday, and last year we celebrated Lola Rose’s 20th anniversary. This was a huge milestone for us, and one that we could not have reached without our fabulous, loyal community who have really become like an extended family to me. When I designed my first piece of jewellery, I was selfishly designing jewellery that I wanted in my personal collection, but as Lola Rose has grown, so have I. From a single girl living and trying to find love in the heart of London to becoming a wife, a mother and a successful business owner, I have evolved alongside the brand. The community I have found along the way has always shaped the way Lola Rose has grown and I am proud of the achievements of the brand I have built.
I can imagine! Moving onto the nitty-gritty stuff, does Lola Rose consider issues relating to sensitive skin and allergies?
Working predominantly with semi-precious stones, skin allergies are rarely an issue for our wearers. In fact, some look to the stones for their healing properties. Our recently launched ‘Precious Beauty’ range harnesses the power of the stones and uses them to relax and rejuvenate tired skin. I store my own Goddess Roller in the fridge and use it every morning – it’s become part of my everyday beauty ritual!
That is great to hear. The ‘Precious Beauty’ rollers are so gorgeous! Do you think people are more conscious of the materials in their jewellery and products nowadays?
Absolutely! From my experience, people are more conscious of the materials in their entire wardrobe. Customers are looking for something that will last the test of time rather than be worn once and discarded. I do not follow trends or fads, I want to create timeless jewellery with meaning and a purpose; pieces that will stay in my collector’s jewellery wardrobes for years and years to come.
As a consumer, that is definitely the way I am thinking too! What were your biggest challenges in starting up Lola Rose?
As with any business these days, I think keeping up with the ever-changing retail landscape is one of the biggest challenges. Twenty years ago when I founded Lola Rose, it was all about bricks-and-mortar stockists and we were incredibly lucky to have some of our first collections stocked in prestigious spots such as Fenwick’s on Bond Street and Liberty of London.
Nowadays, the digital world plays a huge part in my business. The Lola Rose customer is ever-changing, which means I am ever-learning. It is up to me to be one step ahead, ensuring we are delivering something new and exciting: from content on our website and beautiful campaign imagery to our social media and beyond.
I couldn’t agree more. Digital avenues create a lot of opportunities but equally, a lot of work! What strategies do you think have been key to the success of Lola Rose?
I think my key strategy has always been perseverance. Great things and success do not just fall in your lap, you have to go out there and make them happen. Lola Rose was my first baby and I am as committed to my vision for the brand today as I was 20 years ago. I keep my finger on the pulse of every facet of my business so I can be agile and informed when making major decisions, but equally, building a strong, reliable and solid team around me ensures - whether I am travelling the world sourcing stones or in the studio filming - I have the right people looking after Lola Rose.
That is such a crucial part of a business. And what is your favourite thing about your job in Lola Rose?
There are so many parts of my job that I love, but at the end of the day, my true passion remains in design. Seeing something from an idea to reality still gives me the same spark of excitement that it did 20 years ago. I count myself incredibly lucky to have that much job satisfaction.
That is so lovely to hear! What is your favourite piece of Lola Rose jewellery that you’ve ever created?
I am sure many women will understand when I say I am rather fickle when it comes to choosing my favourite design. A lot of the time my favourite piece is dictated by my mood or what brand new designs have just arrived at the office. However, there are always two pieces that spring to mind, both due to their sentimental value. Firstly, the NHS Charities Together Hope bracelet, created in memory of my father who sadly lost his life to Covid-19, and the second is my LOVED diamond bunting necklace, now iconic in my collection. The words are a daily reminder or affirmation to LOVE and that I am LOVED.
Wow, what moving messages behind both pieces! What do you think makes Lola Rose stand out from other brands?
Our use of colourful semi-precious stones has always carved a unique gap in the marketplace for Lola Rose. We have access to over 1000 different variations of stones and - whilst other brands have used a smaller proportion of the semi-precious gemstone world as creative highlights to their designs - I have always started and centred my process around the stones themselves. We celebrate their natural beauty, their individuality and allow them the best setting to reveal their special qualities.
"I lost my dear dad to Covid-19 back in April 2020. In his honour, I created the Hope bracelet in an array of beautiful rainbow colours, which is my way of saying thank you to the NHS for all they are doing during this terrible time."
I certainly agree! There is a brightness and unique quality about these stones and your use of them. Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment with Lola Rose?
There have been many: from seeing the Duchess of Cambridge wearing one of our designs (a gift from Prince William), to being spotted on the ultimate fashion superstar, Sarah Jessica Parker.
Appearing at London Fashion Week multiple times will always remain a career highlight, and to be honest, every time I see Lola Rose featured in the press it still feels like a ‘wow’ moment.
Of course, being awarded an MBE from services to the jewellery industry will always be both a career and life highlight!
Oh my gosh! Those are amazing. I just love SJP! What inspires you?
I see inspiration all around me when it comes to my designs, from architecture to vintage markets, to the colours in nature. When an idea for a necklace or bracelet strikes me, I still get ridiculously excited and that excitement does not tarnish until the sample arrives on my desk.
I am still inspired heavily by my family, my two young sons and my parents in particular. I lost my dear dad to Covid-19 back in April 2020. In his honour, I created the Hope bracelet in an array of beautiful rainbow colours, which is my way of saying thank you to the NHS for all they are doing during this terrible time. All profits from the sale of the bracelet are donated to NHS Charities Together and so far we have raised over £20,000.
What a wonderful sentiment, and an important cause! Could you describe what an average day looks like?
An average day? I haven’t had one of those for years! However, over the years I have learnt to approach every day with flexibility and patience; things don’t always go to plan (especially with two young children) but setting myself achievable goals every morning and celebrating the success of the day every evening keeps me positive and motivated.
That sounds very healthy. Would you say you have a work/life balance?
Some days I think I have it down and then the next day everything unravels… The balance I have been able to achieve may not be the perfect work/ life balance, but it’s a balance of kindness and understanding. I have learnt to be kind to myself on days where I feel I may have dropped the ball at home or at work. I have also developed an understanding that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. As long as we are trying our best and learning every day, we cannot ask for anymore.
Absolutely! And what words do you live by?
“Celebrate your individuality” has been my motto and mantra since creating Lola Rose. In the same way that the semi-precious stones I utilise within each of my designs are one of a kind, so are we as individuals. That is why I created Lola Rose and why I am so passionate about each and every piece of jewellery in my collection.
I love that! Honestly, that is what I think people want from their jewellery. Finally, what is coming up for Lola Rose?
The sky really is the limit! 2020 saw us launch a collaboration with Cyberjammies, a charity bracelet supporting the NHS, our 'Precious Beauty' range of beauty tools and another collaboration with the wonderful Prue Leith, as well as two beautiful collections... and that was during a global pandemic! Watch this space to see what 2021 has in store for Lola Rose!
Like what you read? Head to the Lola Rose website to shop now!
If you fancy checking out some of our previous interviews, you can find them here. Want more from CAROLINAGMX? Check this out: 3 Lockdown Essentials To Add To Your Skincare Routine