Interview with Susannah King, founder of Susannah King London
Find out how Susannah King launched Susannah King London after learning to create jewellery from her father and grandfather – and how she was thrown in the deep end at London Fashion Week.
What’s your career background?
I started learning to create jewellery when I was 19, but had no previous artistic experience. I learned from my father and grandfather in our family workshops in Twyford.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It happened swiftly. At no distinct moment did I think “Aha! I’ll start a business!” It was more of a gentle flow into the understanding that I’m a creative individual with a passion for making artistically fascinating jewellery.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
It was a natural step for me. After learning the trade from my family, I was asked to show at a private showroom at London Fashion Week following being talent-spotted on Instagram. This was the start of my personal journey independent of my family’s business.
I was 21 with NO branding, design DNA or knowledge of how to start a brand. I was the youngest and least experienced designer in that showroom, so decided to use that experience to gain knowledge and insight into how to become my own brand.
My designs and creations were well received at that event, so I decided to commit to building a business with branding, a design DNA and social media presence.
Who’s your target audience?
I suppose I attract people who celebrate their individuality. My jewellery is bold and eye-catching, but I don’t make it for a particular audience. The artistic ideas come to me, I make them and then the rightful owner finds the piece.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
I’m very active of Instagram and tiktok. I also have a lovely PR company. My greatest help has been word-of-mouth.
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
This may be too blunt to say, but I don’t strategise. I have led with my heart in every sense. I know you SHOULD have business strategies, but I’ve always found that I’m most successful at pivoting on the spot and changing direction without holding myself to a plan.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Lack of self-belief. It can be incredibly limiting when you don’t have faith in yourself. I think that putting your art out into the world makes you incredibly vulnerable. I’ve had people swoon over my work, and I’ve had people tell me they don’t like it. It’s hard not to let some comments about your artwork get to you, especially when it is as stylistically bold as mine is. None-the-less, self-belief comes in time! It’s just about having sustained faith in yourself.
And your proudest moment so far?
Coming this far. There have been so many obstacles in such a short space of time, but I have made it through all of them!
Why is work so important to you?
My creative passion is important to me because it enables me to continue a heritage trade whilst expressing myself artistically.
Who inspires you?
Its corny, but my father. He has the kindest heart and chooses love over logic every time.
How do you balance your work with your family?
Because they’re all business owners, they understand the monopoly that owning a business has over your life. We all respect each other’s space and needs and help each other when we can.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Try to adopt the attitude that you can do more and deal with more than you believe.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff…being persnickety will hold you back.
- Trust your gut: if something feels off, it probably is.
Find out more about Susannah King London.