Updated: Dec 20, 2020
We sat down with Spring Gowling and chatted about how Magpiette came about, something she's learned about the industry during Covid, and her approach to slow and sustainable fashion.
When did Magpiette come about?
Magpiette just celebrated its first birthday since it launched in October 2019, after taking about six months to set up the brand. I began Magpiette after I had trouble finding the right piece of jewellery for a birthday present for a friend, so our essence lies with making it easier for people to find and buy the perfect piece, specifically from independent jewellery designers. The store’s first year has been fantastic in terms of the customers and amazing jewellery designers we’ve been privileged to work with, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next.
What is the main purpose of the brand?
To showcase the best of independent jewellery design and craftsmanship, in thoughtfully curated collections which are centred around minimalist, geometric or organic jewellery style types. You won’t find them on the high street. We also aim to spark creativity and spread the joy of jewellery making further through our DIY ring carving kits.
What are some of the biggest challenges of owning your own business?
Having to stretch myself to play all roles at once, alongside a day job. That includes everything from marketing to shipping out products, creating and updating the website, liaising with suppliers, and learning how to do bookkeeping and use accounting software. But, that’s also part of the fun as you get to learn so many new things.
What is something you've learned about the retail/fashion industry during Covid–19?
I’ve learnt that it’s important for retail and fashion businesses to listen to their customers and respond to the environment as quickly as they can. There are some great examples of fashion retailers doing this by launching loungewear and masks.
For us, we were lucky that Magpiette was always an online store, but it was hard to sell jewellery at a time where there was so much uncertainty and people weren’t leaving the house or even wearing their jewellery. That’s when we decided to pivot to launch a new product, to enable customers to make their own silver rings at home – simple enough for anyone to try whilst in lockdown, but also offering endless possibilities in terms of creativity and design. It’s been really well received and our customers have enjoyed creating a little memento of these weird times!
Who are some of the designers and makers you've partnered with?
We’ve partnered with mostly Australian designers such as Gabriella Luchini, who makes opulent, renaissance-inspired jewellery; Rachael Grigulis, whose geometric designs are incredibly unique and edgy; and Abby Seymour, who takes her inspiration from the Australian landscape. We have also partnered with a few designers and makers from other countries. It’s wonderful to be able to share the incredible nature-inspired jewellery from renowned Alex Monroe in the UK with our customers in Australia.
What are some of your personal fave pieces?
• The baby blue whale and baby bumblebee necklaces by Alex Monroe
• Simple totem necklace by L Greenwalt Jewelry
• Solid gold hexagon hoops by Abby Seymour
• Solid gold opal ring by Minima Jewellery
Who and/or what inspires you?
The ocean and nature in general really inspires me – there’s something so miraculous in the designs that nature has created.
What is Magpiette’s approach to slow and sustainable fashion and why is it more important now than ever thanks to Covid?
Magpiette is 100% about slow and sustainable fashion. The quality, uniqueness and craftsmanship that you get with a handmade piece of jewellery as opposed to something mass produced is incomparable. All our designers produce their jewellery as sustainably as possible including using recycled materials, sustainable packaging and traditional methods. Covid has also reminded us of the importance of supporting small businesses which rely more than ever on customers to prioritise slow fashion, in order for them to survive.
Any plans for the brand?
We have a couple of exciting new releases coming up before Christmas including a new designer! Following the success of our DIY Ring Carving Kit, we’re also soon launching a Necklace Carving Kit where you can create your own pendant design from a disc of wax and we cast it into silver. Watch this space!
If Magpiette was a ____ it would be a _____:
A flower: An orchid, because it’s rare and beautiful and used to be difficult to find. A TV show: The Queen's Gambit - because at its essence it's about a woman pursuing her dreams and about people with a passion for what they do. Plus, the outfit choices are on point. An iconic woman: Nigella Lawson, because she’s passionate about what she does, brings creativity into people’s lives, and isn’t afraid to be playful and seductive. A colour: Duck-egg blue: calm, sophisticated with timeless appeal. A dessert: A lemon tart, because it’s chic, zingy, and it takes a lot of skill to make, just like the jewellery in our collections. A song: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by the Queen of Soul, Aretha. A true anthem for empowerment and self-love, which most of us could do with a little more of. A cocktail: A mojito: refreshing yet classic, and always feels like a treat.