An interview with Lily Charmed
This week we’re showcasing the work of Lily Charmed, run by cousins Lucy Lee and Marcus Pearce. Set up in 2011, Lily Charmed creates beautiful, original jewellery designed to be kept as treasured mementos of special relationships or occasions. We spoke to Lucy to find out a little more about them…
What inspired you to create Lily Charmed?
Many moons ago I was a TV producer for shows like Strictly Come Dancing, but was always interested in starting my own business and planned to do so once I had a family. My cousin Marcus ran his own very successful jewellery business so I offered to run an online shop for him. His pieces were mostly one-offs, so we quickly realised it didn’t suit an online business model. We decided to develop a range that would work online, and Lily Charmed was born. Marcus designs the jewellery; I handle the marketing and run the day-to-day business.
Describe your product range and what makes it unique
Marcus and I discuss the plans for the designs, and try to give each piece meaning, so that the charm can represent a celebration, sentiment or relationship. The meanings can often then influence the design process. We also take inspiration from friends, family and customers – they are more than happy to share with us what they would like to wear, or give, and we will often use these ideas as a starting point.
What is your best-selling range / product?
We have a few bestselling necklaces – the Freedom Feather Necklace (pictured above), Angel Wings Necklace (below) and The Tree of Life necklace. There doesn’t seem to be one that is the complete front-runner, they seem to travel in relay!
Where did you start your company and where do you work now?
I started the company in a little attic office, and that is where I sit today. I have made it more functional and have a great ‘packing’ station now which really helps speed things up. But otherwise it’s me, a laptop, a phone and a disruptive kitten.
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in running your business?
Our biggest challenge is juggling! Trying to keep on top of stock control, accounts, forward planning and so on – it’s like a chess game and you always have to think a few moves in advance.
Describe where you live / the style of your home
We’ve completely renovated our home from a stinky decrepit bungalow into a bright white Scandinavian-style cottage. It’s all oak floor boards and white walls. I love it! But we have now moved onto the garden and have a digger waiting to transform it for when summer decides to come.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of being a designer-maker?
I really love being my own boss, developing new ideas and being able to react to feedback. I love talking to customers and finding out the reasons behind their purchases; it really connects you to your business and makes you proud of what you do!
Do you have a good work/life balance?
Yes and no. I love spending time with my kids as they are hilarious, so being able to pick them up from school is brilliant. But it does mean I work most nights and at the weekends. I have a very supportive husband, but it means I spend less time with him than I would like. However if I still worked in television I wouldn’t see my kids or my husband at all so I would say I have the best work/life balance I can manage.
What’s on your notonthehighstreet.com wish list?
The Large Slate Top Garden Table by Slate Top Tables – once the garden is ready this would be a major centre piece.
What are your ambitions for your company in the future?
We are planning a range of sterling silver charm bracelets, all of which can be personalised. We are also planning a limited edition range of gold plated charms and necklaces (at the request of my gold-wearing friends!). I think we have to keep moving and developing our designs as customers are very sophisticated and know what they like, but don’t want to keep seeing the same products over and over. We shall keep designing and making as long as people are buying.
All this week, we’re offering 20% off a selection of Lily Charmed pieces. Click here to see the collection.