Natasha Sherling is making a name for herself as a jewellery designer to watch out for. She learned her trade in New York and unusually for the gemology business is the first person in her family to get involved in this business.
Ireland has a long and proud tradition of metalwork and goldsmithing, it’s in our blood. Ireland has a thriving and vibrant crafts industry that is renowned across the world, from Donegal Tweed and high fashion to pottery making and jewellery. A little known fact about the jewellery industry is that internationally, some of the biggest jewellery brands in the world have Irish makers producing core collections.
Where did your interest in jewellery come from?
I always loved art, even as a child. I think jewellery is just an extension of that. I've always been very creative - but my mind is also drawn to the anthropological aspect of jewellery - what people wear, and why, and I think that feeds into my interest, in terms of what I create, and how I do it.
How hard was it to break in to this family dominated industry?
My pieces focus on beauty and originality of design, impeccable craftsmanship, and above all else, quality of the gemstones - and clients have responded very favourably to that, especially because those things aren't always available all together, even at generations-old businesses. The challenge was drowning out the noise of those who liked to shout about their families, and acknowledging that just because you're third, fourth generation, doesn't make you good. You might have that moniker to get people in the door, but you still have to prove yourself once they arrive. So I just focused on what I was doing, worked hard on my collections, and luckily, my work speaks for itself in encouraging clients to give me a call.
Biggest challenge to date?
Christmas 2013 was exhilarating - but challenging. My business grew so quickly in 2013; I released my first off-the-shelf collection (the majority of my work is bespoke) in February of that year, by November, my collection was in Brown Thomas as well as other incredible regional stores. The amount of orders that came in through December alone was overwhelming - I never could have dreamed of receiving the response that the collection did. I had to draft in extra help last minute to get through the season.
What are your plans for 2014?
To keep creating. I hand pick each and every stone, and oversee the completion of every piece that leaves my studio - I will never compromise on that level of quality. I plan to expand my brand internationally (at the moment, just a small edit of pieces ship overseas from my website), but the plan is to make ready-to-wear pieces more accessible throughout the year to international clients.
Biggest success to date?
Launching! Really putting myself and my work out there, and for it to be so well received by retailers, press and clients. I feel very fortunate.
Advice for other entrepreneurs?
Don't be afraid - take the leap. Talk to as many people as you can; meet as many people as you can. Seek mentors, advisors; build a personal board of directors who will have your best interests at heart when serving up advice. Know your market - and be prepared. Don't launch until you are absolutely ready.
How difficult is it to build your brand?
Potentially as difficult as anyone else's. But the important think is to keep working, keep pushing forward - as long as I believe in what I'm doing, and know that I am working as hard as I can, I know I'm on the right track.