Starting up a jewellery design business is always a daring challenge to take on, but that’s exactly what Lucy Wilson of “Bloody Mary Metal” did. After taking a jewellery design course in a small town near Perranporth, Cornwall, UK, Lucy embarked on the mission of a lifetime: to become a successful jewellery designer. 4 years into her adventure, Lucy has come incredibly far already, and we took some time to get to know Lucy better, as well as hear her story.
Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? I’m 29, I grew up on my parents Organic, Rare Breeds farm in Cornwall, UK. After 7 years in London and New Zealand, I’m now back living in Cornwall.
What was your childhood like? Amazing! Growing up on a farm was brilliant. I had so much freedom, and being surrounded by animals really taught me and my brother about responsibility, respect and nature. My parents were very loving, albeit quite strict. But I most definitely had a happy childhood, and my parents worked hard to put good food on the plate for us, in an economically friendly way!
Have you always been creative? Yes, and no! I have always been dramatic, ha! I hated “Art” at school and felt like I was terrible at it (probably because I was!). I can’t draw to save my life- ask my team at BMM! I scribble on post it notes and design rings in biro drawn directly onto my fingers! But I am definitely creative-minded. I have a First Class degree in European Theatre Arts, from Rose Bruford Drama College, and I was extremely into performance, movement and theatre for a long time. I am most definitely expressive. Passion runs my head, which can get me into trouble, but I think its so important to be passionate about what you do – otherwise whats the point?
I think its so important to be passionate about what you do – otherwise whats the point?
When did jewellery first become of interest to you? I’ve always loved jewellery. As a teenager I was your typical, cliche Cornish girl- ankles and wrists dripping in surfy beads and leather wraps! When I moved to London at the age of 18, I discovered the world of fashion and fell in love with some independent jewellers based near where I was working at the time. I was offered an apprenticeship and handed my notice in, but at the last minute the company lost a big contract and couldn’t afford to take on an apprentice, so that fell through. I’d already decided that it was something I wanted to pursue, even though it took me a couple more years to kick start the dream.
What drove you to start up your own business? A little of the above (not being able to do what I wanted!), and also I spent quite a while working at an amazing tattoo studio in London, Jolie Rouge Tattoo. I was surrounded by incredible artists, doing their own thing and being creative every day. They inspired me so much, and made me realise that I have passion and drive, and I needed to at least try something out for myself, rather than working for other people. Without being big-headed, I know that I can organise, lead and plan, so it seemed the next logical step, to create something of my own.
Why the name “Bloody Mary Metal” ? Haha, I love this question! Whilst at Drama College, I worked for Isle of Wight Tomatoes (now The Tomato Stall) on the London farmers markets! (Coming from a farming background, my dad had advised me to approach some of the farmers market lot so I could get decent food!) So for about 5 years I was Lucy Tomatoes, or Tomato Girl! You should see my phone contacts honestly, Harry Bread, Chris Fish, Ange Tomatoes, Ted Veg etc! So I felt I needed to get a little of “myself” into the brand name, without calling it my own name.. I was out one evening in London, discussing the future plans, and drinking a Bloody Mary.. The rest, as they say, is history!
What has been the best bit about your career so far? Oooooh, good one! Being able to donate thousands of British Pounds to Macmillan Cancer Support through sales of our Hope & Anchor pendant, in memory of my dad. We’re also donating regularly to other charities close to our heart, from profits of sales, which feels amazing to do. Other best bits- the awesome people I’ve met along the journey!! Honestly, some of my best friends have come into my life via BMM- its such a big family! Oh, and its the most amazing feeling being anywhere in the world and seeing people wearing BMM! I cried in Amsterdam when a girl came up to me and said she loved BMM, and I bumped into someone wearing one of our necklaces in Sydney airport! Its happening more and more, and its just SO GOOD! I guess that might be the best highlight, and hopefully a recurring one.
And what’s been the worst (if there is one?) Hmm.. Tough one. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a “worst bit” as such.. Its tougher than it looks, being “the boss”… Though I try not to, I do worry quite a bit- I have a growing team and I care about them. So decisions I make, both design based, and economical, could potentially impact the lives of my team! So, I guess that? Oh, and people stealing our designs- thats not cool!
Who is your favourite jewellery designer? I’ll be honest- since starting BMM I don’t really wear any other jewellery, apart from my engagement ring! I try not to look at others work too much because I want to make sure my mind is solely on BMM, and that designs have come out of my head and not influenced by anyone else. Some people might argue that its imperative to know what your peers are doing, but why? If you’re true to what you’re doing, and believe in it, why does it matter what anyone else is doing?
What inspires you? Home, Cornwall. The sea. The sun. I find myself most inspired when I’m relaxed, happy, near the sea, and warm! I’m very interested in our history and heritage, signs and symbols of our past, and these really inspire me when designing collections.
You run a business down in Cornwall, UK. Why did you choose to stay in Cornwall? What have been the advantages/disadvantages? I did the London thing. I love London, don’t get me wrong. But I’m a country girl at heart, and the city was sucking so much energy from me. If I have a tough day down here, I can walk on the beach 10 minutes after leaving work, and breathe the fresh air. So for my own sanity, Cornwall is the best decision. My fiancé Jules and I both ride, so we take the motorbikes out at the weekend, and on summer evenings- a rideout through a city just doesnt have the same effect! There are definitely disadvantages though- we’re so far away from everything and everyone! Sometimes it feels like we have to work harder to reach things, but thats all part of the challenge, and I wouldn’t change it.
How important has social media been for your career? Imperative. Absolutely crucial. Especially being down here in Cornwall! Social Media increases reach, increases the possibilities and also helps with word of mouth too. I can take or leave Facebook, but Instagram has been monumental in the growth of BMM. I know things change, and adapt, but it’ll never take away what Instagram did for my brand from its conception until now, and hopefully for a long time into the future.
What advice would you have for other aspiring jewellery designers? Stay true to YOU! Don’t worry about what other people are doing, and definitely dont be tempted to copy other people’s ideas- its not worth it! My customers always pull up people that bite BMM designs, and they end up looking silly. But definitely follow your dream- do it! If you can visualise something, whether its one product or a whole brand and collection, just get out there and do it! Its 100% worth it!
Where can our readers keep up to date with you and your business? I run the BMM instagram account so thats probably the most updated and best way to keep in the loop with what we’re up to! @bloodymarymetal ! And thats also our Twitter and Snapchat handle too! Also our website www.bloodymarymetal.com and Facebook.com/bloodymarymetal