CULT OF YOUTHApril 21, 2013
Here’s a story for all those young creatives out there, a story of success solely dependent on passion, willpower and the hope to achieve. Such a story belongs to Kelly Seymour, founder of jewellery label Cult Of Youth.
Turning her back on her trained profession ,Kelly made the decision to design her own jewellery range, never sure of where it might lead or the prospects of success. It was passion that drove her to it, a vision of ambition, creating jewellery under her own influence to sell on her stall on Portobello road. One fateful evening a humble Urban buyer stumbled across Kelly’s market stall and was instantly impressed. Bones, crosses, and peace signs galore. It was, as they say, “So Urban”. Fast forward one year (after many a tea and biscuit meeting) and we are pleased to announce the first official Cult Of Youth collection available online at Urban Outfitters. Lord knows we love a happy beginning.
With such glorious success story behind the brand we just had to catch a chat with Kelly. So we did, on a park bench in Embankment, overlooking the Thames.
UO:Hi Kelly. Where are we now?
KS:We’re sitting on the river, opposite London eye, Big Ben and Waterloo Bridge.
UO:So, you’ve just launched your first line on the UO website, how do you feel?
KS:I feel very excited and really lucky to have my first collection in such a big retailer. I’ve always wanted to present my collection in Urban, it happened really fast.
UO:How did you go to the Urban Outfitters buyers?
KS:I didn’t, they came to me! I was sitting at my stall in Portobello Market last summer and one girl was looking at the jewellery and kind of asking me some questions and then she said, “I’m from Urban outfitters would you be interested in maybe doing a collection for us.” I said that’ll be great and we swapped cards. I didn’t expect to hear anything back before a while so I was like “Ok, get all your shit together and maybe in few weeks time re-contact her”. So I kind of started to do that and I didn’t even check my emails. When I finally checked them she had sent me an email, like the next Monday, saying “Hey Kelly do you want to come in?” So I did!
UO:How did you start making jewellery?
KS:I was a hairdresser and I went to Italy for six months working in a salon. I’ve always liked jewellery or hairdressing, but jewellery was kind of uncertain and I didn’t know if I’d be able to make money from it. I came back from Italy and ended up not going back to the salon that I trained at. Everything changed; I went back living with my mum, unemployed, having some kind of a quarter life crisis. I found an internship on Gumtree for a girl doing hair accessories and worked with her for four months. During this period was approached by another retailer for the pieces I was making but wasn’t ready to go through with it. I think you need to be strong and having a business set up before you start this kind of thing. So I started a stall in Portobello market, which I did had 18 months.
UO:What do you like the best about it?
KS:It sounds like a cliché, but it comes very easily. It feels like I never think too much when I’m doing it, unlike anything else. I never draw anything out and I just find things I like and know instantly what’s going on. It’s either right or wrong.
UO:Where do you find your inspiration?
KS:I love going to markets, car boot sales and charity shops. I see something and I can visualise it as a piece in my head. I’m always on a look out for interesting things, it doesn’t have to be jewellery, and it can be anything. I’ve got this wooden box for example; it got lots of beads, gold stars, planets and moons in enamel. It’s a really beautiful box and I can see all these symbols in jewellery. I get inspirations and I’ll get things cast. I love the shapes of moon; I use a lot of symbols like crosses, moons, skulls and peace signs.
UO:What’s your style more bohemian or more grunge?
KS:I think it quite bohemian in a way that it’s put together but it’s not too thought about, it’s just kind of found and put together. I think the skull and the cross pieces are quite grunge.
UO:Do you get inspiration from music?
KS:Actually, the first piece of jewellery I made was from reading the Patty Smith book “Just Kids”. In it Robert Mapplethorpe used to make jewellery for her and that inspired me. There was one piece that she wrote about; it was a skull bead on a piece of leather. I started to imagine what it would have look liked and try to put my own spin on it.
UO:You also use lot of animal bones in your designs. How do you source them?
KS:I pick them up from markets and car boots sales, especially the Wimbledon one where you can find so many weird things. I also know a guy who gets them in from Scotland and Ireland for me, because you can find lots of these things over there. That’s something I’m going to focus now, also using gold and silver.
UO:What advice would you give to aspiring jewellery makers?
KS:Find your audience and listen to it. Get all the feedback you can from your work because you can make the most beautiful things in the world but if people don’t want to wear them, it’s not gonna work.
UO:What are your favorite places to hang out?
KS:I just love drinking beers outside in the summer. I used to go The Stag’s Head and The Owl, or The Pussycat around Acton.
UO:Tell us a joke…
KS:You must be Irish or something coz my penis is doublin’.
Lovely. Now check out the collection! (Click the images to shop)
Feeling inspired? Let us know in the comments below…