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How I changed career in my mid-forties Part one.
Aug 06, 2020
Sarah Parham, Queen of Rings talks about how she changed career in her mid-forties.I can remember writing to Vogue and Elle when I was 20 asking for a job with them, at the time I was working in advertising and the money was good but the work didn't really inspire me. I longed to work in fashion and accessories not in insurance and banking. For some people their passion is home interiors, art or cars. Don't get me wrong I love art, cars (especially classic ones) and interiors too, but my passion has always been with fashion and accessories. I love how they make you feel. For me waking each morning and deciding what to wear is one of life's great joys.
First step is admitting you need to change.After having no luck at Vogue and Elle (they said I would earn a lot more money staying in advertising) and in those days, there was plenty of money in that industry, creativity ruled and was rewarded and the drinks and parties flowed. Over the years I moved jobs to try to see if I was any happier in my career but when Sunday night hit, it was always the dread of the week ahead and I started to live for the pay packet and the weekends - that for me didn't equal happiness. During those years I was always looking for something, 'my thing 'that I could own and set up but I knew 'my thing' had to make me really happy, it had to be something I was passionate about.
Finding 'my thing'.I have always loved jewellery but before that journey came along I met a women who worked in a market in Italy, her family owned the oldest glove making house in the country. I fell in love with her story and I created a collection and had samples made up. I knew absolutely nothing about product development, margins, importing, exporting or how to sell into boutiques.
Maybe 'my thing is gloves'Armed with my chat, a wheelie suitcase, the gloves and a notebook off I went round to The Cross in Notting Hill. I walked in and got an order - just like that. I was like 'wow' this is easy. So I did it again and again. 5 stores later and still no clue what I was really doing (I am sure I had all my markups wrong, I had no SKU codes as I didn't even know what they were and no business). I decided to call myself the glovelylady;). I didn't keep tabs on how much I was buying and selling, for me it was just a very exciting experiment. I soon learnt that my gloves were too expensive and people didn't want a massive outlay as they always lost them - so that was the end of the glovelylady and her gloves.
Maybe 'my thing' is handbags.Next I found a bag maker in Italy and starting bring a few in in my suitcase to sell to friends but my heart wasn't in it and I gave up after a year.
Maybe, just maybe 'my thing' is jewellery.I next met a vintage chandelier dealer and chatted to him about the pieces that were kind of left lying around. I decided to make massive necklaces from them mixed with vintage beads, I loved this. Every weekend and evening when I wasn't working in advertising I started to create new pieces.This gave me a creative outlet that I felt was missing from my day job. Again I managed to get into a few stores by just walking in but it didn't feel quite right - I knew this wasn't quite 'my thing'. My gran then died and left some silver trinkets to me, some broken, some on funny chains, so I took them all apart, bought a chain necklace I liked and re-purposed them. I had the idea of where what is dear to your heart near your heart. I felt very inspired by this idea and spent hours in antique shops buying up old charms. I then took a brief from friends on what they love in life and made up necklaces for them, then Anna Vogel arrived and that kind of took away the idea of where I wanted to take the brand so I went back to the drawing board. In the meantime I moved from Sussex to Dorset and set up a holiday let and then everything changed...
The trip to India that changed everything.I moved from Dorset back to Sussex and I was still working in advertising. My husband landed a job in Mumbai in India and because we had two dogs and needed money I stayed in the UK and carried on working. I flew out to see him and started to meet lots of new interesting people. We travelled to Jaipur in Rajasthan and it was there my new life started. I was invited to design a ring by a woman my husband had employed, her family were in the jewellery business and as a thank you they kindly let me design a ring.
A new career - sort of.When I arrived back in the U.K. friends asked if they could have one. I was keen not to bother the family in India too much so I asked my friends to send me their ring size, none of them knew it, they didn't have time to walk into a jewellers to find out. Many said well, my hands change size with the heat and the cold, a pregnant friend said her fingers swelled regularly, weight fluctuation, arthritis, big knuckles with small fingers were all discussed – so that was it, instead of annoying the family and India was too far away to send things back I designed a ring to fit every finger. The band took ages , around 6 or 7 attempts to get right as I had no idea what I was doing. The family in India were so kind and patient, eventually I had it and that is where SVP started and my life changed. I will be creating a whole series on this and how I went from the idea to growing the company. You can read part two here. I hope you found it inspiring and feel free to come and ask any questions. I am usually hovering around instagram @svpjewellery Shop our range of adjustable rings here. SVP x
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