A few weeks ago, I came across SMITH Jewellery, a company based in South Africa. I immediately decided to contact the owner, Anna Raimondo to find out more about her and the business she has built. She was kind enough to let me into her world. What a beautiful world it is! Anna’s creative spirit has given rise to a jewellery brand that is innovative and beautiful.
Anna Raimondo of SMITH Jewellery
What was your first job out of college and how did you land that position?
I had a few interesting jobs during University (and while doing my Masters in Milan), but my first job that wasn’t as a student was as a sales assistant/PA/jewellery manufacturer at a small jewellery shop in Chelsea, London.
How did you come to realize your talent?
Well, I’ve had that need to be creative from an early age, but when I actually started to enjoy being creative with the medium of metal was actually in my 3rd year at Varsity. I really started to come into my own and enjoy what I was doing.
Tell us about the journey that led you to start SMITH Jewellery.
I had just come back home after years of studying and travelling and doing odd jobs. Jobs that didn’t look great on a CV. I realized that I had kind of made myself unemployable (well, unless someone was willing to take a chance), so the only choice I had was to start working for myself. This had always been part of the long term plan, but it just happened a lot sooner than I had expected.
How do you go about creating a new piece? We’d love to know about your design process—choosing materials, design development, how the team works to do this, etc.
I get my inspiration from everything around me – from nature, to fashion, to even my own designs. So really, no range begins the same way. At the moment, I’m working a lot with rose gilt, gilt and sterling silver designs and am starting to incorporate semi-precious stones.
Best moment of your career so far?
I suppose my proudest moment was when I got such an incredible reaction to my Bone Couture Collection. It was my first foray into PR and marketing and I promoted the range all by myself. My hard work paid off and I got editorial coverage, interviews, blog articles and new international customers.
What is a typical day at the office for you?
My two assistants come in early to do benchwork while I’ll spend the morning doing admin. After our lunch I either go out and run errands or join them in the studio.
As an African entrepreneur, what challenges do you experience?
My biggest challenge is getting my brand out there, but really, I imagine this would be the same anywhere in the world
What advice would you have for aspiring jewellery designers in Africa?
Trust yourself; you are your client, so just design for yourself.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
‘Be confident in yourself, you’re not as clueless as you think you are.’ And ‘Go for it!’ It took about two years of full/part-time work until I had the confidence to go out on my own.
To contact SMITH Jewellery
Images Courtesy of SMITH Jewellery