How did you get started in jewellery?
I fell in love with my mum’s pearl hoop earrings when I was a kid—I used to steal them and wear them to school, thinking I was the best looking girl in the playground. Finally two years ago I decided to make my own masterpieces, based out of London. I took a chance and here I am today!
What inspires each collection?
I have a very photographic memory, it’s a bit scary how much I can remember… all of a sudden all these shapes of what I have seen form together in my mind and that’s how I create my piece.
Lara Heems pieces are stocked in five countries now. Being a resident of west London, how does your home city inspire your design concepts and creativity?
Mostly in terms of elegance; London is timeless and also has a bit of edge. London for me is art and comfort. A bit hard to describe really, but it brings many different cultures together, so it has an effect in the best way possible because it provides international influences.
What is your design process?
It’s all in the mind, it translates into drawings, sizes, stones, colour, shapes… then off the workshop.
What is your best selling piece and why?
My rose pearl earrings—if you take a look at them you will understand why!
On a day-to-day basis how does your business model work?
Sometimes it’s very busy with creations and getting things right, the wait is the annoying part… just waiting ’til it’s finished is frustrating as I always get excited to see the outcome. But as they say, good things come to those who wait!
What have been the highlights for Lara Heems jewellery so far?
The shows of support from family and friends have been the highlights, and also watching the company grow.
As a luxury jewellery brand that is affordable, what is your competitive advantage against established jewellery brands such as Monica Vinader?
Her stuff is beautiful and yes, there is a lot of competition in the jewellery business out there, but I don’t feel threatened. I just need to do the best I can with my own designs, and the best part is I love everything I have created. It captivates me to such an extent that, even though I’ve seen my own pieces a million times, every time I wear one it feels like it’s the first time I’ve worn it or seen it—that is how much I love what I do.
What is the concept behind Lara Heems jewellery?
To make beautiful pieces that have the same effect as diamonds, something you can look at and say ‘wow’ but still be able to buy without spending millions.
What stones do you use and why?
I work with the finest cubic zirconia, which gives the same shine effect as diamonds, and we also use semi-precious stones and man-made rubies, sapphires and so on, which have the same chemical composition and physical properties of a natural stone. It’s so good that sometimes even experienced gem dealers and professionals find it hard to differentiate between natural and lab-created stones.
Sparkles are a girl’s best friend… it doesn’t always have to be diamonds!
What pieces do you recommend to someone just starting their jewellery collection, where do they start?
Make a very small collection, and take all the feedback you can get! It’s very important, the client’s opinion is very important.
What is your price point? Are you standard, premium or luxury jewellery products?
I would say standard, but we have recently made some exclusive ‘heems’ pieces, which are more high end in terms of price.
Do you design by season and how often do you update the collection?
We try to design by season only because it’s more of a structured way of working. Of course we always have our standard designs, and jewellery is different to fashion—fashion is seasonal, whereas jewellery lasts a lifetime.
Your social media is quite impressive and a big USP of your brand, using juxtaposition to great effect. How do you manage to keep the brand image fresh, innovative and creative?
Social media is a big thing nowadays so it is important to be present… to be seen and not forgotten. It’s a perfect way for you as a brand to say ‘hello, we are here’.
Being creative is also a key thing, pictures are striking and if captured well can heighten the intention to buy that item—it’s all about the look! The eye only sees what the mind wants to comprehend.