Jewellery is such a personal thing, and often those buying pieces to wear or to give as gifts are inspired by the stories behind each unique piece, or by the cultures they reflect. The Katy Valentine Collection, a business and brand named after its creator, uniquely takes its inspiration from Africa and India, but with a contemporary design aesthetic.
LoA found out more about this interesting brand and company from its founder, Katy Valentine.
What does your company do?
The Katy Valentine Collection is collection of modern, African jewellery. My pieces combine antique African beads with Jaipur gemstones and minimalist design, and are all about the interplay between African and Indian cultures.
"My pieces combine antique African beads with Jaipur gemstones and minimalist design, and are all about the interplay between African and Indian cultures."
What inspired you to start your company?
I grew up around design, both of my parents are antique dealers, and when I finished my degree in graphic design I began working for my father’s antique dealership. So, I’ve always been involved in creative industries and had a passion for design. The idea for The Katy Valentine Collection really started to emerge during a trip I took to India a few years ago. During my time there, I was drawn to the craftsmanship of local jewellers and the wide variety of gemstones. When I came back to South Africa, I realized that there was a gap in the market for moderately priced, easy to wear African and Oriental inspired jewellery. I started by making a few pieces for myself and the business evolved organically from there.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I think my jewellery is unique in that it combines my love of travel and of Oriental-style jewellery with my African heritage. It’s much more modern and delicate than traditional African jewellery. I want all of the pieces to be wearable, every day pieces that are affordable.
"I think my jewellery is unique in that it combines my love of travel and of Oriental-style jewellery with my African heritage."
Tell us a little about your team
Whilst I’ve had the support of family and friends along the way, I’m a team of one and run all aspects of the business myself.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I started my business about two and a half years ago. I had never really planned to go into jewellery but have always had a passion for design. I grew up in a very entrepreneurial and design orientated family, with both parents trading African art and now running their own interior design store
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would love to carry on growing my jewellery business and maybe start to design and sell other things as well, perhaps in interior design and home wear.
"I want all of the pieces to be wearable, every day pieces that are affordable."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I love the freedom, being able to do what you want when you want. That being said, it is actually the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur as well. I put a lot more pressure on myself now than I ever did working for someone else, but I still wouldn't change things.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
I think my biggest piece of advice would be to have a business plan from the very beginning and to get help when and where you need it. I am not so good at running my accounts so I have an accountant to help me keep everything in order. It’s relieved a lot of pressure and I think it’s incredibly important to make sure that every aspect of your business is running smoothly, especially the areas you struggle with.
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Why LoA loves it….
In the world of jewellery design, it’s important to find your niche and create pieces that have a strong visual aesthetic as well as a great story behind them. Katy Valentine has an eye for creating unique jewellery pieces that celebrate the past and present, bringing together two distinct cultures into a contemporary setting. Her work has a strong visual appeal and reflects her passion for India and Africa, the two continents that inspire her. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa