Lucy Q Designs - jewellery born and bred in the Wirral
Lucy Quartermaine always wanted to be a professional jeweller. The Upton designer is now making her dream come true. WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH <br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
Lucy Quartermaine had her life planned out from her teenage years. Since her days in art class making jewellery in design and technology at Mostyn House School in Wirral, she has wanted to be a jeweller.
She said: ‘I was encouraged into art when I was 13 or 14 and I made Celtic designs for a sixth form project which I loved. I was always known as the designer at school which really boosted my confidence.
‘Ever since then I’ve been set on working for myself as a jeweller. I studied it at university and worked with a silversmith in Chester which was invaluable experience and really helped me build my technique. But I always wanted to strike out on my own.’
The 32-year-old, who was born and still lives in Upton, has done just that and is carving out an enviable reputation for herself in the industry with her business Lucy Q Designs.
Her sterling silver pieces are sold in more than 130 shops, from Wave in Manchester to Kew Gardens and also internationally, including outlets in New Zealand. She also sells hundreds of pieces every month when she appears on The Jewellery Channel.
She said: ‘Selling on television was a real turning point for my business. We can sell 500 pieces each time. It means life is pretty hectic and I don’t get much sleep but I love every minute of it.’
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Lucy’s designs, which range from �29 for stud earrings to �820 for an intricate necklace, are created in her workshop at her Upton home. During busy periods she outsources the manufacturing. Her pieces are inspired by everyday items from buttons to jigsaw puzzles and even crisps. Nature has also played a big part in her work, as she has taken inspiration from insects, flowers, stones and water. New designs can take up to a year to complete.
She said: ‘I love designing on a small scale and nature is such an inspiration to me.
‘I love the simplicity of silver too, it is beautiful.‘Every piece has a quirky and fun element to it. Every designer has a signature and this is mine. If things are a bit different then they are more memorable.’
By her own admission, it has taken Lucy a while to reach this point. She had always yearned to be self-employed, following in the footsteps of her parents and her two sisters. She set up Lucy Q Designs when she became pregnant with her first child, Mia, now eight. Although business has always been good she has also devoted herself to bringing up Mia and her two other children, Tilly, five and Oscar, one. This has slowed the process down a little. But now, the talented silversmith is determined to forge ahead with her plans.
Lucy, who won a Prince’s Trust award for Start-Up Business for the North West, said: ‘I have always been ambitious and not wanted my children to hold me back, I didn’t want them to stop me fulfilling my dream. But I also didn’t want the business to prevent me from being the mother I wanted to be.
‘Things did slow down when I had children but they are my priority. Now I feel things are really starting to take off. It’s fabulous that it’s all coming together. I’m excited because I’m able to put all my energy back into the business.’
And the former bank teller has big plans. Next year she will launch two exclusive lines for wholesalers and for the Jewellery Channel.
She would like be named as one of the top 100 jewellery designers and would love a shot a being crowned Jewellery Designer of the Year from Retail Jeweller, the accolade anyone in the industry aspires to. She is also in talks with a major retailer.
Lucy said: ‘It’s a very exciting time for me. My dream is to become a well-known and recognised name as a designer and it feels like this could happen one day.
‘Things may have gone a bit slower but there is no stopping me now. Give me a few years and I will take over the jewellery world.