Small Talk is a new monthly Smallish feature offering an insight into the women behind some of our favourite mother-run brands, businesses and campaigns. It aims to support start-ups, champion those who make a difference and share the love sisterhood-style. Head over to our Facebook or Instagram to join the conversation. #smalltalk
Kelly Seymour @cultofyouth
Silversmith, jewellery designer & creator of Instagram’s favourite ‘Mama’ necklace.
Mother to one-year-old Elvis
How did you get your business off the ground?
I first started making jewellery when I was interning for a hair accessories brand five years ago. I wore a necklace to a buyers’ meeting (I was literally just there to carry the stuff) and got asked to go away and put a collection together. That was for Topshop. I formed CULT of YOUTH and launched later that summer at London Fashion Weekend but decided the high street wasn’t the best fit for me at that stage in my career. And so I went off and squirrelled away at Portobello Market for two years before eventually joining the Urban Outfitters family.
Over the past 18 months, as my life has taken new paths, including the birth of my son Elvis and a move out of – and back in to! – London, I have found Instagram a brilliant way of staying connected with everyone who’s part of CULT of YOUTH and a useful tool for growing my business. I can get instant feedback on new pieces/projects – one of the things I loved about working a market – and I get to connect with some wonderful women every day.
In terms of finance, I’ve only ever invested what I made back into the business. This is limiting in in terms of speed of growth, but it means the risk factor is low. I’d LOVE a studio though – maybe in time.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I have always been very interested in the macabre. I collect butterfly taxidermy and have a selection of animal skulls and bones. I’m also into my crystals. I’d say although the brand has definitely grown with me over the years, skulls and crystals are a constant running theme. I find it hard to look at other jewellery designers’ work for fear of my own ideas getting diluted, so just try to work in quite an insular way. I hope that doesn’t sound too wanky? Honestly, all I’ve ever done is think of things I really want to wear and then make them. I’m just super lucky that sometimes other people want to wear them too.
How do you manage running a business and looking after your son?
Some days easier than others. As he gets older (we’re now approaching 18 months), I find it pretty tricky to get stuff done in the day. I feel like there’s too much going on anyway without trying to string coherent emails or place costly orders at the same time, so I try to keep Elvis and work time seperate. Of course, some evenings roll around and I’m dead on my feet by 8pm, but it helps that I really love what I do. Making jewellery is incredibly therapeutic for me and the many words of encouragement I get on Instagram make each piece special. Especially the Mama chains.
Tell us about the ‘Mama’ necklace and how it came about?
So, I was about five or six months pregnant and going through a pretty rough patch. I just thought about how amazing women are to be able to create and carry these babies with their own bodies. But I also felt like it was a lot to get your head around. I wanted to wear a chain that represented how incredibly humbled yet empowered I felt by it all. It was like saying: “Yeah, I’m a Mama, what’s your superpower?!”
Name three instagrammers, businesses or campaigners you think we should all
Gahh, this is the hardest of them all! I’m so lucky to know so many incredible (and supportive) instagrammers/mamas/business owners…but three….can I do five?!!! Okay, so Aimee Vincent is one of the most empowered, inspiring women I’ve (never actually!) met. She has a daughter and a business called @thestonedcrysalis but you should check out her personal account @ripsnorter for insightful, intelligent pieces of writing as well as beautiful photographs. She made me think I could do anything as well as be a mum. Laura @_g3 is another incredible mama. She documents daily life with the ease of Nan Goldin and always writes beautiful words. Also check out @laurahesketh for the ultimate in monochrome envy. Best line ever “Black clothes, white home, colourful life”. Next, my friend and fellow Essex girl, the aptly named @essexmama. She recently launched her line of tees. One to watch and a inspiration that you can do anything you want if you just start. Finally, Carrie Anne @mre.soeur for saying all the shit no-one else does, for showing us you can do anything you put your mind to and for inspiring women like me to be braver by being pretty godamn fearless herself.
#smalltalk // followthecult.com