Determined and Optimistic with Tatty Devine
“There is nowhere I'd rather be this weekend than at the WOW festival. Being surrounded by women all working towards a fairer world is both empowering and exciting. There is amazing energy pulsating throughout the building all weekend!” -
Rosie Wolfenden MBE, Co-Founder and Manager Director of Tatty Devine - our go to brand for bold and fun jewellery.
In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with Rosie for our first ever shop blog post, to hear about her entrepreneurial journey, the challenges faced by the brand as a small business and more.
What inspired you to start Tatty Devine?
Harriet and I met at the Chelsea School of Art, where we both studied Fine Art.
Harriet found bags full of leather sample books which we made into wonderfully DIY wrist cuffs and sold on a market stall. This kept us afloat as we worked out our pathway to becoming Tatty Devine but also introduced us to future collaborators, friends and our community. We always made jewellery we have wanted to wear and as an extension of that, wanted our jewellery to express our individuality, creativity and also tell the world how we feel. It's like wearing your heart on your sleeve!
What aspect defines or represents Tatty Devine as a business with a purpose and not just any jewellery brand?
Tatty Devine has always been a place for us and our community to champion our beliefs, from our work with Not A Phase, supporting the lives of trans+ adults across the UK, to anti-Brexit jewellery that was featured in The Guardian. We love to make beautiful necklaces but it’s also exciting to create jewellery with a political or inspiring message, following in the steps of suffragettes and their love of political, truly statement jewellery. We call it ‘campaign jewellery’ and I think that’s spot on!
Tell us about the most challenging aspect of running a product based brand?
One issue is finding affordable spaces for design, production and retail. Rapidly rising rents and business rates are a continuous challenge for small businesses and local industries. We’re proud to micro-manufacture our jewellery in the UK. It’s in our DNA but for many start-ups, it’s just not an option and that’s such a shame.
Any advice for those starting a retail business?
Opportunities like makers markets are such a great way to build up your network of fellow creatives and find those die-hard customers who’ll follow you as you grow! We have a very engaged community both online and offline, many of whom discovered us when we started on a market stall and continue to support us to this day - almost 23 years later.
What's your most favourite Tatty Devine creation till date?
That’s a very tough question to answer! A real highlight is our 2018 collaboration with Fawcett Society, to commemorate the unveiling of the Millicent Fawcett statue - the very first statue of a woman in Parliament Square and in fact, the first to be sculpted by a woman, the incredible Gillian Wearing.
Our Courage Calls pieces are little golden banners and if you look closer you’ll see that they’re adorned with an etched and hand-inked quote. This is taken from a speech made by Fawcett following the death of suffragette Emily Wilding Davison and tellingly, this design has resonated with people from all walks of life, all over the world for many, many reasons. It really is very special.
We absolutely love the new ‘Determined & Optimistic’ necklace created by Tatty Devine exclusively for WOW. After the success of our red and black ‘WOW’ necklaces, this is our second collaboration with you. Walk us through the process of creating the new necklace.
Harriet and I are both driven to create wearable art for everyone and to continue working with WOW is a dream come true! We were determined to capture the exuberant, joyful and inspiring spirit of WOW in the form of a vintage-style protest banner and so, the Determined and Optimistic Necklace was born! Harriet sketched it out in our East London studio where all Tatty Devine jewellery is designed before our brilliant team of makers in Kent got to work. Each Determined and Optimistic Necklace is laser cut, hand-inked and made with love: we can’t wait for everyone to enjoy them.
Lastly, what would be your dream partnership/collab?
It has to be Bjork!
Shop the WOW x Tatty Devine 'Determined & Optimistic' necklace here.