Meet Ellen Kvam
Join us with today's designer interview as we chat with Ellen of Ellen Kvam Jewellery, the Norwegian-based jewellery company that is known for their colourful handcrafted pieces that are inspired by the colours of the Aurora Borealis.
How did your brand begin?
I made a few pieces of jewellery as a start to a new hobby - fused glass crystals in sterling silver settings. I gave the jewellery to my friends and had no plans of ever selling any of them. I had designed some jewellery prior to this, made by melting over silver and gold.
I have loved jewellery my whole life, but I loved making it more than receiving it.
My friend Eva was one of the friends that I gave jewellery to. She walked past a jewellery store in Trondheim wearing the piece I made for her when the store clerk ran out after her to ask where she bought the necklace. The head office of the jewellery chain in Oslo contacted me, and 4 months later, my jewellery was on display in all their 18 stores nationwide. The following year the jewellery was also in 30 Hallberg stores in Sweden. Finland and the Netherlands followed thereafter.
When did you first fall in love with designing and knew you wanted to become a designer?
Finding the best solutions for looks and mechanisms and everything else has always interested me. When I see unusual pieces, I feel happy on behalf of the designer and the wearer as well; it feels good to wear jewellery that has thoughtfulness and affection behind it. To make both the piece and the customer shine is the ultimate goal.
Values are really important to us at JewelStreet. What are your core brand values?
We use renewable products only. We do not use any plastic components, and we ship with the smallest eco-footprint possible. We'd rather spend a few more days shipping a product, than stress the environment unnecessarily.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
I draw inspiration from many different places. Our awesome planet Earth and its nature are a source of endless inspiration. When it comes to the choice of colours, it can be both from nature, and from the clothes, I see on others or in a store, or straight from the catwalk. There are so many great designers that inspire in various ways.
How do you ensure your designs are ethical and sustainable?
We always make sure we buy sustainably and produce our own products efficiently. Most of our products are made in our own studio in Oslo, and that enables us to have a full overview of what is being used, and that our production is sustainable.
Are there any specific manufacturing/crafting techniques you use?
We use fusing, polishing, grinding, and heat.
How do you source your materials?
I buy what I can locally, like jewellery boxes and display materials. What needs to be shipped I buy in big quantities, and I ship in the most eco-friendly way. I do not use express shipping.
How do you want someone to feel when they wear/use your designs?
We would like the person to feel they shine wearing the peace, and that they are not overwhelmed by it. We like the person wearing it to receive subtle attention from a splash of elegance and colour.
If you hadn't become a designer, what would you be doing?
I think I would be a painter. I paint paintings sometimes when I want to just chill and let my mind fly away.
Do you work with any charities?
My brand represents and supports Hearts in the Ice. We have been one of their main supporters for the last 4 years. They educate children and adults all over the planet on climate change. I go to Svalbard with the two women in charge about twice a year, to support them and to learn about their new discoveries on the subject of environmental issues and climate change.
Have you been featured in any exhibitions?
My work has been featured in many exhibitions and in stores in Scandinavia. I have also designed glass sculptures sold at Christie's in London.
Do you have any exciting future plans and where do you see your brand in 5 years?
We have started working on a high-end collection. I hope to have this collection finished by the end of next year.
What music do you play in the studio whilst you’re working?
The latest hits on the radio most of the time. Sometimes personal favourites like Leonard Cohen or superhits from the 60s and 70s.
What drew you to JewelStreet?
We already have many regular customers in the UK. To work with a company that targets the English market directly drew us to JewelStreet.
How do your brand values align with those of JewelStreet?
Our brand is a very good fit with JewelStreet as we both work hard to make the changes necessary for doing business with the environment as a very high priority. We hope to see our company grow and expand and we feel JewelStreet will do the same.
If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?
I would choose the Northern Light necklace. It is elegant, simple and interesting at the same time. That it is interchangeable and allows the wearer to use different colours makes it a winner.
Thank you very much for talking with us!