Retail Jeweller caught up with designer Marina Skia, former International Jewellery London (IJL) KickStarter and People’s Choice Award winner, to find out about her IJL 2017 plans.
Q: How do you feel about exhibiting officially for the first time at IJL?
A: It is a very exciting to be back at IJL, this time not as part of KickStart but as individual brand. Things are moving forward!
Q: How important was last year to be part of the KickStart line-up?
A: Participating in KickStart was such a great experience, I honestly could not think of a better platform to present my brand to the UK but also an international audience. I recommend any new designer who wishes to make the first steps in this industry to consider applying for it.
Q: How important was it to win the People’s Choice Award at IJL 2016?
A: Getting the votes to win the People’s Choice Award was a great boost for me as self-promotion is not my strongest quality. I was lucky however, to have the support of certain people with lots of followers on social media who loved my work and believed in what I do. I am very grateful to all of them and would like to thank them once again.
Q: What did you learn from IJL 2016?
A: Even though I had been to trade shows both in the UK and abroad before IJL, I have never spent so much time preparing- and I don’t mean designing and making the jewellery! There is a lot to do regarding insurance, promotion and marketing, legal issues, preparing literature. I feel new designers, myself included, do not realise how much work is involved and how important it is to get it right. It is just as important as preparing the actual jewellery.
Q: What advice would you give this year’s KickStarters?
A: I have always believed, and still believe, that in this competitive market having a clear design identity is our most important asset. My advice to the KickStarters and to any new designer is to take time to determine identity, vision and market. Once they do, try to stay true to themselves; their authenticity will come across. It always does, and enjoy the KickStart experience.
Q: What are you looking forward to at IJL this year?
A: Presenting my work once again, new opportunities and taking another step bringing me closer to my vision. It is a process and a journey and so far I have enjoyed everything it brings, good and bad, success and failure. It is all part of the process.
Q: How will you attract retailers to your stand?
A: I find that inviting people to my stand usually works best. I have already contacted some current stockists (people often forget to invite existing clients) and have presented my work and brand to some companies I would like to work with in the near future. Hopefully they will take an interest in my work at the show.