Exciting news RO Family! We've just been featured in Australian Gift Guide Magazine's Designer Profile!
Ruby Olive designer and owner Skye Anderton describes her brand as being able to live two dreams. One is being able to create her own jewellery pieces and have customers enjoy wearing them, and the other is having her own family at the same time.
Since launching she has had two children and is able to combine business and family because of her strong support network, which includes four part-time employees.
It’s clear family is at the heart of Ruby Olive. The brand itself is named after Anderton’s grandmother and was chosen because it is both meaningful and the names of two colours. “She’s very chuffed although I don’t think she really truly believes... she’s a traditional dairy farmer in the north NSW region and she doesn’t really quite grasp having a brand or business named after her, but I send her little postcards and give her jewellery and she comes into the showroom and she gets a bit of a buzz,” says Anderton.
The culmination of an extensive career in jewellery and accessories design, Ruby Olive offers necklaces, brooches, rings, earrings and bangles. Anderton’s skills were first honed as an 18 year old making and selling pieces at markets. She moved to London at 22 and worked for a company as a buyer and in design and development for over 80 stores. This experience gave her the courage to start her own brand when she came home to Brisbane.
Anderton defines Ruby Olive as “colour, texture, distinctive designs”. Her pieces often seem like wearable art and have evolved to be more and more colourful, in line with customer demand.
“My inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. I was fortunate when I was living overseas to do a lot of travelling around the world so I guess I’ve just captured those in my memory and my photos. For example Rio in South America, I just think about the colours that I was feeling when I was there, then I bring in all the designs,” she explains.
“I guess what people don’t realise is every single piece has a little story and each collection starts from a story, it starts from a memory or vision or something which I’ve seen or want to see, so that’s kind of how the inspiration begins. When I take the pieces through to the actual design I think really carefully about how they’re going to be wearable but at the same time be a little bit quirky and unique.”
The pieces are made from sustainably sourced wood and resin by artisans in the Philippines. Anderton tries to be as eco-friendly as possible as it is important to her to preserve the environment. One of her past ranges was made out of recycled floorboards.
Collections are small and released every six to eight weeks to keep products fresh and new for both retailers and customers. This also helps keep fans interested and keen to see what’s coming next.
Ruby Olive has grown from just a couple of stockists in its first few months to between 80 and 100 stockists two and a half years later. Much of this business has come from word of mouth as Anderton is yet to exhibit at a trade fair. She believes the quirkiness of her products and their competitive price points make them attractive to retailers.
Consumers can also buy Ruby Olive jewellery from its website. Anderton has seen this area of the business grow from word of mouth “from people that stop other people in the street. They’ll send me lovely emails saying ‘I love your stuff, I just found out about it through a lady on the street and I couldn’t help but ask her where she got her necklace from’. So really, really lovely that we get a lot of business that way and I think that’s how it has evolved and grown organically, because we have had really strong word of mouth.”
Anderton’s goal is to continue Ruby Olive’s growth and reach as many people as she can with her colourful pieces. She will also look at expanding into other related categories such as scarves and bags and seeing how the market responds. If her success so far is anything to go by expect to see her creations on women everywhere.
“I always like to dabble in new things—I get bored very quickly if I’m doing the same thing, so I want to keep evolving and keep changing and keep surprising people, and being a couple of steps ahead because that’s what I like to do,” she adds.
Images 1/2/3 from Australian Gift GuideImages 4-10 featuring Ruby Olive styles:
A few weeks back we were emailed by Alana from Fashion Weekly, she wanted to interview Skye, the head honcho behind Ruby Olive Jewellery. Here's a taster of the what she had to say:
Tell us about yourself? Where are you from? What is your educational background?
I grew up in Brisbane, I’m the eldest of 3 with 2 younger brothers. I’ve always been fascinated by textiles, colours and fabrics and have made ‘things’ ever since I could remember.
After finishing school I studied a BA (Arts) and a BA (business) degree and at the same time started designing and making jewellery and handbags to sell at markets and local boutiques in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. After I graduated from university I continued to design my jewellery and bags, but I felt I was quite young and inexperienced in the business world and felt I needed to gain some ‘real world’ experience. I saved all my money and bought a one-way ticket to London. My plan was to stay 1 year…but I fell in love with Europe, found myself a job working for a large high street retailer and stayed for 8 years. I did as many design courses as I could at London’s Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design. I started at the bottom and worked my socks off, I was fortunate to be able to travel to many parts of the globe with my job and by the time I left London I was working as an Accessories Buyer for 80 stores.
When I came back home to Brisbane I brought back with me a wealth of knowledge and some fantastic experiences…I decided I was ready to start up my business again.
What does fashion mean to you?
Self expression. Confidence. Fun. Spirit.
What inspires and motivates you as a designer?
I take inspiration from my travels and the people I meet. Travelling is such a big part of who I am and if I can’t get somewhere physically, I’ll look at stunning photos and read books and articles to create a picture in my head. I’m so fascinated by different cultures, people and places around the world. I’m in love with colour (in a big way) and just love dreaming up new colour combinations. I’m also fascinated by how things are made…so much so that when I’m travelling and see a local craftsman making a piece of jewellery I can’t help but stop and admire.
My motivation to design is all about creating something more than a product…my aim is to create something that inspires, gives confidence and creates a story.
When did you realise you wanted to become a jewellery and fashion accessories designer?
I’ve always made all sorts of things and since I was about 14 I can distinctively remember sketching bags. I never really believed it would be my career though as so many people said it’s not a ‘profession’ and it would be ‘too hard’. I’m so glad I was stubborn and did it anyway.
To read the rest...visit the Fashion Weekly website.
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