Inspirational Woman: Lucy Quartermaine | Founder, Lucy Quartermaine

Meet Lucy Quartermaine

Founder, Lucy Quartermaine

In this piece, we speak to Lucy Quatermaine, Founder of jewellery brand Lucy Quartermaine.

She talks to us about her passion for arts and crafts, her journey into the jewellery industry and the challenges she has faced along the way.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

At school my passion was arts and crafts; I would spend most break times in the art department creating weird and wonderful things from wood and fabrics. I discovered a book on silversmithing, and the world of silver just started to open for me. With this self-learnt knowledge, I handmade my own collection of jewellery, inspired by Celtic designs and to be honest, was extremely proud of my efforts.

My skills and enthusiasm earned me a place at Sheffield Hallam University, where I embarked on an honour’s degree course in metalwork and jewellery. Here I knew I had found my calling and worked hard to hone my skills. I am happy to say that my work quickly drew recognition and awards, with my designs often being hailed as leaps and strides ahead of my peers.

After graduation, I was personally headhunted to work in a silversmith and thought I had hit the jackpot. It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse and soon wished I had turned it down. Young, idealistic and naïve, my employer took full advantage, keeping me working in the basement of the store and taking advantage of my innocent nature. It was perhaps the most miserable time of my career and really knocked my confidence. When I was finally able to escape, I swore that jewellery was out of my life!

How things change…not at first admittedly. I turned my back on the world of workshops and silver and took a drastic diversion – into banking. But, for all its stability and comfort, banking did not excite me the way jewellery did. The fire in my heart had not gone out, and I felt my old passion beckoning me back…

The turning point came with the sudden news that (at a very young age) I was pregnant! Fear walked hand in hand with excitement and I knew, with sudden clarity, that I had to return to my true calling: for my daughter, not just for me. How else would I teach my child to follow her dreams, and that passion was the most important thing? By example.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I always knew I wanted to work with jewellery and from a young age I remember being in awe of my grandmother’s skill for creating it. After discovering my passion for all things sparkly as a child, I created my first proper piece at 16 and later went on to gain a BA Hons at Sheffield Hallam University in 2003 after completing an intense 3-year course of ‘Jewellery and Metalwork Design’.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes! The biggest challenge has always been overcoming my fears, but to be honest I find now that fear is one of my biggest motivators. Fear of failure, fear of letting customers, employees, investors, and family down. Fear of not being able to pay my rent, to provide for my family. This drives me constantly and allows me to keep going when obstacles are in my way. When I started, I wanted to build something that makes a difference and changes my industry for the better. However, to do that you must invest all you have in terms of time, emotions, reputation, and money into your business, which leaves you very vulnerable should you fail. So, this fear keeps me on my toes. 

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Launching my business! Making a dream become a reality and employing young talent. I am truly honoured to have won over thirty fabulous awards and having my jewellery stocked in independent retailers, as well as Ernest Jones, has been a dream come true.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I truly believe that resilience is your greatest asset as an entrepreneur and the key to achieving success. Starting and running a business is very difficult, so having the resilience to deal with the obstacles, the stress, the ups and downs is very important. Starting a business will test your resilience often but it allows you to build even more of it and become a better entrepreneur as a result.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

It’s rewarding! Being able to encourage Young Talent is vital. I have always employed people that already have Enthusiasm, Passion and Commitment; with these three skills, anything can be built upon.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

Gender equality starts at the front of an organisation. In recruiting I sponsor ADAPTOVATE recruiting and am passionate about trying to make sure we attract a diverse set of candidates. This involves changing how we review resumes, score candidates in interviews, have discussions about people, etc. we need to have good challenging discussions to ensure our unconscious biases are not influencing our decisions.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Be ambitious and show passion and you will succeed.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

The need for our jewellery to spark joy is stronger than ever. While the trends cycle turns more slowly in jewellery than in fashion, there is no denying the shift towards our UNIQUE Collections. The demand for Gold Layering has increased, so we have extended our gold collection by 30%. We can’t wait to share these new designs with you in the later part of the year!

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