International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women across the globe, a.k.a Girl Power. Many enterprising women have launched their own business and as Auree approaches its fifth birthday next month, what better moment to ask our Founder Amelia Bainbridge about her experience. She is strong. She is smart. She is one of a kind.
Who or what inspired you?
My highly spirited Grandmothers – one, a spirited and intrepid traveller, the other a phenomenal multi-tasker both took on life with an enthusiasm and energy that influenced me from an early age. Both they, and many of my friends have done (and do) incredible things and I think that these inspiring independent women should have jewellery that lives alongside them. This is why I created Auree (one of my grandmothers middle names).
What were you doing before Auree?
I had been working in the jewellery and watch business for over ten years. I worked for Nigel Milne in Piccadilly for several years who sell fabulous vintage jewellery, before working with a number of brands in e-commerce. I’ve always loved jewellery but most importantly the way that it is made.
Is this the first business idea you’ve come up with or were there others?
Yes, I suppose it’s always been Auree. Although truthfully the first would be a little shop I set up in my parent’s garden overlooking the beach when I was 8 years old. I sold a curious collection of ancient magazines, fairy cakes and rocks I had found on the beach that resembled animals. Perhaps even more curiously, people ACTUALLY bought them. All the money I raised went to Guide Dogs for the Blind so clearly people were either feeling very charitable towards the dogs or me!
What was important to you when setting up Auree?
When I first started on our journey with Auree, I wanted to make sure we built a company with a beating heart. That beating heart is in the brilliant team who work at Auree, our amazing network of workshops and craftsmen and the relationship we have with you – the women who wear our jewellery.
It’s also about helping support causes we all deeply care about, and in October 2016 were excited to launch our first charity collaboration with The London Chatter, which raised over £30,000.
What were your biggest challenges and achievements when launching Auree?
Apart from actually deciding ‘this is it’ and starting, one of the hardest (but most rewarding) things, was to actually put together the brand. It’s very personal and you have to be disciplined in being objective but I was very lucky with a brilliant team to do it with. Our first order was very exciting! We were very proud to be approached by stockists such as The Conran Shop and Lime Wood Hotel who now stock Auree.
Was the business a success from the off or did it take time?
The best cocktails take time to make, that’s our mantra. We had a great start and it has been growing steadily ever since. Our focus has always been on exceptional service and it’s exciting to see things taking off.
What is the best part of your job?
Having something that you have built up yourself – and being your own boss. We have been so lucky with all the feedback from customers and if we think we can do something better or have a new idea, we do it straight away. No politics and no boardroom decisions!
And the worst?
You never have a day off! And no I.T department.
How do you juggle motherhood with Auree? Is it harder/easier than you thought?
It is MUCH harder than I thought it would be. Auree was my first baby, then we got Gertie (our spaniel) so really, Rory was my 3rd child (and I’m now pregnant with my 4th). Initially I really struggled to balance home, a baby and work and I managed to slip a couple of discs too as icing on the cake but thanks to a brilliant team in the office and a very kind granny who regularly saves the day I’m getting into the swing of it!
Do you have any advice for readers looking to run their own business?
If you have an idea – do the research and get on with it. It’s a hell of a rollercoaster but it’s worth the ride! And don’t underestimate how much your friends can help you.
Which are your top three pieces of jewellery?
This is always changing but my current favourites are:
– Walton Russian Wedding Ring – made by our wonderful workshop in England in 9ct or 18ct gold. We can engrave the inside of the bands with names or a message too.
– Bali Birthstone Necklace – I have my son’s initial engraved on one side and his date of birth engraved on the reverse.
– The Montmartre Watches – I have the almond and powder blue with Rose Gold case, I never take it off