Tessa Packard…. tell us how it all began?
My business really started as a teenage pipedream. I wanted to be a famous accessories designer but after leaving university I found myself immersed in the art world, working for a Mayfair gallery and specialising in both Brazilian Concrete art and the Impressionist and Modern sectors. After four years, I realised that my passion for drawing and designing hadn’t subsided one bit; and if I was ever going to make the transition from fine art to fine jewellery, now was the time. Tessa Packard London launched in April 2013 and I’m yet to have one regret about making the change.
We are big fans of your jewellery at Yawn HQ! It’s elegant yet playful. What inspires you?
Lost cultures, ancient civilizations, the canon of History of Art and quintessential ‘Britishness’ tend to be my main sources of inspiration. I like the jewellery I design to convey a sense of story-telling quality – a playfulness if you will. Jewellery should be more than just pretty stones paired with shiny metal – it should have narrative integrity and heart.
When I design jewellery I always think to myself, ‘Would this piece look as impressive worn with jeans and a crisp, white shirt as it would paired with a cocktail dress?”.
You’ve acted as a business mentor as well as a being a regular speaker at entrepreneurial workshops and Women in Business events. Could you share some advice for any new entrepreneurs wanting to get their brand out there?
I think perseverance and tenacity are key – luxury products need driven, determined entrepreneurs behind them in order to succeed. The luxury sector is just too saturated with beautiful objects for one to be anything but stubborn in their resolve to succeed.
Do you have a favourite piece from your collection?
I have always loved the structural design of the Mexicana Ring. Bold, beautiful and bright, it is quintessentially Tessa Packard London in style. It’s also a ring of pleasing juxtapositions: weighty yet comfortable on the finger, statement yet undeniably wearable with an element of brilliant engineering at its heart - the sapphire band can rotate and slot out of the ring, allowing the ring to be worn in more ways than one.
You seem like a busy woman! Describe your typical day working day….
No two days are the same!
If I am designing a new collection I will be holed away at home in Scotland, ideally next to a roaring fire and a pile of dachshunds at my feet. I’ll break for a quick lunch and a head-clearing walk around the hills, but other than that I’m glued to my desk, playing around with gemstone combinations and meticulous measurements.
If I’m based in London I’ll start the day early with breakfast and emails – one hand on the spoon and the other on the mouse. I like to use this time to gather my thoughts and plan the day ahead before the chaos starts.
The rest of the team arrive at 9am, and its now that we will often sit together and run through the agenda, especially if it happens to be a Monday morning. The rest of the day is then a mixture of press meetings, client appointments, photo-shoots, workshop visits and graphic design work.
Whether at home in Scotland or at the office in London, I’m now usually done by about 6.30pm. When I first launched the business I would often work until 9pm or 10pm at night. Thankfully that now happens only in case of emergency, and we do try our best not to have too many of those!
And after hours how do you like to relax?
I’m getting better at switching off in the evenings, although I do still find it hard at times. Instagram is my weakness – I just can’t help checking it last thing at night and that does sometimes get my head spinning with ideas when really it should be switching off.
I am at my most relaxed in the countryside, the less mobile reception the better. Take me on a long walk, pour me a stiff G&T, put me next to a roaring fire, press play on re-runs of Game Of Thrones and I’m all yours.
We shot some behind the scenes images of Tessa's studio which you can check out on Instagram @yawnlondon
You can stay up to date with Tessa's designs at www.tessapackard.com