Indie Interview: Custom Made
Today on the Indie Oxford blog, I catch up with Anna Butler, owner of Custom Made, an awesome jewellery business based in north Oxford, to find out how she starts to create new ranges, where she finds inspiration, and what she has in store in autumn winter 2021. Anna’s design style fuses minimal design with colour, shape and pattern, while cleverly using trends to keep the collection fresh and forward focussed.
Let’s dive in >>
What is the inspiration behind the Custom Made AW21 range?
I have lots of different mini collections in the range, but I’m currently working on a mini collection with a working title of Abstract Florals. I always start a season with a colour palette and go from there. I wanted to work on a new acrylic mini collection and was looking at colours so ordered samples of a new matt acrylic range and instantly fell in love. I’ve been very inspired by florals lately but wanted to give the floral collection a very ‘Custom Made’ look. I am very inspired by colour and minimal abstract shapes so went from there. I’m still in the design stages but wanted to share my development work with you.
How do you choose the colours and shapes from your initial ideas?
Like I said, I always start with a colour palette for the season. The colours are chosen from colours I love and predictions for the season ahead. I sit and play with a colour palette working out how colours will sit together.
Then I sit and draw (in adobe illustrator) at this point I will probably have some initial shape ideas in my mind. Its just a case of extracting and developing them. One of the abstract flower shapes I have been developing I had been playing with some time ago (I was actually working on some homewares).
How do you structure your range?
Again this happens organically as I’m designing, but ranges are always earring heavy. My customers LOVE earrings.
How do you make sure you stick to deadlines and launch dates when you’re self-employed?
I have to be very strict with myself or things can drift when it comes to design. Having said that design can’t really be slotted into time boxes. Luckily a large part of my business is wholesale so I’m very used to meeting deadlines. When I process a wholesale order I give the customer a shipping date and I’m NEVER late! But, like I say design is such a fluid thing, meeting deadlines for finalising designs is much harder. But there are certain seasonal deadlines that have to be met so I work to those.
Are you looking forward to events again?
I really am. Its been a LONG time since I last did an in person event. I think the last was December 2019! Which now I write that down is crazy. So yes, cant wait, I love chatting to customers and fellow traders so it’s a very welcome change.