Introducing Sarah Parham, the Queen of Rings and her unique brand SVP. After a 20 year long career in advertising, Sarah made the leap in jewellery design creating sparkling, adjustable rings to fit any finger. With the option to shop the rings by gemstone, allowing customers a deep personal connection to their jewellery, SVP creates enviable statement rings which are on my Christmas list and I’m sure will be on many of yours as well.
Sarah shares with us the full story of how SVP began, the initial design which sparked the interest of retailers, the factory checking in Jaipur and of course the importance of developing a connection with the craftspeople that she would eventually launch her stunning brand with. Read on to discover the amazing story which began the adventure of SVP.
Hello Sarah, thank you very much for taking the time to share your story with us.
You are a “different kind of jewellery brand” offering a wide range of eye-catching designs. Can you tell us what started this adventure?
Since I was little I have always been obsessed by fashion, jewellery and accessories, but at the age of 19 I found myself in advertising. That is where I stayed for over 20 years working in some of London’s leading agencies as an Art Director and Creative Director.
Keen to follow my passion I started jewellery classes and then my husband moved to Mumbai in India. I stayed behind in the U.K. to work and visited often.
We went travelling up to Rajasthan and a woman my husband had previously employed had gone back to her home in Jaipur to work in the family jewellery business. We were invited round for tea, I was led down a sweeping staircase into a room full of gemstones, it was like being in the most fantastic sweet shop. The family very kindly let me design a ring.
When I got back to the U.K friends loved what I had designed and asked if I could order them one.
I didn’t want to bother the family too much so I asked for people’s finger sizes and no one knew so I decided to design a ring that could fit any finger. After 5 attempts we got the curvature of the band right making it comfortable to wear and simple.
Retailers saw it and wanted some for their shops, I got into three retailers in the first month and then gave myself another month to get two more without a rejection – I then quit my job and the real work began.
I got a business mentor and started from scratch learning about margins, SKU codes, stock control and logistics. I quickly realised there were problems with the supply chain. The key issues were:
- Large minimums on gemstones
- Difficulty with developing width rather than depth of stock
I flew out to Jaipur and spent days and weeks spot-checking factories on my own. I found a driver who was great, I did desk research and just set off with a knowledge of not a lot – but if I was going to learn this industry from the inside out, I had to start from the beginning.
My search took me to many suppliers, I trialled a few but after one delivery I struck them off – one was late, the other was cutting corners on quality, and most important l I didn’t feel a connection and felt that I wouldn’t be able to fully trust them and that was key for me.
A year and a half of looking and trialling I finally found my current craftspeople.
The relationship has complete trust running across it, we work side by side twice a year which we plan to take to three and I stay as long as we both need to be together. We also speak most days, I spent time developing a relationship before we went to samples, I met his wife and son and took tea with them.
Samples done, we then sat together to discuss SVP, the future, what I needed and why and what obstacles we both needed to overcome. They understood the concept, the idea and have said I work in exciting refreshing ways with an idea that no one has taken and owned and they want to be a part of our success and growth.
You offer the option to shop SVP rings by gemstone meaning, is the meaning behind different stones something which has interested you for a long time?
Yes there is a section on the website where you can shop by gemstone meaning. I love jewellery that gives the receiver a personal and emotional connection and shopping by gemstone meaning does just that.
Do you have a favourite gemstone?
I love black quartz and gold together - black quartz is worn for happiness and I always wear two or three pieces of it.
I love how open you are chatting with women who may need some help or advice on what to do when at a career or lifetime crossroads. The fashion and jewellery industry can often be quite exclusive, is this openness and connection with people something which is at the core of your business?
My mantra is Change is Beautiful. Our rings change size and can be stacked, banded and styled to suit peoples style, mood and outfit. I have issues with my immune system most of my life and I hate the career I was in and have constantly made changes for better health and happiness, I love sharing how I have done that and I am proof that you don’t have to stay stuck in an unhappy rut. We are here once and change is beautiful - and - empowering and rewarding too.
On your website you say that; “small changes can lead to better health and happiness”, what was the best small change you’ve made in your life?
Leaving my job in advertising (that was a big one), getting a dog and changing my diet.
I believe that sleep plays a vital role in personal health and happiness, what role does it play in your life? Do you have any night time routines which will set you up for a restful sleep?
I find as I have got older, sleep becomes more difficult. A great pair of PJs, a nice bath, a cuddle with Maureen and I love listening to crime podcasts for some weird reason it seems to lull me to sleep.