UKFT Rise – Founder feature with fine jewellery brand The Winter House
Meet UKFT Rise Subscriber The Winter House, a genderless, fine jewellery brand based in Enfield, East London. Founded by Liam J Winter in February 2022, the brand offers sculptural rings, necklaces and bracelets with a dark and surreal undertone. Liam said:
“Our jewellery occupies the space between discomfort and desire, it urges you to lean in closer and rejects you with equal force. The outskirts of this city require a harshness of you, it feels as though you must adapt, or they’ll claim you. This environment inspires pieces that are equally abrasive, sculptural, dark and surreal.
I am bringing grillz into the sculptural, luxury fashion space, offering surreal mouth jewellery, inspired by my home. We are dedicated to sculpturally challenging concepts as sacred as the cuban link or the signet ring in the same way.”
Scroll down to read The Winter House feature with UKFT Rise.
- Company launched in: We launched The Winter House in February 2022.
- Company based in: We work from our small studio in Enfield, North London.
- How many people are in your team? Myself and my business partner Alex Nijhoff are the core of The Winter House. We work closely with a dedicated community of talented individuals and partners in and around the city including metal casters, jewellers, stylists and mentors.
- My background is in… I moved to London to study at Central St Martins to pursue a career in fashion, before quickly deciding that I’d rather go into the film industry – leaving CSM to study film at The University of Westminster. This is where I met Alex, who was also studying film. A few years after Graduating I started Winter House and knew I needed Alex on board to build the brand world with me. We definitely didn’t take the typical path to start a fine jewellery brand – but we don’t have a typical fine jewellery brand.
- I decided to start my business because… The Winter House is the materialisation of this fantasy world that I couldn’t stop thinking about since moving to North London. I wanted to draw attention to the thorns and the roots, more than the flower for a change. I wanted to produce objects that challenge the viewer (or wearer), forcing them to confront their own desires.
- Something that really helped in getting my business off the ground is… A dedicated network of industry mentors and organisations is unbelievably helpful. As a bit of an introvert it hasn’t come naturally, but actively networking with the support of organisations like UKFT has led to some crucial connections. These “mentors” have already faced all of the obstacles and can provide advice only seasoned veterans possibly could.
- One thing that’s going really well is… We have recently been selected as one of the five recipients of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative. NEWGEN will be supporting The Winter House with a financial grant, showcasing opportunities and individual mentoring and training. Receiving this grant reaffirms that The Winter House is set to do some very exciting things in the coming years.
- An area of business I’d like to gain more knowledge of is… I’d love to know more about International trade. The world is more connected than ever; your potential customer is no longer bound to your local area. I’m increasingly curious about reaching and doing business in early adopting markets such as Japan.
- A brand I find inspiring is… One I’ve found really inspiring recently is Elena Velez (@elenavelez). The way to tell if a brand is strong regardless of aesthetic, in my opinion, is if all of the disparate elements (styling, products, photography, celebrities etc) combine to be more than the sum of their parts. To me, Elena Velez feels vivid and tangible, and inspires you to imagine the rest of the world through its lens – I can imagine what an Elena Velez armchair would look like if that makes sense.
- Something happening in the industry that’s inspiring me right now is… The gradual recognition that waste and pollution are the result of faulty, systemic design decisions and the resulting evolution of circular business practices. It is becoming commonplace to implement sustainability and international standards into business models, such as those outlined by the Institute of Positive Fashion.
- One thing I wish I’d known before launching is… There’s very little downside to shooting your shot. I wrongly assumed that we had to wait until we were fully established to reach out to boutiques or stylists etc. I thought that if they said “no” then that was it forever. Turns out a “no” isn’t terminal, you can always reach out in future so just shoot your shot, you’ve got nothing to lose.
- Success for me looks like… The moment of success for us is when we finally see the image or object that we’ve been working towards, when we look at it and go “yeah, that’s Winter House”. The challenge is to not attribute success to how well something’s received, as that’s not what it’s about.
Discover The Winter House:
UKFT Rise is a free-to-join community of early-stage (under 3 years trading) fashion and textile businesses looking to build a network of supportive like-minded people. We also welcome anyone who is thinking of starting a fashion/textile company in the near future.
The Winter House is a UKFT Rise subscriber.
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