Inspired, award-winning collections
Kate Chapman talks to the team behind the elegant, stylish and sustainable luxury jewellery brand Daniella Draper, which makes pieces to stand the test of time while creating heirlooms for now and generations to come.
Manufactured in the UK using 100 per cent recycled gold and silver, Daniella Draper’s award-winning collection is inspired by everything around her – from nature to history and travel to romance – making her pieces bold and striking while remaining classic and timeless in design. And it is the inspiration from the natural world in particular that comes with an inherent responsibility to preserve and protect it.
Despite a turbulent few months due to coronavirus, the family-run business, born in Cleethorpes, has gone from strength to strength securing the prestigious Positive Luxury Butterfly Mark for its social and environmental impact. The brand, which already has four stand-alone stores in Cleethorpes, Lincoln, Beverley and Bowness, is also poised to open its fifth boutique in Knutsford, Cheshire, once the latest lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Creative director Holly Draper says the team is thrilled to have been awarded the Butterfly Mark accreditation, which identifies luxury brands that meet the highest standards of verified innovation and environmental performance. Based on its commitment to creating luxury jewellery with sustainability in mind, Daniella Draper jewellery has been certified with 12 positive actions, including using recycled gold, responsible sourcing of gemstones and contribution to CO2 reduction.
“We know we have a responsibility as a brand to do what we can to support the environment and this is really important to us,” says Holly. “Being awarded the Butterfly Mark certification is an amazing confirmation of our work so far, but we know we can do more and will continue to do so.”
She adds that the success comes at the same time as the British jewellers completes its sixth month working with climate activists Ecologi to aid reduction in carbon emissions and support initiatives to protect the planet. During the last six months the brand has planted 3,068 trees and offset 280.08 tonnes of CO2e – the equivalent to 215 long haul flights or 1,118,296km driven in a car.
Daniella has always been passionate about jewellery; her love of beautiful things was a defining characteristic from an early age, motivating her to build up a formidable collection of treasures, which still inspires her work today.
She explains: “I have always loved jewellery, although I never really saw it as a route to go down career-wise until I started a foundation course in art and design at De Montfort University.
“I’ve always been quite creative and enjoyed art; there was a jewellery design department at De Montfort where I started working with metal initially. I began making sculptures and found metal work came quite naturally to me.
“From doing that course it gave me the confidence to apply for a degree in jewellery design at Central St Martin’s in London – and that’s where I learned the skills for design and metal working,” says Daniella, whose pieces have been spotted on HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, Ed Sheeran, Kate Moss and Love Island’s Amber Davies.
Daniella describes her style of her work as classic – simple, organic and textured. Her collection includes necklaces, rings, bracelets, stacking bangles and charms as well as personalised and bespoke items, plus pieces for men too.
“I started off making pieces that I would like to wear myself and it went from there.
“Initially I was doing a lot of carving and my sculpture work helped to hone my style. While I was completing my degree, my main inspiration came from ancient jewellery. I spent hours in the British Museum and the V&A looking at the Roman and Greek jewellery, researching its texture – it was quite solid, and had a beautiful finish to it that I love. It was also very simple – which is what I tend to like myself.”
Following her graduation in 2009, Daniella returned to her Lincolnshire roots where she has built up her own luxury brand, using quality precious metals including solid sterling silver, 9ct gold, white and rose gold and platinum combined with experienced, skilled craftsmanship, which all add to her collection’s trademark style.
The Draper team – which has grown to more than 50 employees – has worked hard to create practices of making jewellery that keeps its handcrafted charm, but also ensures its high quality.
As the business looks to the future, company director Della – Daniella’s mum – says the team has been focussing on customer service during the coronavirus pandemic and has put several measures in place to help customers continue to shop with confidence.
“It’s been a very difficult time for everyone,” adds Della, “Christmas is our busiest times of year – before the latest lockdown we set on a lot more staff covering customer service so that we can offer virtual appointments where people can call or video call us and talk to someone about the collection.
“We can talk to them about styling advice and gifting ideas – it’s the next best thing to coming in store. There’s also the option to chat online with an advisor and get help. When we do re-open we’re planning to offer one-on-one appointments upstairs, above our Lincoln store for those who are feeling a bit more vulnerable about coming out to shop.”
Following the first national lockdown the team was forced to close its workshop for two weeks before a small number of people returned to deal with customer orders and concerns.
Della says: “Customers were so happy that there was someone there for them to speak to. Whatever’s going on there are still anniversaries and birthdays and although people couldn’t go out and shop they could still send gifts in the post.
“We were here to help them, we’ve overhauled our website to make international orders easier and when we were able to re-open our shops we made them as welcoming as possible, with all the sanitisation and PPE in place, including spare masks for those who had come out without theirs.
“We’ve tried to do every single thing that we can to make it as easy as possible for customers and for our staff, who have all been fantastic throughout this time.
“It’s been tough for us as a business, but we have worked hard and hopefully the customers appreciate that. Once the November lockdown is over we’re looking forward to opening our new store and continuing to grow the brand.”