B meets Toolally
What do you get when you combine acrylic, perspex, colour, ears, personality, sculpture, art and Yorkshire? Toolally of course! Not as strange as it sounds but founder Mags loves a combo, colour combo that is.
Clearly we love colour and something statement at Studio B and Toolally is just hitting us bang on in the, erm, ears! If you want fabulous earrings that really stand out but are also extremely light and comfortable then this is for you. This is one of those brands you can tell is created by women for women. Now since Toolally are a Yorkshire based brand get yourself a cup of Yorkshire tea, our favourite drink, (expect for fizz, red wine, gin, blush in the summer... okay our fave hot drink) and read more about founder Mags below, her history, how she designs, why she does it. Grab a biscuit too and you might as well buy a pair of earrings whilst you're indulging anyway.
THE HILLS ARE ALIVE... WITH ACRYLIC
I started Toolally in 2015 and am the Creative Director. We design and hand make statement jewellery, mostly earrings, from acrylic (for the colour palette and weightlessness) and sterling silver or gold vermeil fastenings for quality and finish. We have a gorgeous workshop in Barnoldswick, nestled between the Yorkshire and Lancashire hills, and a design and admin office based at Broughton Hall just outside Skipton.
What drove me to start making jewellery, and still does, is a desire to bring a little glamour back to fashion. To give women the confidence to show their personality in the things they wear and not be afraid to dress up a little. When I first started, I knew I wanted our jewellery to be different. It had to stand out from the crowd, but also be elegant. Yes, our jewellery is fun and colourful, fashion should be fun, but it's also extremely flattering and comfortable to wear.
FINANCE FOLLOWED BY FASHION
I actually started out in finance - I trained to be a chartered accountant with PWC and after I qualified I moved into corporate finance for a while before becoming a Financial Director for an advertising agency. I wasn’t a typical accountant, I have always loved art, design and fashion. Creative pursuits were considered hobbies in my family - something you could always go back to once you’d got a ‘proper’ job and financial security. I then started my own brand design agency back in 2006 and have worked with lots of exciting companies creating/managing brands. Toolally emerged from a desire to have a brand of my own!
THE FINISHING TOUCH
At the risk of sounding cliched, inspiration is all around. It comes from our customers, our surroundings and our imagination. It comes from a love of art and a love of fashion. For me jewellery is all about the finishing touches, the perfect piece that brings a look together and completes the picture.
My design process usually starts with an outfit and consideration of what earrings will look best with it, that inspires the shape and colours and so I start to scribble - old school with a pencil. We then work out the technical bits; how it fits together, where the joins should be etc. It’s sculpture as well as art which makes it so satisfying when something really works. Once the drawings are done we prototype in the studio in just one colour to make sure it all works structurally, then the colour combining begins, that can be the hardest part. I tend to look at what works in nature, as well as what suits people’s colouring and then lastly colour trends. I think it's more important that the colours work together and are flattering rather than that they are on trend. B – Exactly! Style over trend will alwyas have longevity, that’s what we’re going for with Studio B, pieces that you’ll love year after year (we know we’re not cheap but we’re a good quailty, feel nice, long lasting, love forever, statement kinda gal).
The hardest thing to do is not take things too personally; each design really does come from the heart and takes time and alot of trial and error. The best bit of all is when customers send us their pictures wearing their Toolally’s and tell us how much they love them. Also the love and feedback we get from press and buyers is thrilling!
PUSH IT, PUSH IT REAL GOOD
Make sure that what you do has something unique about it and then accept nothing but the best you can do from yourself. Good enough just won’t cut it. You have to keep trying, keep listening to your customers, keep adapting and never give up. Be tenacious - you have to believe in what you do and love it or why should anyone else.
Photo credit: Mags - founder and creative director of Toolally.