LET’S TAKE A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE…

Can Team Alyssa scoop the trophy- commonly referred to the Oscars of the jewellery world!

The UK Jewellery Awards 2018 are fast approaching- the glittering awards night is taking place on July 4th this year (Alyssa’s dress is at the ready – you may have spotted it on social media!)

 

ALYSSA HAS MADE IT THROUGH AND BEEN NAMED A FINALIST IN THE CATEGORY FOR ‘BEST JEWELLERY DESIGNER OF THE YEAR’ (Eeeeekkkk!!!!)
 

We just cannot believe it!! For those outside of the industry and those who have never heard of these prestigious awards, we can only refer to them as the Oscars of the jewellery world. Nominee’s flashing up on the large screens will often include global brands and household names such as Pandora, John Lewis and Swarovski- but this year, there is a little boutique brand who will also be flashing up- and its designer- Alyssa, of Alyssa Smith Jewellery!

This award is one that Alyssa has always wanted (or more accurately, dreamed!) of being considered for- and this year, that has finally come true! We don’t find out if she’s won until July- but I think we can safely say that even making it through to the finals for this one is good enough in our books. Our boutique and niche jewellery brand are one that we are so proud of, and in the great scheme of things- is still a baby. Currently just 8 years old and started right after Alyssa graduated from University- it was a company that was born from nothing but pure passion for creating beautiful jewellery- and not from someone with any previous knowledge of training of business, or how to start or grow a brand. That being said- Alyssa soon learnt to leave her mark on the jewellery industry. Whilst we eagerly await the announcement (and we promise we won’t cry if we don’t win!) we thought this would be a brilliant opportunity to give you a little recap of our journey. This is for both our older customers who have followed our journey for many years and seen us grow, struggle, overcome and expand again, and a little reminder of the years gone past- and for those of you who are new to falling in love with our jewellery and brand! We would love you to see, in a nutshell so to speak, just how far we have come on our journey into the jewellery world until 2018. We still have a long way to go, and so many more designs to share with you all though, so don’t think it ends here!

 

Make yourself comfy, pour yourself your favourite brew and we shall begin…

 

Alyssa Smith Jewellery – Where It All Began

Let’s start with a look back to the early days of Alyssa Smith Jewellery and the first successful piece Alyssa designed – the Tweetie bird. This piece was inspired by the Twitter bird logo.
Travel back in time to 2010, social media was only just becoming BIG and Alyssa wanted to make something different, off the wall and totally unique. Something that had not been explored in jewellery before was the theme of social media its self - so this was a brilliant idea- and actually the reason Alyssa managed to break into the jewellery industry. She had made other designs before hand- inspired by nature, animals, you get the idea- but nothing that really stood out as totally UNIQUE.
Now, we must remind you that it wasn’t the exact Twitter bird and just inspired by, but perfect for all social media fans.  Alyssa also launched a series of other social media inspired pieces including a ‘totes’ necklace (which for those of you scratching your head, means Totally!) and a hashtag necklace too. It was the Tweetie design that helped us establish our place in the jewellery industry though with our unique, socially led brand. Celebrities such our very own Suzi Perry, as well as Sheridan Smith, Gail Porter, Dawn O ‘Porter to name but a few (wow!) were all posting photos of themselves in their Tweetie jewellery! Theo Paphitis even has Tweetie cufflinks (more about Theo’s role in ASJ’s later)! Before the Tweetie design was released, Alyssa Smith Jewellery didn’t even have its own website and people would just ring up to place an order and send a cheque. How things have changed!!!
We have since anchored out feet firmly within jewellery industry with our socially inspired, demand driven and unique miniature masterpieces.
Winning countless industry awards and crossing our fingers and toes for another title at the Jewellery Awards this year are just a few of the successes we’ve found along the way! (But hang on, just to let you know- it’s not all singing and dancing- we would be lying if we said we hadn’t had doors slammed in our faces, opportunities taken away from us and things go wrong. So, we would just like to add that for anyone out there who thinks business is all glorious!)
We hope our little business continues to grow in the way it has since 2010!! We may be tempted to bring this original, best-selling design back one day... but we might make many more new pieces instead.





Moving into Motorsports Jewellery

Fast forwarding from 2010, but actually way back in 2013-  Suzi Perry landed the prestigious job as Motorsports TV Broadcaster, which of course she was fantastic at. Suzi (who had worn some of Alyssa’s early designs including the Tweetie bird above) and was a huge support to Alyssa, asked her to make her something F1 inspired for her to wear for her new job - so Alyssa cut around a teeny chequered flag and waved it with pliers to create the VERY FIRST PIECE of motorsports jewellery - and Twitter went absolutely crazy for it!
It was first designed and made just for Suzi to wear on TV, but soon- you all wanted one too (and we can see why)!!! This was the first motorsports themed piece we ever launched and that is how the Smith & Perry collection was born. It really was that simple! There was no great plan or mastermind behind it really- and Alyssa then started making small race tracks and sending them all over the world to Suzi’s hotel for her to wear at each race on TV - the demand for it was huge!

Since then, the collection has grown and grown, with us adding a few new tracks each year and we now have so many race tracks for sale, and even pistons which move on a tiny hinge now! You may also not be aware that we donate proceeds from the sale of each piece from the Smith and Perry collection to Promise Dreams Children’s Charity, which Suzi is patron of. So, every piece you purchase has contributed to the £10,000+ we have already donated to them. Amazing!!! We are so proud of this!
 
Find our flags here, which are still available in our very original design as the necklace, and now in even SMALLER perfectly engineered designs as charms and earrings too




Theo’s advice was golden

For the next chapter of our wonderful story, we are fast forwarding another 2 years to 2015.

After a meeting with entrepreneur, Theo Paphitis, Alyssa was given a very valuable golden nugget of advice from him (thank you Theo!!!) - He strongly suggested that Alyssa needed to work out how to make her designs in 3D - and give them an extra edge. Feeling that she had hit a brick wall, Alyssa left feeling this was never going to be achievable and that she would never grow the company in the way she wanted.
But not one to give up, she saved as many profits from the business as possible and designed the very first 3D piece - the miniature solid sterling silver crash helmet! This took Facebook (as well as twitter) by storm and we sold out of our first batch in just 1 week (wow!!!). They were signed by Suzi herself on the back on the helmet. We have now expanded the range to include one with a Silverstone logo on the back, driver/rider numbers and a personalisation service to choose your own engraving too! The helmet is still as popular today as it was when it first launched. A firm favourite with you all!


2015 really was a fabulous year for ASJ and actually, a turning point in both terms of design and growth!!! The first 3D design was born, and the creation of Team Alyssa too!... Find out how Nat and Jade joined the team in our next chapter!!!

 

Team Alyssa was born!!!

Around the same time as Alyssa's incredibly useful meeting with Theo, Natalie and Jade joined Alyssa's magical kingdom- commonly and actually now officially (even by royal mail!) known as Sparkle Towers HQ.  
Natalie actually came on to the scene way back in 2011 as a customer (after spotting the Tweetie design on Dawn O ‘Porter) and soon became a walking, talking, sparkly advert for ASJ! Hehe!! 😉

 

Natalie joined Alyssa in July 2015 to help with social media and general customer enquiries, she knew almost as much about Alyssa’s products as Alyssa herself, so she was the obvious choice when the position became available. She is regularly seen floating around in cyber space helping you with all your queries!! Don't forget to say hi to her next time you visit our social media pages! In the October, Jade joined the team as Apprentice extraordinaire, Alyssa’s PA, and helped with the endless customer enquires too (we all love chatting to you all…by the way!)

Jade is just about to complete level 3 of her apprenticeship and will soon be progressing to management training with Alyssa! Well done Jade! It’s a fantastic achievement whilst working full time too!

Team Alyssa was then born! Team Alyssa are often seen causing mischief and mayhem wherever they go – and you wouldn’t want to see it any other way, right? 😉

Wow!! 2015 really was a fabulous year for ASJ!!! The first 3D design and an expansion of the team!! Thank you to Theo for such valuable advice, which has helped to shape ASJ today!! Alyssa proved that ‘I’m possible’ even when it seemed ‘impossible’ to produce a 3D design.  


DREAM BIG, SHINE BRIGHT

What year is it now!? Oh! Yes- 3 years later and we’re in 2018 in our penultimate chapter of the story.

Since she can remember, Alyssa has always dreamed being in the same category and awarding body as the large brands such as Pandora, Swarovski and John Lewis - and this year we have made our mark in the jewellery industry with our innovative designs! We can’t wait to find out if we have won at the UK Jewellery Awards this July - but even getting this far is such a huge achievement for a boutique, niche brand such as ours. And wearing a sparkly dress to the awards do is an added bonus!!! 😉

Moving into more 3D designs was a turning point for Alyssa Smith Jewellery. We also designed and added our very first MOVING piece to the collection in 2016, the incredible miniature sterling silver piston, this innovative design has proved very popular with the motorsport community - and also our stunning tyre which actually spins - we love playing with these on our bracelets and we hope you do too.

Following on from this, our first non-motorsports 3D piece arrived!!! A teeny-weeny dinosaur came back from extinction – and we welcomed Dinky the dinosaur into the ASJ family!!! This little guy is still one of our favourites (and yours too) and he has a few more friends to play with now! 😉

Both the motorsports and non-motorsports areas of the brand are expanding and growing with new 3D pieces being added to the collection each year! We now have miniature cars (scaled down replicas of the real thing (incredible!!!), motorbikes, engine parts, an entire zoo of animals and our incredible opening Babushka locket with a secret!! Wow!!


 

Facing the judges

You may remember that Alyssa attended the judging day on 11th May 2018 for the UK Jewellery Awards, taking with her a selection of our finest miniature masterpieces. These were our most innovative and revolutionary pieces from over the past 12 months – we hope the judges loved them. The requirements for the awards were that we had to take along, 5 pieces that had been designed and made between January 2017 and January 2018.

First up was our miniature Hesketh 308 car, this is a replica of James Hunt’s actual racing car, scaled right down into thumb nail size. We spent MONTHS of designing and product development before they were ready to show to our lovely customers!! Attention to detail is totally our 'thing' when it comes to jewellery- even down to the brush stroke sized gold-plated stripes and miniature 308 logo which has been applied to the base of EVERY....SINGLE....ONE!


Next up was our Hesketh Bear, a 2D yellow bear turned into 3-dimensional perfect form. This tiny bear features an engraved union jack across his helmet, and the base of every bear features the ‘Hesketh by ASJ’ logo. Perfect for those wanting to wear a little piece of history every day!

We also took our incredible piston (our first ever moving piece!!!!) a miniature engine part which isn’t the car itself, but part of the inside. Making something normally not wearable - into a wearable item. And the movement on this piece makes it stand out!!!

Last, but most definitely not least, we took our miniature opening Russian doll locket. This incredible piece opens on the tiniest of hinges to reveal a secret inside! A glittering crystal to represent a birthday, anniversary of special date. Wow!! She is made entirely in sterling silver, with delicate engraved features. She has been a firm favourite with you all since her arrival.

 
We really hope the judges were blown away with our miniature masterpieces. Fingers, toes and anything else you can think of crossed for a happy ending for Alyssa and the Team - getting to the finals is insane and a huge honour anyway, but we would be over the moon if our designs were considered different enough to win!!! Squeeeee!!!! 
 
Thanks to all our customers for your continued support, it really means the world to us. Our aim is to continue bringing you even more amazing, miniature masterpieces and more collaborations with organisations and brands who we feel you would love. Don’t forget though- we also have a bespoke jewellery service where we can make you a unique design just for yourself (or a loved one!) This is a great way to make something personal for yourself that you can love and keep forever- we just love making sentimental pieces for you and it brings another dimension to our jewellery design!
 
 
Lots of love and thank you so much for reading our story so far!
 
 Team Alyssa xoxo
 
Written by-Natalie
Edited by- Alyssa

And Now for a little bit of history - Combining the old with the new!


At ASJ we have long been fans of the super cute "babushka dolls" that you are probably already familiar with from your own childhood memories. Probably to put it more accurately, anything collectable, tiny and adorable has got our names all over it!

 

In case you aren’t too familiar, this little traditional set of wooden dolls decrease in size, and fit one inside another- the smallest one being everyones favourite- right?

 

Nat’s mum has a set of Russian Dolls which are very traditional in appearance with the well known facial features and colours, and Nat always remembers playing with them as a child; unpacking and packing the little dolls together, and getting to the teeny tiny baby at the centre- which was always her favourite!

 

Alyssa, on the other hand collected wooden Russian Dolls as a child, but would always take the teeniest, baby doll out and replace that with something else- taking the baby doll out and introducing it as the new baby to her other collection of Sylvanian families!

 

But there is something we will always remember about these little collectables- and it’s the noise! Who remembers the noise of the screeching wooden dolls as you stacked and unstacked them?

 

And for a little bit of history- These dolls are also known as Matryoshka dolls, Russian nesting dolls or stacking dolls- The outer layer is traditionally always a Russian woman or Babushka (meaning "grandmother" or "old woman"), dressed in a sarafan, a traditional Russian peasant jumper dress.

 

The smallest doll is typically a tiny baby, crafted from a single piece of wood- and the smallest baby doll does not open. 

 

These lovely little dolls are thought to symbolise fertility (due to their egg-like shape!) and generally show different generations of a family, starting with the grandmother down to the younger family members- isn’t that just lovely?

 

 

According to history, the first Russian doll set was made in 1890, and over time they have become a symbol of Russia itself.

 

 

We just love an intricate pattern, so it’s no wonder we are so fascinated with these little dolls-

 

You’ve probably noticed that these dolls are beautifully decorated in bright colours and patterns- usually in a folk style, with flowers being one of the most traditional themes! Each type of flower represents the city where the dolls are crafted; usually, the flowers are painted as designs on the shawls and aprons of the Babushka. We’ve incorporated this intricate floral design into our tiny, miniature version in sterling silver- using special laser engraving techniques- because if one thing is for sure, we couldn’t miss the beautiful patterns from our own version, could we?

 

 

The Babushka doll is a symbol of a strong female matriarch, and traditionally a central figure in the Russian family. As an up and coming British brand with strong and dedicated females at the heart of the company, we thought this new piece was not just a beautiful new addition to our jewellery collection, but that she is also a perfect symbol of #girlpower!

 

Our new “Babushka” is expertly crafted in sterling silver (as all our pieces are) and she is so tiny! She stands no bigger than a finger nail in size, at just 1.3cm in height – and has a pretty incredible surprise too…. Not the kinder surprise type- this surprise is even better!

 

Both our Babushka necklace and charm open in the middle, just like the traditional dolls, but on a tiny, weeny secret hinge! You have the option to have our Babushka as plain sterling silver, or you can add a little Swarovski crystal birthstone inside your Babushka to represent a special birthday or anniversary. You can even opt for a rose quartz coloured Swarovski crystal to symbolise the stone of ‘love’!

 

Only you will know Babushka’s secret!! How special is that!?

 

We really hope you will love this strong symbolic piece as much as we have enjoyed the project of it’s design and innovation…We think it’s just zoomed straight to the top of our favourites list!!!

 

Writer- Natalie

Editor- Alyssa