FK chats to talented Jen of jewellery label Jen Booth, about what inspires her and exciting times to come, including debuting at the upcoming Melbourne markets!
Tell us about your label Jen Booth and what inspired you to create such gorgeous leather lockets?
Well it’s a bit of a romantic novel of a story, but here goes. A couple of years ago, en route to Las Vegas for a special birthday of my now husband, we stopped in Hawaii and Philip asked me to marry him! Only on a deserted beach with a heart shaped shell! I know. I know. I was pretty scared of losing the shell since it was only about 1cm, so I went on a locket hunt. But lockets are made of silver and gold aren’t they? And aren’t really designed for more than a photo. At the time I was working with leather and decided to stitch up a tiny leather pouch to house it. Bam! That was it. And the more people I told the more people wanted a leather locket of their own to keep something teeny tiny, safe.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
Straight out of school I became a makeup artist. I loved the creativity and playing with colours and using the back of my hand as a palette… but I couldn’t handle everyone requesting beige makeup. I had a stint using my Super Smelling Nose and then as a milliner most recently, which is where I fell in love with working with leather.
What inspires your work? and what keeps you motivated creatively?
Colour inspires me. I think that has to be first and foremost. And it can be anything. Hair. The lilac house near my street. The golden cactus Holly gave me. The rope section in hardware stores. Anenomes. Grimes’ video clip. The clash of two colours together actually gives me an adrenalin rush. A trip to the leather shop. I can get overwhelmed with visuals, so I am not into Pinterest. it just looks TOO stimulating! And I’ve realised I only visit about 4 blogs religiously. Any more and I just. can’t. cope.
What does a typical day involve for Jen Booth?
I have just recently started getting up earlier. Inspired partially by the Paul Smith documentary. He gets up super early and gets so much done before most people are out of bed. I get anxious wasting time, so this is something I probably should have actioned a while ago.
Cleaning my workspace allows my head to be clear for the day. Clutter in my studio really discombobulates me. Which is possibly why I’m often in a tailspin. Orders have to be made, so I’ll take stock of what I need to make and if I need anything from suppliers. At the moment I’m prepping for Finders Keepers Melbourne. That’s a big one to get ready for. So this week I’ll be fine tuning the display stand for my stall. It’s really like a pop up shop that has to fit in a suitcase so it needs to be well though out. I’ll be doing a trial run on our kitchen table. And then I get distracted. This often happens. But sometimes it can be wonderful.
What challenges have you faced starting your own label, and what are some things you love about it?
PRESS STUDS. They took me about 6 months to find the perfect colour and size. But it’s the searching and waiting for the right things that pay off in the end. Rather than trying to execute things too soon before you’re entirely happy with it. I have met some pretty brilliant people along the way. It’s heartwarming stuff when someone gives a locket to a little girl who has her birthday party at Luna Park, loses her first tooth and then decides to keep her tooth in her new locket and keep it under her pillow for the tooth fairy. I mean!!!
What new plans do you have for Jen Booth this year?
We are moving to rural France for a year in December! True story. So the Sydney and Melbourne Finders Keepers will be the last chance to buy a locket in the flesh rather than online for a year! Who knows what will happen, but our plan is to nurture our creative sides, learn how to order cheese in French, and drink wine. I have so many ideas… But I also have 365 days to fill. So please email me with projects. Actually even better, send me a letter! I think we’ll have a letterbox?