Tearing up the rulebook with Tatty Devine

Tatty Devine’s Harriet Vine and Rosie Wolfenden are bossing the quirky-cool laser-cut jewellery scene because they make their own rules. Commitment, passion and confidence in your work is the foundation of any successful business, but it’s easy to move with the trends and lose your focus. We spoke with Harriet and Rosie who told us why tearing up the rulebook and sticking to your guns is an important part of establishing yourself in the creative market. Want to know how they did it? Read on, rebels! 

Find a space, any space

We started Tatty from our bedrooms, but as soon as we moved into 236 Brick Lane things started to happen. We originally wanted to find a studio but as soon as we saw the shop we knew that it was the perfect space for us. It had been a carpet shop and wasn’t quite fit for purpose but we could see the potential. Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas had had a shop on the Bethnal Green road and we too, loved the idea of reappropriating a space to suit our needs and express ourselves. As soon as we moved in we started hanging jewellery on the wall to do mini art school style crits, and in turn customers started coming in asking to try it on. Before we knew it we had a shop and an income! Every space we have ever had has allowed us to grow, as designers, as a brand and as people.

Don’t be afraid to play it by ear

Our manifesto was to create and have fun, whether it was clothes, music, films, zines or jewellery. We wanted to be unlike anyone else and create something special. We wanted to be artists and to be truly original. Playing it by ear is a good tactic to start with as it allows you to find the right path. Further down that path a plan and goal is a good idea, but at first freedom is invaluable, it allows experimentation and for good ideas to surface. Write your own rulebook!

Involve your friends

Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and the more people that talk about you then the more people there will be interested in what you’re doing. Enthusiasm is contagious so share your passion with others and let them spread the word in a natural, uncontrived way. People often worry about sharing their ideas but it’s important to share and trust. Working with a friend is even better as you’re on an level and can have fun every day. It’s really good to have someone to bounce ideas off, the minute you voice a problem you find a solution – not easy when you work alone. Working together and surrounding ourselves with like-minded people has meant there is always someone to lend a hand or just give a little encouragement.

Do what you want, not what you should do

Making a success of something requires high levels of passion, commitment, hard work and courage. Therefore it’s critical that you love what you do, otherwise these things don’t come easily. We’ve always made things that we’ve wanted to wear, not what is in the shops and magazines already as that has always felt pointless. From that came a whole new way to create jewellery. It’s your life and you need to make the most of it so stick to your guns and follow your heart. Never wait for permission!

Always look from every angle

You’ve got to have your eyes open and observe everything around you. This is how original ideas are conceived and how interesting work is informed. Have a curious mind and explorative eyes and see things that no one else sees, that way you will do something no one else has done. When we first saw acrylic in a signage store we instantly thought ‘I want to wear that’ and before we knew it Tatty Devine was born.

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