Behind The Brand: Florence London
Florence London design and sell beautiful personalised jewellery all handmade and made-to-order in London. We caught up with founder Rosie Florence Parkes to ask her a few questions on how her dreams became a reality.
Can you tell us how Florence London started out?
I started an online jewellery brand called Whistle + Bango in 2013 with the idea of creating London Postcode Bangles – SW3, N1, E1 etc in celebration of your home. They were incredibly popular and led me to begin handmaking bespoke postcode bangles to reach further afield. The demand for monograms, anniversary dates, birthdays and names followed as personalisation boomed. My contemporary embossed enamel style was different, and people loved it. This flourish combined with a new team have excitingly seen the brand grown into the bigger, better and more elegant Florence London which is what you will see at the show in November.
Florence London encompasses my infamous personalised jewellery range as well as silk wrist ties, delicate bracelets and beautiful earring studs all of which I have designed myself.
The most exciting part of the brand is the recently launched entirely customisable bangle service whereby customers choose any enamel colour in the rainbow upon which to personalise their name, date or message. It takes personalised jewellery to the next level and brings enormous fun to gifting.
Today, my jewellery has been sold around the world, spotted on many celebrities and profiled in brilliant publications such as Tatler, Elle, GQ, Baby London and Wedding Ideas.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration all over the place – Galleries, books, architecture, geometry, music and people. I love to show sketches to friends or people I have just met to get their initial reaction. When I am designing, I am listening to Café Mambo, drinking a lot of fresh coffee and usually surrounded by art books and completely alone. I can’t concentrate if there are any distractions, apart from my cat Lily, she is always welcome.
I have so many ideas, my sketchbook is full but I am very careful about what I launch. Only 5-10% of my ideas make it to my shop. Following R&D, manufacturing and testing, is can be absolutely gutting to pull the plug on a project but it has to be right because if I don’t madly love it then my customers certainly won’t. That’s something I have learnt to accept in building a brand.
Have you always wanted to start your own jewellery brand?
Yes! It has been a dream come true. I have always worn (probably too much) bold and statement-making jewellery. I am not much of a fashionista in terms of clothing, usually non-feminine and plain so I love to dress up my wrists, ears and neck with beautiful jewellery. I wanted to create a brand that was simple, classy yet unique and so far, so good!
Do you have any interesting stories behind certain personalised pieces?
The one that really touches me is the gentleman who had a bangle created to propose to his girlfriend with. He had their proposal date embossed in Roman Numerals on the outside of the bangle and ‘Will You Marry Me?’ on the inside rim. She said yes and they lived happily ever after.
I also adore the initial bangles, necklaces and cuffs I create for bridal parties. When I see the girls wearing them in wedding photos I feel proud and honoured to have able to contribute to such a special day. The girls always adore their jewellery and end up never taking them off.
Finally, the team I am most proud to have made jewellery for are the four teams who competed at British Polo Day Great Britain 2018. I got to present Personalised Monogrammed Cuffs to the world’s best polo players Adolfo Cambiaso, David Stirling, Nina Clarkin and Juan Martin Nero as well as UAE and Indian Royalty. Prince Harry was also in the winning team which was the cherry on the cake.
What first drew you to Stylist Live?
I exhibited at the very first Stylist Live in Islington and I was hooked.
In order to personalise jewellery, you need passion and creativity which Stylist readers have in abundance. I love talking customers through what to put on their jewellery, whether for themselves or as a gift, and then going off to make it for them and allowing them the excitement of receiving their jewellery in the post 3 days later.
The Stylist Live team are also brilliant, full of fun, engaging and energetic ways to make the day buzz. I feel they have made waves in bringing exhibition shows into the modern world. They get it.
Florence London are offering an exclusive 15% discount on their range of beautifully hand-personalised jewellery, using a click and collect service. Simply use the code found here to shop online and collect your luxuriously gift-wrapped jewellery at stand H16 during the show. Rosie Florence, the brand’s founder will be there to greet you too!
For that treasured friend, family member or colleague who deserves something really special, Florence London ticks all of our boxes.
Personalised Bangles from £69
Personalised Men’s Cuffs – £98
Earrings from £9
Silk ties – £35
Gift wrapping – free!