Meet our creative, intelligent and simply brilliant friends who inspire KITRI in every single way.
Meet Roxanne First, #KITRIgirl and founder of Roxanne First, our favourite London-based fine jewellery brand that creates beautifully designed and ethically sourced jewellery that's cool, playful and the best part; competitively priced. Ahead of our exciting KITRI x Roxanne First shopping evening at our KITRI pop up on Thursday 22nd November, we sat down with Rocky to talk about turning 'your side-hustle into your full-time hustle', and how to overcome the challenges of setting up your own business.
We’d love to know more about your career path so far…
I began working at Harrods in the Trade Marketing team over 10 years ago. It was my first ‘proper’ job and I loved it, I learnt a huge amount and made friends there that are still some of my besties. Most of my career I have worked within the luxury branding and marketing world, I was at The Dorchester Collection and most recently with a prime London property developer. I have been obsessed with diamonds and fine jewellery for as long as I can remember and began helping friends with engagement rings nearly 3 years ago.
Did you always know that you wanted to start your own jewellery brand?
I always wanted to work with diamonds and fine jewellery but I never knew I could make it into a career. I think fate stepped in, as today I work from a studio in Hatton Garden with the most brilliant business partner and we are building our own brand. It wasn’t that simple though, there were lots of ups and downs to get where we are, and we are still trying to work it out, but I must admit I feel pretty lucky I get to do what I love every day!
We’re always inspired by women that turn their passion into a successful business. Can you share any advice for other women that are looking to launch their own brand?
It’s all about the side hustle. I started working on my own collection and helping friends with engagement rings (I had links to South African diamond dealers as I was born there and many of my family work in the diamond trade in Johannesburg) whilst I had a 9-5. This was exhausting but it was the only way I felt confident to take the plunge and give it a real go.
Everyday has its own challenges, big or small – there is always a problem to solve when you have your own business. I think the biggest challenge is having the belief and confidence that it is all going to work out one way or another. It is easy to doubt yourself and what you’re doing, but if you really believe in what you do, love what you do and keep going, you will get there! At least that’s what I try and remind myself every day!
Who inspires you?
My mother, she’s an incredible woman. Someone once said that the softest part of her were her teeth; which I have never forgotten. Those that she loves, she does so fiercely. She’s gorgeous, funny, smart and the coolest woman I know. My business partner Robert is also a pretty incredible human being and without him Roxanne First wouldn’t be where it is today.
What does your typical day look like?
There is no typical for me, every day is totally different (it always starts with a flat white or 3) which of course keeps things interesting but can also be exhausting. Today, as an example, I started my day at Harvey Nichols to train new staff members as we have a pop up there until the 24th of December. I then ran to Harrods to speak to the visual merchandising team about our store display (we are on the 4th floor within Fashion Lab), and now we’re shooting your spotlight! I have got a few orders to send out for our recent collaboration with Lindsey Holland from Ropes of Holland – yes I am head of picking and packing too! Once I have finished at the office, I am running back to Harvey Nichols until 9pm to work on the shop floor. I definitely don’t have any illusions of grandeur, building a brand means being ‘on it’ all the time and getting involved in absolutely everything.
How would you describe your style?
If I could wear jeans, a pair of sneaks and a t-shirt every day I would. I love basics. I also have a weird obsession with knitwear (probably because I am always cold!) and sneakers. I do however ‘jazz’ it up from time to time – I sometimes feel I look like a lunatic but just go with it. Currently obsessed with KITRI’s vinyl trousers in black, great with an oversized jumpers and loafers.
We love to see you wearing KITRI. Why did you choose these pieces?
I think KITRI is the most amazing brand, Haeni, the founder, has done the most incredible job on creating a brand that is timeless, well made and just cool! I love the mohair knitwear - pompoms are EVERYTHING, always! The vinyl trousers are a MUST for winter – styled down with loafers or a pair of converse and worn in the evening with a little boot. The cigarette pants are brilliant everyday trousers and a wardrobe essential in my opinion.
We’re huge fans of your beautiful jewellery! Which are your three favourite pieces from your collection?
Ahhhh, thank you so much! I have got to say, I am really happy with where the collection is – I really believe there is something for everyone from everyday gold hoops, to diamond huggies, palm tree studs and sapphire kiss necklaces. I am seriously into rainbow sapphires at the moment – I think they are fun, cool and a little different right now. Our graduated sapphire hoops are so super delicious; they can be jazzed up with our diamond dangles which were inspired by my mom’s 80’s earrings. I am also a little obsessed with our sapphire drop necklace as well as our drilled diamond collection we have just done with Ropes of Holland.
What’s you party trick?
I wish I had a cool one, but I can touch my nose with my tongue!
Finally, what’s next?
That’s a good question! We are working on a few pop-ups and various events leading up until Christmas – we are pretty busy with Harvey Nichols. I have to sit down with my business partner and think about next year and our goals (we only launched in April). It’s so important we go to jewellery fairs, there is one in January in Vincenza and I definitely want to check out the Hong Kong Show. We are about to launch with a cool online jewellery platform – Velaire and are working with an amazing concept store in Chelsea, Edition 94. And of course, our diamond pop up at KITRI this Thursday!