A couple weeks back I had the absolute pleasure of talking with Chrystal Day, a young jewelry designer and entrepreneur in London. I have an affinity for dainty little necklaces and bracelets so I was immediately drawn to her stall in Camden Market the first time I wandered past it. Read all about her and her company in the article I wrote for my journalism class and be sure to check out her website!
Chrystal Day, Charmed
Between a cider vendor and a stall selling hokey handmade sweaters and feather earrings in Camden Market’s East Yard, a display of delicate gold and silver bracelets and necklaces are laid out next to wood trays covered in sparkling stones and vintage charms. This is Chrystal Day London.
Jeweler Chrystal Day, 32, stands behind the inviting display. On this particularly chilly afternoon she’s wrapped up in a caramel colored fur coat. A knit hat covers her head and two bright blonde braids hang out to frame her smiling face. She sports striped gloves with the fingers cut off so she can work on jewelry.
“I’ve got a hot water bottle under here,” she confesses with a grin, pointing to the bulge in the front of her coat as she bounces around to keep warm.
Most people avoid the cold, but Bedford native Day braves it at the market. That’s because the bespoke jewelry line has been her passion and livelihood since she left her job as an accessories buyer in July 2012.
The charismatic designer always has had a lifelong love for jewelry and fashion and her inspiration for a career in fashion buying came as a teenager.
“This is embarrassing. Do you know the show “Friends?”” she asked.
“Rachel Green got a job as a fashion buyer. I remember watching that episode and thinking ‘that’s what I want to do!’” She said, laughing.
Day considered how she might land her dream job, which led to a course of study in fashion promotion and communication at University of Southampton. The comprehensive four-year program covered media, merchandising and buying, providing her with a solid fashion foundation.
Fresh out of college Day worked for a fashion magazine selling advertising space. Shortly thereafter she got the gig she had hoped for at Primark. She began as a trainee buyer, but in her six-year stint with the store worked her way up to become a full-fledged jewelry and accessories buyer.
Day loved her job and travelling the world to source merchandise was a much appreciated perk. But after 8 years buying beachwear and jewelry for High Street fashion groups she took a leap and didn’t look back.
“I loved it but there was always that something missing for me and I didn’t really know what it was,” she said.
“Friends” on television inspired her first career, but Day credits the friends around her for the motivation to start her own company.
“Over the years I’d been making jewelry for friends as gifts,” she said. “A couple of them said to me ‘is that not something you could do as a job?’ It spawned from there.”
“I’ve always loved the whole charm thing and I came up with this solution as a way for people to personalize their own jewelry,” she explained.
She established Chrystal Day London last July and has been walking down the road from her Kentish Town flat to bring her merchandise to Camden Market since November.
“I just love being out meeting people everyday,” she said. “Everyday is different now and I just love it.”
Day’s interactions with customers prove this. While helping a gregarious teenaged New Yorker pick out a gift for a friend, Day charmingly chatted with the girl about the jewelry business.
“It’s like I’ve managed to turn what I love into my job,” she told the wide-eyed young lady.
As for the future of the blossoming business, Day hopes to move to online commerce, host jewelry designing parties, and eventually add a line of fine jewelry.
“I like that I’ve got something accessible that people can afford, but I would like do fine jewelry too,” she said. “I just did my first bride’s piece with sterling silver and fresh water pearls. That’s an avenue I want to expand into.”
Day knows the challenges of launching a new business but also the rewards. The toughest part, she says, was getting over the initial fear of leaving her job.
“What stops a lot of people taking that leap to set up their own business is fear. It is scary; there is risk,” she said. “But the happiness I have gained from it, it was worth it.”
In short, Day believes if you’ve got an idea go with it.
“I just totally believe that you can do whatever you want if you’re willing to work hard,” she says thoughtfully. “I’m quite an optimist I think. You have to be when you take a risk.”