Day in the Life of …… Harriet Kelsall

Harriet Kelsall turned her hobby of goldsmithing into a successful business in 1998 and now runs the UK’s leading bespoke jewellery design company, which specialises in engagement ring design, wedding rings and eternity rings. Harriet employs 30 staff across two locations and has won numerous awards. She juggles all of this with bringing up her two young children.

I think there was a time before I ran a business and had two small children when I had things called lie-ins. Now my day starts at 6:15am when I awake to either my two year old Eleanor or my six year old Thomas singing. I then jump in the shower and dress myself and Eleanor whilst the boys get the breakfast.

Then we all go off in different directions. Tim, my husband, and I share a lot of the childcare so one of us runs the kids to school and nursery and the other gets to work at about 8am.

First, l’m onto my computer to catch up with my e-mails, Facebook and Twitter.

I still try to work on a few design projects myself which can be tricky to fit in but I wouldn’t want to stop. I’ve just made a beautiful bespoke pendant in Fairtrade gold for Lisa Snowdon (who is so lovely and even more beautiful in the flesh!).

We make everything ourselves which is quite unusual in the jewellery industry. We specialise in bespoke pieces to suit any style and budget and everything is a one-off. We love it when people ask us to work a subtle inspiration into the design. For example, a couple who love scuba diving had a ring inspired by an octopus.

We have had an amazing year winning a number of awards including a UK Jewellery Award and then l won Woman of the Year in the Specsavers Everywoman in Retail Awards, which was an incredible honour. We were also recognised in a number of industry ‘hot lists’ as well as re-fitting our Cambridge shop (designed by Callum Lumsden of Mary Queen of Shops fame!) and being one of the first jewellers to be able to work in Fairtrade gold.

So after all of that lot, there has been a lot of press interest in us so there is usually an interview or two for the press to fit into the day (which is lovely).

I work very hard during the day so that I can spend quality time with the children when we all get home. I love picking them up and hearing about their days.

Once back home I try not to work at all and focus on the kids – making sure homework gets done. If there is time we often do something creative together like music or arts and crafts. In the summer we often go and work in our vegetable garden together and Thomas loves collecting the eggs from our chickens (or as Eleanor calls them, the ‘oodle-oooos’).

So then it is the usual tea and bedtime routine for Eleanor and then I then have to prise Thomas off the piano and get him into bed to. Then after a quick supper, I’m working again! I love designing jewellery when I have some quiet time in the evening, or sometimes I make jewellery and tweet about it.  For me, jewellery design never feels like work because I absolutely love it!

Harriet Kelsall, founder and managing director of Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design
Enquiries 01462 790565

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