I recently met Erica Illingworth. I had heard various positive reports of Molly Brown London; simple, pretty and ageless jewellery for little (and not so little) girls. Children in jewels slightly jars with me (along with nail polish, pieced ears and underage gum chewing) but now that Erica has launched her fine jewellery collection, Molly B Couture, I’m fully engaged. It is understated in its elegance and just my cup of tea. In fact, The Love Knot collection reminds me of the all the sailing knots I have been surrounded by during my past week on a British beach.
The jewellery attraction is even stronger, I find, when we know something of the designer. And I was curious to find out more about the headhunter turned jewellery designer, mother and entrepreneur:
What is your earliest jewel memory?
My grandmother always wore a large pair or pearl stud earrings and whenever I think about her I always picture her wearing them.
How does ambition fit into your family dynamic?
It is hard being a working mother but the thing that always keeps me strong is knowing that my children are well balanced and I know they love and respect me.
Tell us who you would love to wear your Jewellery The Duchess of Cambridge.
Which of Molly B Couture pieces do you think will be your best seller and why?
I think that the Betty Collection – the lower case diamond alphabet range – is the first of its kind in terms of alphabet jewellery so I imagine this will do pretty well.
Do you switch off at the weekend?
Yes, mostly although if I am under pressure then it is harder. I try to run through my ‘To Do’ list on a Friday afternoon so I know what I need to get on with the following week, I find this helps me stop worrying about things over the weekend.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by enterprise, by people who have the ability to turn an idea into a successful business.
Which is your favourite piece of non-Molly B jewellery?
I love the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Collection. The vintage gold and white mother of pearl bracelet is my absolute favourite piece.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about starting their own business?
Always hire people you think are better than you and bring skills that you don’t have to the table.
Which is your favourite shop in London?
‘One of a Kind’ on Portobello Road. They have this sort of secret little back room filled with vintage designer handbags – heaven.
What’s your biggest extravagance?
I guess holidays. I firmly believe in splashing out on lovely holidays, after all its what we work for all year round.
Who is your hero?
Absolutely my Dad. I completely adore him.
Molly B Couture www.mollybrownlondon.com