MoneyTalk With Ethical Jewellery Designer Kassandra
"What does financial independence mean to you? It means freedom: more choice and opportunities. I want this!"
- Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am an ethical jewellery designer maker. I mainly specialise in creating bespoke jewellery, making wedding rings and engagement rings. I have lived in many places in the UK and settled in London eight years ago. My parents are Jamaican. I have worked in the public and voluntary sector for nearly 10 years. I used to be a domestic violence worker.
I studied jewellery manufacture and design in Hatton Garden (the UK’s biggest jewellery district). There I learnt the traditional techniques of making handmade jewellery, before setting up my East London studio. My work has been featured in the Sunday Times and I have 13 stockists throughout the world. I was selected to be featured on Not On The High Street by the founders as a highlighted designer for International Women’s Day.
I am also the founder of Comedy A.M. the world’s first morning comedy club. I love comedy and I’m an entrepreneur guilty of not taking time for myself to laugh and enjoy life. But I’m not the only one! Comedy AM is about finding time to get together with wonderful people, have a laugh over breakfast and bring out the sunshine, no matter the weather or workload.
In addition, I am a professional public speaker, and I write poems and stories. Also, I am learning the British art form of burlesque.
- What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
It’s a love and hate relationship. I love spending money, but it is hard to save in London because of high living costs. So I’m always looking at ways to increase my income. I do feel proud when I save money. I feel being financially literate is very important. I only started to be financially literate and aware in my late 20’s. No one really taught me anything about personal finance growing up.
- What does financial independence mean to you?
It means freedom: more choice and opportunities. I want this!
- Budgeting - do you follow any guides, or are you more of a freewheeler?
Every couple of months I look at my income and expenditure and look at my spending patterns and see where I can save. I have different bank accounts for different things to keep each category of money separate in order not to overspend: household bills, food, clothes, beauty, travel, health, miscellaneous, fun money etc.
- What’s the one thing you indulge in?
- Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”?
Delaying gratification. Taking longer to purchase things and have an internal dialogue with myself. ‘Do I really need this?’ ‘Is it a priority?’
Furthermore, I’m really into meal prepping - I was horrified when I saw how much I spend at cafes and take-out. So I cook in big batches and freeze, and take food with me when I go out in a food flask.
- What is Vestpod for you?
It’s my go to, to remind myself with my relationship with money. I’m not religious, but it’s like my financial bible- to reference things or when I’m thinking about spending too much. It gives me some mental and philosophical space to think about my finances in a long term framework.
I love this tip from their recent blog post: ‘10/10 rule: if an item costs more than £10, spend 10 minutes thinking about it.”
- Own up. Have you made any major financial faux-pas?
Personal faux pax- Not having a monthly budget in mind. It was spend and hope for the best.
- Favourite book & podcast?
Podcast: Art of Charm
Book: White Teeth by Zadie Smith
For my own collections, I design ethical jewellery with the dress codes of a range of professional industries in mind; from minimalist styles for the more formal work environments to loud pieces for creatives.
I am the ethical fine jeweller of choice for hard working and confident women who want pieces that they can wear seamlessly from day to night.
I feel my jewellery style is minimalistic with organic, textured elements contrasting with geometric shapes. It is always infused with storytelling.
- 4 solo gallery shows at Craft Central 2015-2017
- IJL New Designer Exhibitor 2015
- IJL Chosen Trend Designer for ‘Geo-Form’ 2015
- Islington Wedding Fair March 2016
- Bohemian Dreams Wedding Show May 2016
- Wolf and Badger Trunk Show June 2016
- For Arts Sake Gallery Trunk Show July 2016
- Jewellery styling workshop- London Borough of Redbridge May 2017
- Jewellery styling and making demonstration- Hackney Downs Studios- July 2017