Founders Blog Series – Tatty Devine
The Guild is proud to boast that November 2022 marks our first decade! Not quite as established as our centuries old neighbours in the City but our new brand of Guild is only still going strong because of our wonderful members. Without our founders we simply would not exist. So we wanted to take a moment to celebrate them in the run up to Christmas and find out how their businesses have evolved over the last 10 years. First up is the vibrant and joyful Tatty Devine, with words from the glorious Rosie Wolfenden MBE.
What is the origin story of Tatty Devine, how did it all begin?
Tatty Devine was founded in the heart of East London in 1999 by myself, Rosie Wolfenden MBE and Harriet Vine MBE – we met at Chelsea School of Art and the rest is history! We were both surrounded by craft growing up and so it was only natural that our first ever jewellery designs consisted of found objects from leather scraps to guitar plectrums. These early creations were developed in our bedrooms before we found our very first studio and eventually a shop on Brick Lane, Shoreditch where we put down roots. That magical space was where we hosted exhibitions, honed our signature off-beat jewellery and explored the art of laser cutting, going on to be the first to create laser cut acrylic jewellery in the UK.
Community is at the heart of what we do and so we jumped at the chance to be founding members of the East End Trades Guild and created a very special piece of jewellery for its Kickstarter. Ever since the early days of Tatty Devine, we’ve worked with a vibrant network of fellow creatives including fellow Guild member Rob Ryan. Harriet and I are both big believers in unity and wholeheartedly agree that together we are stronger.
What aspect of guild membership has been most valuable?
Navigating the last decade as a small business was no mean feat, so being part of this incredible community has given us the opportunity to connect with fellow small business owners across various industries and from all walks of life. Since joining the guild, we’ve amplified its campaign against rapidly rising business rates and championed the importance of supporting local industry. When our members gather together, the guild’s manifesto, ‘we are the beating heart of the East End’ could not be more pertinent.
How has your business changed in the last decade
We’ve continued to grow as a business, while staying true to our creative roots and are proud to have collaborated with cultural institutions including the Tate and the V&A. We’ve run pop-ups making our original laser cut Name Necklaces in Selfridges stores across the UK and marked our Central London store’s 13th year in business. We also received MBEs for services for fashion in 2013.
In 2020, we closed the doors on our Brick Lane shop – truly the end of an era – with the aim of finding the ultimate design studio which could accommodate all our needs as a small but growing team. Happily, we found the perfect space just a hop, skip and a jump away where Harriet dreams up all Tatty Devine jewellery, we can gather to review upcoming collections and host larger than life photoshoots. We continue to micro-manufacture our jewellery in the UK and have moved to more sustainable practices such as introducing pre-orders and limited runs. We’re proud to partner with charitable organisations including the Fawcett Society, who have received £3 for every piece sold: that’s now £18,000 and counting.
What plans are YOUR PLANS for the future?
We have a very exciting collaboration with a leading female artist launching next year, that’s all I can say!
The Guild is majority funded by our loyal members. Join us here so we can continue for another decade. We do also work with carefully chosen small business suppliers who have been recommended by members or medium sized businesses who have ethical business practices. Our current sponsors are CBG Law, Grunberg & Co and Wessex Insurance. Please consider using their considerable expertise so that they can continue to support us!
We would also like to extend our gratitude to the London Borough Of Tower Hamlets and the London Borough of Hackney who’ve both supported our unique 10th Anniversary East End Independents guides. Featuring all our members who make a financial contribution to our organisation.