Meet Our Members – Stööki

Meet Our Members – Stööki

Blog by Mia Johnson Guild Marketing Assistant.

Stööki is a lifestyle and jewellery brand founded in 2011 by Nadia Abbas, the jewellery technologist, Luke Hippolyte, the creative director and former co-founder Quincey Williams, who sadly passed away in 2014. “We were a group of like-minded friends, all with the same interests in art, music and fashion. We just came together and thought, let’s start a business”. Stööki creates hand-crafted pieces in their London studio and hosts creative jewellery-making workshops.

“We didn’t have any previous experience in business but thought to just give it a go, there’s not much left to lose”, says Nadia. She illustrates how difficult it was to get into the jewellery industry and how there were very few opportunities to venture into her passion, which is why she decided to create her own lifestyle brand, Stööki, which incorporates all the creative elements of art, music and fashion.

“We started totally organically out of friendship and common interest” Luke states. “Nadia, Quincey and I graduated from university and were part of a different art collective in East London. We were collaborating on a group exhibition and teamed up to create an initial Stööki concept which consisted of three graphical screen-printed t-shirt designs and acrylic pendant necklaces that came together as one”. The group worked on the idea for a year and decided to launch their products independently instead of selling to a retailer. This collection was titled “Make Your Mark” which came from the group’s mission to make its mark in the industry.

Nadia touched on the topic of how she wishes she considered preparing for the unexpected as a business owner, and how your circumstances could change at any moment. This revelation came after the death of their friend and business partner, Quincey in 2014. “As young entrepreneurs, that is something that we didn’t expect… especially because he was so young. I feel like that knocked us, but we were strong enough to come back together and rekindle everything that we started”. Following the passing of their business partner, Nadia and Luke took time away from the brand to reflect and decided that they did not want to give up the achievements that the group had accomplished. They eventually rekindled and rebuilt Stööki to what it is today and have grown from strength to strength.

Nadia and Luke express how the coronavirus pandemic drastically impacted their business. “The pandemic was definitely really challenging, especially being an independent brand, it affected our production and collaborating with brands on content”. Although the pandemic caused disruption to activities, they discuss how it also allowed them to work on new launches and ideas, which led to the drop of their “Good Vibes” collection, which was intended to promote positivity and wellness through apparel and jewellery. Especially during a period of uncertainty, Nadia and Luke felt as though this message was needed most at this time.

Lockdown helped the pair become more imaginative with their designs and utilised their time productively by focusing on areas in their business that they had previously neglected before the pandemic to help prepare them for life after lockdown.

Although it was difficult, they highlight how important technology was to them, which helped Stööki connect with other businesses and share ideas with each other through phone, email and online meetings. This also led to Stööki joining the Cultural Group, which is a collective, part of the East End Trades Guild that was formed during the pandemic in 2020.

Stööki discovered the East End Trades Guild at Wells Street Market, in East London. The founder of this market was also part of the Guild and recommended Stööki to join. Stööki then became a member of the Guild and became well integrated and built a strong community with other members who are part of the alliance. “I think it’s a really good thing to be a part of because as a small business, it’s intimidating not knowing what direction to go in, especially not having many contacts. The Guild has opened up the doors to access other members and share ideas with each other. We also get access to sharing ideas with MPs and decision-makers and having our voices heard as small businesses. It’s a really good idea for small traders” states Nadia.

To form a community and network with other black and ethnic creatives, Stööki joined the Cultural Group when it was first launched in 2020 during the pandemic. Nadia has had an extensive impact on the Cultural Group’s success. She has collaborated closely with Cultural Group organiser, Henrietta Cyrille to build the group into a community where its members can thrive and connect with each other. Since joining the Cultural Group, Nadia has achieved a great deal, such as building their first independent monthly market from scratch, forming collaborations with other organisations, and building stronger relationships with the local community.

The Cultural group’s independent market relaunched on April 2nd at Space Studios in Hackney. Courtesy of Guild member, Leonard Maloney, the market welcomed the Jazz band, Smiles Collective who performed wonderful live music for our traders and customers. The market hosted traders selling products ranging from jewellery to pastries to skincare. The market also hosted child-friendly activities, which provides entertainment for all the family.

The Cultural Group’s markets are held on the first Sunday of every month up to November. It welcomes anyone and caters to those of all ages. If you are a small business and would like to trade at the market, contact Cultural Group organiser, Henriette Cyrille:

To support Nadia and Luke, follow Stööki’s social media and come and find them at our next Cultural Group Market on 6th May outside Space Studios: 129- 131 Mare Street London E8 3RH.

Instagram – @Stooki

Facebook – @StookiMovement

Twitter – @_Stooki_