FROM making and selling items of jewellery at Portobello Road market to launching a sought-after, internationally recognised brand, the sky is the limit for a passionate Chichester designer.
Anna Lou Trent has recently launched her colourful jewellery and accessory range in Chichester’s House of Fraser and now has her sights set on the States.
The former Chichester High School for Girls pupil took to the streets of Notting Hill when she was 24 in a bid to showcase and sell her jewellery - which was soon snapped up by some of the most renowned department stores around the world.
“It was cold but it was a great pleasure to be able to make things and sell them on a weekly basis – and it just went from one thing to the next,” said Anna.
Since her market days, the 35-year-old has worked tirelessly to launch her brand, Anna Lou of London, which has become a global label with a large celebrity following.
Her colourful pieces maintain a luxurious feel, with the use of rose gold, vermeil, sterling silver and acrylic, and creative Anna takes inspiration from everything around her, and uses this to influence her unique designs.
“A lot of my inspiration comes from general travelling, I love the Japanese and my range used to be very Japanese-inspired. It has grown up a little bit as I have grown up.
“It could be anything that inspires me, it just depends. If I am camping it could be the countryside. The scarves I have got coming out soon are all British-inspired.”
Anna also said she had been influenced by her father’s profession and inspired by American Hollywood actresses.
“I have always had an interest in actresses like Audrey Hepburn and my father was a cameraman so we have always been brought up with a photography background. The American movie stars have always been a part of my life.”
Anna launched her range in Chichester’s House of Fraser last month and describes her work as ‘eclectic, colourful and tongue-in-cheek’.
“It is always drawing on colour; it is about making something conservative with a uniqueness as well,” she said.
For a number of years Anna was involved in Chichester Youth Theatre, which she said also equipped her with the confidence to take an idea and push it forward.
She believes her experience of youth theatre could have led her into an acting career, but her passion of designing took her down a different path.
“I thought I was going to go down the classical actress route and it just never happened, not because I chose it to not happen but just because the jewellery went so well, it seemed silly to go into something else.”
Speaking about what she loves most about her job, Anna said: “The designing part and actually seeing the product arrive in the box. Also now I am making most of it here, I have been spending a lot of time hands-on, hours and hours cutting and fixing and going back to my roots.”
The mum-of-two also has her sights set on launching her range in America at the end of the year, but wants to tackle the British market first, hoping to sell once again in John Lewis among other stores. Determined Anna, who works an average of 14 hours a day, is keen to start in America by getting into some showrooms and trade shows, although competition is fierce.
And as well as launching Stateside, she also has aspirations of launching a luxury range, which will include jewellery with stones, as well as costume jewellery, within the next two years.
“If you have a dream, you have got to make it happen – there’s no point in having a dream unless you’re going to follow it through.
“It doesn’t come without its difficulties.
“Like with any business, it just all takes a lot of time and a lot of energy in doing it all,” she said.
Anna’s advice to other keen designers hoping to make it in the industry is to get out into the public arena and showcase their work.
“Make a few things and actually get out there and sell them, whether that’s in the marketplace or on eBay.”
For more information about Anna Lou of London, visit www.annalouoflondon.com