Tell us about your career background and how you came to be in your current role?
I have worked as a journalist throughout my career, starting as a radio news journalist and producer at the BBC. This led me to the Seychelles where I lived and worked for 11 years, first as a radio producer and presenter, then launching and managing the country’s first FM radio station, Paradise FM. Alongside this, I was the author of several travel guides to the Seychelles, edited a lifestyle magazine and worked as a PR advisor to the British High Commission. When I returned to the UK, in 2003, my career led me into the world of jewellery. I joined The Basel Magazine, an international monthly magazine published by the world’s biggest watch and jewellery show, Baselworld. I then moved on to the jewellery trends forecasting magazine TJF; authored a global report on Luxury Brands for Verdict market research; became editor of UK jewellery business magazine Retail Jeweller and moved on to work with The Company of Master Jewellers, launching CMJ Media in 2011.
Sarah wears The Cavendish dress in navy
What drew you to the jewellery industry?
It is a fascinating industry to work in and even after 13 years of writing about jewellery, I am constantly learning new things – from discovering how age-old craftsmanship continues alongside state-of-the-art technology within the making of jewellery and the disciplines of gemmology, diamond grading and haute horology. I’ve travelled the world visiting jewellery trade shows, mines and manufacturers in all continents. Discovering the ways in which craftsmen can transform a piece of shiny rock into an exquisite piece of wearable art still electrifies me.
Writing and studying jewellery encompasses design, history, technology, geology, sociology and anthropology as well as current fashion and retail business trends. I find all aspects of the industry equally fascinating and I’m fortunate to be one of the few people in the UK to have such a far-reaching background in jewellery, from Bond Street to the high street.
You launched CMJ Media, a specialised marketing, publishing and PR agency for the UK jewellery industry in 2011. What advice would you offer to those looking to set up their own business?
Do only what you love and love what you do. Play to your strengths and recognise your weak spots. Find experienced advisors and mentors to help you. Keep positive and build a strong, enthusiastic and talented team around you.
Sarah wears The Cavendish dress in navy
What has been your biggest career achievement to-date?
There have been many achievements that I’ve been proud of, including winning international awards for my radio programmes in my 20s, publishing my first book and launching Paradise FM in my 30s. But the one achievement that continues to drive me is the launch of CMJ Media. Four years ago, I started the business in recognition of a need for a dedicated media agency for the jewellery world. Today, our London office has a team of seven and we look after 15 PR accounts as well as consultancy and event management projects. We are uniquely placed to help jewellery and watch brands break into the UK market and seeing the success we have had in helping our clients so far is hugely gratifying.
Alongside your role as PR Director at CMJ Media, you’re also a jewellery editor, contributing to leading jewellery titles. How do you balance both roles?
It is a juggling act and not always easy but I love the creative energy in writing and editing for international luxury titles like LUXURE and JFW magazines and consider it a privilege to work with some of the world’s most prestigious jewellery houses. Combining writing with marketing and consultancy work means I also get to make a real difference to the businesses I work with, rather than simply being a commentator, and that brings its own immense rewards and satisfactions.
You must discover lots of exciting new jewellery designers through your work. Which names do you have your eye on at the moment?
One designer brand that I’m wearing for this shoot is Sif Jakobs from Denmark, which is now available in the UK. Sif is an amazingly talented designer and her silver jewellery designs combine Scandinavian style with fashion in a way that is slightly edgy yet very wearable and with really great price points.
How do you like to unwind outside of work?
Reading, travel, cooking, spending time with my children at home in the Sussex countryside. There’s nothing nicer than stepping off the train from London and taking deep breaths of Sussex air!
Describe your workwear style to us:
As I work with jewellery, clothes are a backdrop to allow the jewellery to take centre stage, so I tend to wear a lot of quite simple black and navy pieces. I also try to invest in clothes that can easily translate from day to night as my role involves attending many evening events.
And finally, what is your favourite piece from The Fold collection and why?
The printed Manhattan top, for its versatility and jewel-like shimmering print. Perfect to wear in the office and in the evening – layered with some statement jewellery, naturally!
Pictures from Amelia Allen Photography