As we enter more unpredictable times with another lockdown looming, I hope that the Indies in Lockdown interview series may be able to offer some form of comfort and inspiration to other creatives during the pandemic and perhaps offer hope for the future.
Please know you are not alone AND if you are an indie business and would like to share your story, where ever you are based and what ever your situation, please do get in touch.
Contemporary jewellery designer and super lovely gal Sophie Filomena handcrafts fun, bold and colourful creations using polymer clay. From a wide range of hoops, studs and abstract earrings to the new super cute hair barrettes there is such a variety of treats that simply look good enough to eat!
With graphic design, collage, illustration, video work and a feature in Vogue also under her belt this creative has got it going on! The question is, how did Sophie Filomena keep inspired and productive during lockdown?
This interview took place in July 2020 and was updated in September 2020.
|Sophie Filomena creates super cute jewellery pieces using polymer clay|
How are you & what has your situation been like during lockdown?
It's funny, at the start of the year, I was under an immense amount of pressure without really realising it. Although I'd managed to set up plans and goals for the year ahead, such as booking in workshops, markets and establishing a business plan, I felt my creativity had taken a huge hit.
I felt like I wasn't in a position where I had much space in my mind to expand on my ideas and explore new avenues of design.
I'd been constantly working around the clock and not having enough time to rest and take time for myself and the work I actually wanted to do.
In a way, the lockdown suddenly changed my situation overnight and I then found myself (along with many others) in a place where I had a huge expanse of empty time before me! There was a slight sense of relief and a great appreciation for my loved ones.
In true Bristol fashion, the lockdown only brought people together and I was able to explore new directions for my designs and take some time off.
|Geometric drop studs by Sophie Filomena £20 |
How has lockdown affected your business and the way you work?
I was so uncertain as to whether I could still continue making a living off designing and making jewellery, but as it turned out, people still continued to find ways to support small business.
To my delight, I received a lot of messages from customers who told me my earrings made their day a little brighter in the early days of lockdown. I don't think they realise how much that spurred me on and to come up with innovative ideas to maintain a connection through design.
I set up a competition where people designed their own earrings and the winner received their own custom order, handmade by me.
As this has been a testing time for many people, it became clear to me that high morale, collaboration and local support was key to maintaining small and local business.
I recently teamed up with Photographer and Stylist, Charlotte Turton who shot a selection of my earrings in a style very true to my brand. Bold, innovative and positive!
Focusing on the online aspect of my jewellery work felt very important, as all of my physical stockists, unfortunately, had to temporarily shut down.
|Fun fashion collaboration with stylist and photographer Charlotte Turton for Sophie Filomena|
Has this time helped your productivity? If yes, how?
Being essentially housebound made my productivity shoot through the roof - but not in the way I expected.
I spent days upon days just being in the garden and completely transformed it by planting loads of seeds. I found myself being able to start projects I'd always wish I had the time to do.
If there is one thing I'll take away from this situation, it is knowing the importance of doing creative things other than your work. When you are a self-employed creative, it is easy to fall into a trap where your personal and work life begin to merge.
By dedicating a good amount of my time to new hobbies, gardening and doing activities that are far removed from your job, it completely propels your productivity forwards when you go back to it.
There are definitely days that feel very lethargic with no sense of an end to this strange way of living, but overall I am happy with the amount of work I’ve done on the house, garden and my business.
|The new Hair Barrette collection by Sophie Filomena|
Have you become more or less inspired in this time?
Overall, I'm pleased to say I have been feeling more inspired than ever. I get to work on my own terms and feel like I am in a more creative space, mentally. I've since released a new product line of clay hair barrettes and it's felt like a breath of fresh air to get those released.
My jewellery has taken a new direction in terms of style and I have been pushing the boundaries with what I create. I've also finally been able to offer a wider range of clip-on options which I am very excited about! Who says you need pierced ears to enjoy my creations?!
Thanks to the lockdown, I've been able to pick up my collage work again and experiment with new mediums such as video and scanography.
My musician boyfriend and I have been collaborating on some sound and visual projects which I hope to release under an alternative alias, Anemo Lif on Instagram.
For both of us, it's been a useful time to figure out what we want for our own work and I feel more inspired than ever. I believe innovative thinking can emerge from times like these and I’ll definitely be taking these new ideas forward into the future.
|Squiggle hair clip barrette by Sophie Filomena £8|
What's next for your business?
Right at the start of lockdown, my earrings made it into April’s issue of Vogue Czechoslovakia which was such an incredible milestone and not expected at all!
I’m working towards my brand becoming more high-end fashion, whilst still being accessible to all. There are a few worldwide stockists I have my eye on to approach and I’m considering hiring a few people to help me out, later down the line.
I’m looking forward to collaborating more with photographers, models and anyone who has a cool idea.