Mantra Jewellery: Winner of ‘Brand to Watch’ at the 25th Annual Retail Jeweller Awards

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Exciting news! We’re proud to announce that our very own Mantra Jewellery was recently voted the ‘Brand to Watch’ at the 25th annual Retail Jeweller Awards.

We launched Mantra, our first in-house brand, as part of our 10 year anniversary in 2015. Combining beautiful, symbolic designs with thoughtful meaning cards, Mantra is a collection that celebrates the influential power of jewellery: each piece carries its own positive affirmation to inspire the wearer every day.

Jo Stroud, founder of Fabulous Collections and Mantra Jewellery, says: ‘We were absolutely thrilled to win the ‘Brand to Watch’ award last night. We have worked very hard over the last 18 months to create a brand of meaningful jewellery that has the power to change how people feel, and the judges seemed to really recognise this. The feedback from the judges was that they were very impressed with how much we’d achieved already, and couldn’t wait to see what the next few years brings for Mantra.’

As firm believers in the power of positive words and thoughts, we believe pieces from the Mantra collection act as precious, personal, wearable and lasting reminders of a personal mantra.

View the full collection at fabulous.

Fabulous Futures Award | Birmingham School of Jewellery | Fabulous

Birmingham School of Jewellery has an excellent reputation for producing highly employable graduates with the skills needed within the jewellery industry today. We, at fabulous are thrilled to support this degree course for the last few years, as it offers students a sound training in the industry and helps developing their technical skills within a commercial framework.

We work closely with final year students on the ‘Jewellery and Silversmithing – Design for Industry’ degree course, to give students a retail perspective before they go on to become designers or pursue a career in the industry.

Jo Stroud, Managing Director and Sinade, Brand & Buying Manager here at fabulous – who is a graduate of this course herself were a part of the end-of-year judging panels, selecting one or two students to be the recipients of the annual ‘Fabulous Futures’ Award.

We are delighted to announce the ‘Fabulous Futures’ Award winner, in conjunction with the Birmingham School of Jewellery.

The winner is (Drum roll please) Rhiannon Rodgers.

Birmingham School of Jewellery, Fabulous Futures Award, jewellery award, students, fabulous collections, Jewellery and Silversmithing Design for Industry, degree course

Jo Stroud, fabulous owner with Rhiannon Rodgers, winner of Fabulous Futures Award and Sinade Prosser, brand & buying manager at fabulous

Rhiannon’s stunning final year collection takes inspiration from the architectural and natural forms of Birmingham’s historic Botanical Gardens, with their elegant Victorian glasshouses and collection of exotic plants – a haven of peace and tranquility in the middle of this bustling city. Rhiannon has designed beautiful open-work lockets, inspired by the Art Nouveau metalwork of the glasshouses, complemented by silver discs featuring palm leaves, pineapples and other natural motifs.

The winner receives mentoring sessions from us, designed to help them with their target market, pricing of their pieces, the way their jewellery is presented and packaged, their branding and naming the collections and ways to showcase it themselves online.

They are given an opportunity to showcase their skills at our ever-popular Annual Garden Party, where they meet some of our regular customers and other designers. A small bursary is given to help set them up for their first collection.

British designers are very important to us at fabulous. With collections from Vivienne Westwood, Lulu Guinness, Chloe Moss and Daisy London Jewellery being very successful for us over the years, helping make us the go-to place for must-have brands. We’d love to see the next big thing in the industry come from home grown talent.

Birmingham School of Jewellery, Fabulous Futures Award, jewellery award, students, fabulous collections, Jewellery and Silversmithing Design for Industry, degree course

fabulous owner, Jo Stroud, with Claire Price, Course Director at Birmingham School of Jewellery and Sinade Prosser

We have worked with the Birmingham School of Jewellery’s Course Director, Claire Price for many years now. “We love working with fabulous throughout the year on this course, especially at year-end with these Awards. Jo and Sinade bring real-life commercial expertise to our students and offer genuine mentoring to support to new graduates. We are also thrilled that an alumnus of the School is so closely involved.” says Claire.

Sinade graduated from this course in 2009 and has worked her way up here at fabulous since joining in 2007, as a part-time retail assistant. While studying, to being a core part of the senior management team, with responsibility for own-brand development, buying and creative work.

The School of Jewellery, which is part of the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design at Birmingham City University, has been located in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter since 1890, with a portfolio of courses from jewellery design to silversmithing, to horology and gemology.

– Jo Stroud

Want to know more? Click www.fabulouscollections.co.uk or visit our stores in fabulous – Royal Leamington Spa Stores or Solihull.

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School of Jewellery fabulous Futures Awards!

Last night saw the end of year show from the graduating students of the School of Jewellery in Birmingham. Fabulous works with students on the Design for Industry BA(Hons) course, giving retail and commercial input at various points throughout the course. As well as supporting the course with tutorials and work experience, and being on the end of year panel, Fabulous awards up to two ‘Fabulous Futures’ awards every year, choosing the designer or designers who show the most promise, and whom owner Jo Stroud and Creative Manager Sinade Prosser feel that Fabulous can help the most.

The winner of this year’s Fabulous Futures award is Suzannah Key, a young designer from Devon who has created a beautiful range of Spinning pendants. Susannah is a talented artist who draws extremely well, and is able to follow through her sketches all the way through into casting them into her jewellery collection. Suzannah will showcase her designs at the Fabulous Garden Party; have mentoring sessions with Jo, Sinade, Rhian and the team to help her develop her proposition, pricing, branding, website and business plan; and receives a £400 bursary to help with materials and general expenses as she gets started.

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“Suzannah’s designs are just perfect. They have been beautifully cast, and have a lovely weight and quality to them. We are really looking forward to helping Suzannah bring them to market,” explains Jo.

This year was very tough, with so many talented designers graduating from the programme, but they decided to focus all their efforts on Suzannah this year, rather than splitting the award. Other highly commended stars this year included:

  • Rebecca Wilkes, who gorgeous flower rings are set to become huge. “I can see them on the pages of Elle and Vogue,” says Jo. “Rebecca is very creative, and her designs are a perfect fit for high fashion.”
  •  Katy Tromans also really impressed Jo and Sinade, with her intricately-realised fairy tale creations, “Like nothing else I have ever seen – beautiful!”, added Sinade.
  • And Charlotte Rowenna’s gorgeous stone-set rings looked like they had come out of the sea fully formed, inspired by barnacles, mussels and driftwood.

“I really wish all the young designers well going forward – I wish we could help all of them! There was so much talent this year, and they were really focused on their target audience, branding and brand story, as well as the jewellery designs – so we were incredibly impressed with them. The School of Jewellery is doing a fantastic job at training these young designers to be ready for the real world.”

Jo’s Training Update: London Marathon

It’s rapidly approaching: just 2 weeks until the London Marathon, which I am running to raise money for Breast Cancer Now.

Thanks to all of you, I have passed my fund-raising target of £3000, which is absolutely fantastic – thank you all so much. But please don’t stop there! I would love to raise even more for this important charity, so please do sponsor me, if you would like to and haven’t yet had chance. I have a fund-raising page at www.justgiving.com/jostroud.

I started experiencing severe pain in my right knee when running lately, and have had good advice that it is ‘Iliotibial band syndrome’. This is a weakness in the muscles in my hip and thigh, putting pressure on my knee – so I have been doing lots of exercises and Pilates moves every day to correct it.

Position of iliotibial band

 

And it seems to be doing the trick, as my knee didn’t hurt so much on my longest run so far – 18.5 miles – last weekend. It was very tough, and pretty slow-going towards the end – but it’s the furthest I have ever run, so it left me feeling hopeful about at least being able to finish the marathon!

The most glorious day for a run

So – one more long run this coming weekend, aiming for 20 miles; and still lots of short sprints to build my overall fitness; and weights and stretches to work on my muscles. Then, it’s just resting before the big day.

I know many of you have run the marathon yourselves, and I am hugely appreciative to all of you for the advice, support and encouragement you are giving me. I’m getting more and more nervous as the day approaches – but it’s such a good cause, and I am determined to run the whole thing and finish well – so that is keeping me going.

I suspect now it is more my mind than my body that needs to keep going; so, it’s all about positive thinking now – and, as we say in our Mantra jewellery collection, ‘All things are possible, if you believe’. I have about 20 mantras to repeat to myself while I’m running, to get me through the miles!

AllThingsarePossible

I’ll look forward to updating you all on how I get on, as April 24th is now just around the corner. Thanks very much for reading this, and for your support.

Jo x

Update on my training for the London Marathon – Jo Stroud

As many of you know, I am running in the London Marathon in April, to raise money for Breast Cancer Now.

I ran in the Bath Half Marathon last weekend, to test my progress and to experience running with 15,000 people. What a great day! Gorgeous sunshine, huge camaraderie, and a beautiful city to run around.

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However, I found the run very tough. More hilly than I expected; hard to get a good pace with so many people; and bad cramp in my knee and foot, 4 miles from the end.

So, a tough race, and a good wake-up call, 6 weeks before London, that I need to work harder. If anyone has any good cures for cramp, then do let me know – tweet us @FabCollection or post to our Facebook page /FabulousCollections. I am trying magnesium supplements and spray, and doing a lot more stretching before a run now.

My fund-raising is going well, thanks to the generosity of so many customers, designers, and friends. I am at £2700 now, aiming to get to £3000 by the time of the run. It’s a brilliant cause – Breast Cancer Now – so I would love to reach the £3000 goal. I have a fund-raising page set up at www.justgiving.com/jostroud.

I’ll continue to keep you updated with my progress over the final few weeks, as April 24th looms ever closer! Thanks very much for reading this, and for your support.

Jo x

London Marathon Training Update, Jo

As you know, I am running in the London Marathon in April, to raise money for Breast Cancer Now.

I am now 4 weeks into my 16-week training programme, with 12 weeks to go before the big day!

I am up to 18km (11 miles) on my long runs, getting up to 21km by next week, which is half-marathon distance. I have run one half-marathon before – Stratford, last April – so it will be good to see if my time has improved over the year.

I have been listening to motivational audio books and talks as I train. A great TED talk to watch while doing challenging hill sprints on a treadmill is by Diana Nyad, who was the first person to swim the 100 miles from Cuba to Florida, in shark-infested waters. Diana finally did it, in 2013, on her 5th attempt – at the age of 64. Her mantra, to somehow ‘find a way’, kept her going; and I have decided to adopt this as my mantra for 2016.

Find a Way quote

The marathon is clearly going to be very tough, but it is the thought that I am raising money for such a good cause that motivates me as I train. Breast Cancer Now is determined to stop deaths from breast cancer by 2050. Although many more survive than ever before, 1000 women every month still die from it in the UK.

This inspirational charity organised a superb marathon training day last weekend, with talks on nutrition, injury prevention and training, where I also met many of the other runners aiming to raise vital funds for the charity.

We heard a fascinating talk by Shane Foo, one of Breast Cancer Now’s researchers, about ground-breaking research he and his team are undertaking on the way breast cancer tumours behave, and why they so often spread to other organs. Shane’s team are aiming to find ways of slowing down or stopping their spread.

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I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far. I know it’s tough to find extra cash at this time of year, so soon after Christmas, so I am very appreciative of everyone who has already sponsored me in my quest to raise £3000 for Breast Cancer Now. I still have some way to go, but I am making good progress!

I’d love it if you would support me with some sponsorship, if you can. I have a fund-raising page set up at www.justgiving.com/jostroud.

I’ll continue to keep you updated with my progress over the next few weeks, as the date gets closer! Thanks very much for reading this, and for your support.

Jo x

Training for the London Marathon!

As many of you know, I am running in the London Marathon in April, to raise money for Breast Cancer Now.

I am now in the 16-week countdown, so the training has kicked in properly:

Pilates on Monday evenings to stretch muscles and build core strength; a 6 to 8km run on a Tuesday; hill sprints on a Wednesday to build fitness; a rest day on Thursday; a slightly longer run Friday evening, before the long runs kick in at the weekend – 12km last Sunday, building to 15km this Sunday, then up to 18km, then a half-marathon (21km), and upwards from there, until I get to 42km, or 26 miles.

I have found a number of things that make a real difference:

  • Watching TED talks on my iPad, when I run on my treadmill at home, makes the time fly and is genuinely fascinating.
  • Listening to audio books on my iPod when running outside – particularly psychology books – gives me something to think about and motivates me while I am running.
  • Wearing the right kit, that also makes me smile: brightly-coloured new trainers, fitted by the brilliant guys at Coventry Runner, who carry out ‘gait analysis’ to correct your stride. Filming me running, it was clear that my ankle was bending, so they recommended some new Asics that have corrected the problem completely.
  • And I loved the colour so much, that I bought a Swatch watch from our Solihull store to match! Easy to read the numbers when running, lightweight and comfortable with its silicon strap, it is the perfect running watch – especially when teamed with a FitBit on the other wrist.
  • And a great book from my friend, Emma – ‘Run like a Girl’ – which is full of good advice and inspiring stories of early female marathon runners. It was only in 1972 that women were allowed into the Boston Marathon, for example, as it was believed that women’s bodies couldn’t cope with the distance!

jo-training-marathon.jpg

But mainly – it is the thought that I will raise money for such a good cause that is motivating me as I train. Breast Cancer Now is determined to stop deaths from breast cancer, by 2050. Although many more survive than ever before, 12,000 women still die every year from Breast Cancer.

Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, created by the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. We have supported this excellent charity for many years at Fabulous, and many of you have donated over those years at our events and raffles.

Now, I’d like to ask you to support it further, by sponsoring me for the marathon. I’m aiming to raise £3000 for this cause, and have a fund-raising page set up at www.justgiving.com/jostroud.

I’ll keep you updated with my progress over the next few weeks as the date gets closer! Thanks very much for reading this, and for your support.

Jo x