Woman in Progress: Esa Evans, jewellery designer
Esa Evans is our Woman in Progress this week. She is an artist and founder of her jewellery brand of gorgeous limited edition collections and fashion and charity collaborations. We discovered Esa on Instagram and instantly coveted her “females unite” necklace (which arrived in the post box shortly after thanks to her kindness #gifted!). We were taken with her clever mixing of message and style and keen for her to join our wonderful Women in Progress.
Woman in Progress: Esa Evans, jewellery designer
Hello! I’m Esa. I’m a jewellery designer, living and working in Whitstable, Kent with my two funny and fabulous boys. I’ve been designing and creating jewellery since 2009 when I was frustrated at not finding the jewellery I wanted.
Since then, the business has been a hugely positive force in my life as it’s led to some amazing collaborations with artists, musicians and galleries, like the William Morris Gallery, Wallace Collection, the John Soanes museum and Neon Marl - an uplifting sweatshirt brand. I can’t wait to release the last two of these over the summer and autumn of 2019.
Accessories can really change how we feel about our wardrobe. It can be much more affordable to find inspiration in a necklace than new clothes. So far this year, I’ve found emotional release in wearing my “ffs” pendant, and can’t help smiling when I pair up my coffee and croissant pendants. The trend for layering pendants is something I can absolutely get behind!
What’s the one thing in your life that makes things easier?
My work wife! Everyone should have one. Sarah is wonderful and funny, and has a wonderfully refreshing way of looking at things. We have worked together for four years now and I couldn’t run my business without her. We now have a regular Thursday ‘lunch club’ - this is my kind of work/life balance.
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
My health. It’s no joke - two years ago I had a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) caused by a congenital abnormality called May Thurners Syndrome. I had Nine nights in hospital and surgery. That was scary. I have regular check ups, regular exercise and moderate my drinking to keep myself in the clear. (In fact I’m on my way to a hospital check up right now).
What do you love to do for fun?
I’m very lucky that I ought to exercise, because I love it! I sign up to all kinds of classes, particularly the ones with scary, shouty (motivating) teachers. And then there’s dancing. Whether it’s a party or a DJ night at Dreamland, I’ll be the one still dancing at the end of the night. I’m often referred to as a Duracell bunny!
What one piece of advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?
Just enjoy your kids when they are small. I did okay while trying to run a business and improve a home, but I wish I’d stopped to enjoy the moment a little more. Before you know it they don’t want to do those craft projects or build lego towers any more! It’s a cliché but they grow up so fast. I’d love to return to the time of cuddles and stories on the sofa.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to be positive in even the worst situations. Whatever life has thrown at me, I can find a way through the darkness and see the bright side. Even when I was 18 a friend told me they were always amazed at my positivity. I find myself challenging people who respond negatively to everyday things. My motto is “if no ones died then it’s all ok”.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at work?
We are human and we will make mistakes. So that’s why I’ve learned to take the time to double check orders and proof read text. I’ve learned to think about what my audience will buy so that I can avoid making costly mistakes in stock ordering.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at home?
Buy a really comfortable, pretty but second hand sofa. Everyone will love it and yet you won’t mind when a child wipes their sticky hands on the ‘velvet’.
Did you expect to be doing what you’re doing right now?
You’ll never take the creativity away from me! I could go back to my previous work as a social worker and continue finding inspiration in fashion, music and art. As women, we have more chances than many men to discover the different aspects of ourselves, so who knows what I’ll be doing in five years time - that’s kind of exciting to think about.
How did you end up doing what you’re doing?
It was a hobby and then I discovered that other people liked what I was doing. It grew from there with plenty of nudging and pushing to achieve the results I wanted.
What top tip would you pass on to other women in progress reading this?
Work out what you want out of your life or your business, and shape life around it. Although I’m not earning loads, I’ve got an enviable work life balance, which I love (and NEVER take for granted). Embrace the possibility of change however frightening. (I got divorced this year and it’s been tough but it’s opened so many new possibilities). However large or small your goals are, don’t be afraid to take yourself seriously. But do remember life is for living so enjoy it!
Cocktails or coffee?
There’s a time and place for both. Although experience has shown me that mojitos may be frowned upon on the school run…
Are you done yet? What’s next?
No of course not! There’s plenty more to do. That’s the thing about creating jewellery that you love - you’ve got to wear it here, there and everywhere with the people you love!
We jumped on the bandwagon of wearing Esa’s accessories and you can do the same. Take a look at her stock (and a sneak peak into her life) on Instagram and Facebook too. Thank you Esa!
Photocredits to Samuel Wiles