TSF 16: Bec Astley Clarke MBE – Founder of British jewellery brand Astley Clarke

Bec Astley Clarke founded Astley Clarke in 2006 to celebrate the world’s very best in fine jewellery design and craftsmanship. Astley Clarke has now become one of the UK’s leading online and offline Luxury Fine Jewellery Brands with concessions in London stores Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges. In 2013 Bec was awarded an MBE for services to the jewellery industry.

Bec Astley Clarke_FotorIf you had a 25th hour each day, what would you do?
Spend an extra hour with my kids.

If you could capture and bottle a smell, what would it be and why?
The smell of tomatoes, straight off the vine in Italy

Essential store cupboard ingredients?
I have a house in Italy and am currently honing my Italian cooking skills – my essentials would have to be good olive oil and canned tomatoes.

 What is your ultimate night in – or out?
I will always choose a night in, but if I am going out then I love Granger in Notting Hill.

 What’s in your handbag?
A pair of heels, Chanel no.19, sunglasses, a notebook and a selection of jewellery – you never know when you might need it most…

 Any cuisines you love or loathe?
I love Italian and Japanese. There isn’t a cuisine that I loathe.

What’s your daily uniform?
A DVF silk shirt, rag & bone jeans, flats for day and heels for evening. And of course jewellery, lots of it.

 Why does your job matter to you?
As any entrepreneur will tell you, your brand is everything. I am getting much better at letting go now and prioritising my family but it has taken years of obsession with the brand to get there.

Was there ever a time in your career where you thought ‘I’ve had enough?’
Of course, running a business is anything but straight forward. It’s those little high’s that keep you going, like when a customer tweets their love of a new design or you see someone on the tube wearing an Astley Clarke necklace.

 When you have a daily work slump, how do you snap out of it – tips?
I have always put the business first, after my first baby I returned to work within a few weeks. Now I am lucky enough to have a great team in place so that I can take time out when I need to.

 How did you achieve your current role?
My background is in e-commerce and I was working for big retailers before founding Astley Clarke. After years of working for other people I decided it was time to start something myself – I recognised a gap in the market between Bond Street and The High Street for design-lead Fine Jewellery and launched Astley Clarke. My vision was and still is to create a British Luxury Jewellery Brand with ecommerce at its heart, celebrating design and craftsmanship in Fine Jewellery.

 What would you have told yourself five years ago?
Follow your instinct, the only mistakes I have made have been when I didn’t do this

Who is your career inspiration?
My family. My grandfather was knighted for his discovery of the preventative treatment to rhesus negative babies’ disease, my father was the first British doctor to climb Mount Everest and my mother was a fiercely intelligent psychiatrist who pushed me to believe I could achieve anything I wanted.

 Favourite place for Brunch?
You can’t beat the old-school glamour of the Wolseley.

Favourite shops?
For fresh produce – Kensington Farmers Market, for fabulous clothes – Zadig & Voltaire, for beauty essentials – Space NK and for anything and everything – Local Middle Eastern shops. When I am in NYC I love ABC carpet & home for designer homeware.e 

Best meal?
Duck and rice at the Gold Mine Chinese restaurant with my family.

 Favourite hotel?
The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

 Most used app?

 Happy place?
Our house in Italy, preferably by the pool with a glass of rose in hand.

 Wish list of trip destinations?
Peru and Japan are next on my wish list.

 Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Make yourself indispensable

 Has anyone left you star struck?
Rod Stewart came to our Theirworld bracelet launch in LA – I would like to think I came across as cool and nonchalant but I am not sure I did…

 Who should feature next as a Three Six Fiver?
Jenna Lyons or Sarah Brown

 What should people look out for? 
Some exciting collection launches including our hotly anticipated Kula bracelets and Biography pins. Oh, and I predict blue diamonds are going to be everywhere this Christmas – watch this space.