Published on October 21st, 2014 | by Mint Mag
5 Minutes With: Chupi
From being scouted by Topshop to selling on Aer Lingus flights, we caught up with Chupi Sweetman-Pell to hear all about the happenings behind her beautiful jewellery line Chupi.
1. How did you get into jewellery making?
Well I ran a womenswear label for 7 years for Topshop, also called Chupi. I started that when I was 17 and got scouted out of college when I was 21. I remember getting the call from the scout and thought I was going to die with excitement. It was an amazing time for me but I always knew I wasn’t going to be a fashion designer forever. So then I started looking around at jewellery, and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I wanted better than high street but I couldn’t afford something precious so I started experimenting and fell in love with it. Then when I put a couple of pieces into The Loft in the Powerscourt Centre it just went crazy – and that was the start of it!
2. What’s the nicest thing you’ve made bespoke?
Oh this is really bad but it was for me! It’s mine and my husbands wedding rings. It was so tough because I was having to think about making something that I was going to wear forever! We’ve been together since we were 16 and I wanted something to represent the evolution of our relationship and us growing up together. So, I love Hawthorn trees, and one day we were out walking in Kildare and found a fallen one. I took a branch from it and cast mine from one of the twigs and his from the bark – them both coming from the same tree was the representation of them growing together, just like us.
3. Any nice stories around a special piece you made?
Well I recently made an engagement ring for two of my friends who were getting engaged – it was so amazing to be part of that. It’s so nice to think we’ll all be connected through the ring I made. Another one was a guy came into the shop and wanted to get his girlfriend something because she was going to New York for a year. He commissioned a little saw-whet owl necklace – the saw-whet owls do this 4000 mile journey before they come home, so he got it for her to remind her to always fly home. It was the sweetest thing.
4. What’s your favourite piece in the Autumn/Winter collection?
Oh if I had to choose it would be two pieces; the raspberry leaf necklace – it was cast from a raspberry leaf I found in Wicklow. I love the natural curve and kinks in it. Then also the tough mind, tender heart snake ring – I love him because he’s so tiny, but good and fierce. It comes from a Martin Luther King quote; ‘We must combine the toughness of a serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.’
5. Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Well, our tag line for Chupi is ‘Inspired by wild and natural things’, and that’s exactly where I get my inspiration. I also think good design has a sparkle. I think something that is good just has it’s own little aura and glows!
6. What does the future hold for Chupi?
Lots of exciting things – we’re launching out to Aer Lingus on the 1st November! Every single Aer Lingus flight will have Chupi rings on board – I pinch myself every time I think about it! Another exciting thing we’re doing is a fine gold collection in a pop up shop in New York next May. They’re showcasing jewellers from all over Europe in their store and we’re one of them, so that will be amazing too!
Order online at chupi.ie or pop into their flagship collection in The Loft Market in the Powerscourt Shopping Centre.