Pieces of fine jewellery with a narrative that really encapsulate a memory for the wearer as an expression of their personal story.
How did it all begin?
Annoushka came quite naturally when I couldn’t find the kind of creative fine jewellery I wanted to wear. My standards are very high – I want to wear jewellery that is beautiful yet playful and contemporary, so the best way to fulfil that void was to design my own.
What sets your business apart?
I create pieces of fine jewellery with narrative that really encapsulate a memory for the wearer as an expression of their personal story.
What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?
It has always been important to me that all the materials I use are ethically sourced. I only work with craftsmen and suppliers who share my ethos, people who care about the environment and respect the people they work with.
Where to next/What is your brand vision?
We are very excited to build on our success in Hong Kong and become the first British fine jewellery designer to make a serious move into the Chinese Mainland. I’d love to branch out more internationally – who knows where to next?
Annoushka Ducas MBE
What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?
Creating precious jewellery for remarkable women. I built Annoushka to fill what I saw was a gap in the market for beautiful, contemporary jewels that were fresh and light and a delight to wear. Looking back, I’m so pleased that everything has kept that freshness and lightness, it feels timeless.
Share an example of early life that has shaped you?
My mother and I travelled a lot when I was little, visiting friends and family, exploring intoxicating cities and magical landscapes. It was really unusual at the time to travel as much as we did, and it has had a huge influence on the broad palette of reference now available to me as a designer. My love of art, architecture, appreciation of diverse cultures and eras, can be seen in the detail, the colours, materials, craftsmanship and texture that underpin my approach to design.
Highlights of your business journey so far?
I will always be grateful for being awarded Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2012 by Queen Elizabeth II for my services to the British jewellery industry.
Key lessons you have learned along the way?
I have recently learnt not to be afraid of hiring people better than you!
Best piece of advice you have received?
My mother always said, ‘never take no for an answer’.
Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?
Don’t worry what other people think of you: just go with your gut and trust your instinct, as 99 times out of 100 it will be right.
What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?
Annoushka is owned by the founders, Annoushka Ducas MBE and John Ayton
Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?
Selling fine jewellery online has been a challenge for most designers as the buyer feels inclined to closely examine the jewellery before spending a sizeable amount. We’ve recently launched a new website that has undercut so many of these worries. Our clients are supported throughout their purchasing journey and the images of the jewellery are intricately detailed.
Why is it important to support women-led business?
Many fields, particularly the art world, are still so poorly represented by women, which I find pretty shocking. At least 80% percent of our workforce is female. I’m lucky that I am in position where I am able to share my own story and experiences with other women. I set up my Inspirational Women series a number of years ago with the idea of highlighting and championing brilliant women across a number of fields: entrepreneurs, campaigners, writers, artists, business women, politicians and sportswomen who are using their talent to make a difference.
Annoushka Ducas MBE
My inspiration is...
My greatest fear is...
The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...
Surviving an avalanche whilst heli-skiing.
Old fashioned sweeties.
Mantra you live by?
Try everything once.
Female role model?
Women-led brand you love?
The Vampire's Wife.
Top productivity tool?
Capturing everything that inspires me with my phone.
Annoushka has created a SPECIAL OFFER exclusively for Women's Chapter Members