YOU could be forgiven for thinking that supermodel Claudia Schiffer had landed in Oliver Plunkett Street last week for the Sparkles and Bubbles in-store event at Sheena’s boutique.
Making her first visit to Cork, though, was Swedish jewellery designer, Caroline Svedbom - who is a dead ringer for Claudia.
Caroline is 6ft-plus and makes for a striking figure dressed in a citrus creation by Stella McCartney.
“It is my first time in Cork,” said Caroline, who flew in from Greece, (where her family-run studio is located), at the invitation of Sheena McCarthy, who owns the popular Sheena’s Bboutique.
“Cork is a beautiful city, and the people are so friendly. I’m delighted to be here to showcase my jewellery to Sheena’s customers,” says Caroline.
“I’m really enjoying Sheena’s today and I get much of my inspiration for my designs by meeting people on my travels.”
There was a great buzz in the boutique as the models mingled with customers wearing Caroline’s bespoke jewellery.
“It’s a great buzz for Cork,” says Sheena, who was dressed for the special day, wearing a shirt and skirt ensemble by Italian designer, Sara Roka.
“Caroline is on a mission to give women a colour infusion,” says Sheena.
Caroline Svedbom stands out and competes in an array of international brands. How did she start off her global business?
“I can hardly believe it has been 10 years since we began this colourful journey,” says Caroline.
“From keeping the drafts of my first released design, Perfect Drop Earrings, in my drawers at my parents’ house to now having an amazing team, retailers and agents all around the world feels surrealistic.”
She was a young entrepreneur.
“I was only eight years old when I became interested in jewellery design,” says Caroline, 36.
“It was always my dream to work in the creative art of designing unique jewellery. I was always passionate about it since I was very young.”
Caroline lives in Greece but is from Stockholm in Sweden.
“It is the best combination!” says Caroline.
“In 2013, in Paris, I met Nicholas, one of the great jewellery designers. I told him about my dream; to start my own jewellery line. I convinced him to make a small collection in my name, and he did. I was 23 and working in a jewellery store that sold my first pieces. They were sold out in a week.”
Caroline is the fourth generation in her family to work with jewellery. She has determination and chutzpah.
“My dad is employed by me!” says Caroline.
“I believed in what I was doing. And so did my dad. I loved playing with precious stones and creating beautiful pieces of jewellery.
" I like to think my jewellery brings happiness to people. I am all about adding colour - adding colour to daily life makes us happy. I love meeting my customers; I like going out to stores and meeting people.”
The jewellery is made with the world’s finest quality crystals from Austria. The base is nickel tested raw brass that has been partly soldered and plated in 18 karat gold or rhodium.
Where does Caroline get her inspiration from for her jewellery designs? For spring/summer ‘Embrace the Rainbow’, is her theme.
“Colour,” says Caroline. “My inspiration is always colour. I get a lot of inspiration from where I live in Greece, and from my travels around the world. My mission is to continue to grow the business independently - but as a family business. My brother, Frederick, is also involved in the business. We’d like to explore other markets. I employ 35 people and 45 jewellery-makers,” says Caroline.
“They craft the jewellery in a traditional way with special plating that lasts a very long time. It is made with brass, often with Swarovski crystal. The jewellery is very adjustable and people who wear it often like stacking numerous colourful bracelets together, or one or more necklaces with the colours complimenting their outfits. Layering jewellery is fashionable now, making it personal. Statement pieces are still popular.”
What colours are hot for spring/summer?
“Pink is big this season, and so is citrus and lime shades,” says Caroline.
What hopes has she for the future of her jewellery business?
“I want to expand and develop the brand. I take things step-by-step. I had no plans to be global!
“I would like to establish more outlets for my jewellery, in places like hotels and in the USA. I would love my jewellery to be sold in Madison Avenue!”
Caroline donates 15% of the proceeds from her ‘Resort’ collection to the World Perfect Foundation and to the United Nations Women’s Foundation. They are charities that always touch my heart,” she says.
Caroline’s work is a labour of love.
“I love what I do. The business grows organically - my employees all love what they do; they get such satisfaction out of creating something beautiful that will make people happy.”
What is her typical day like?
“My days are all different,” says Caroline. She gets up very early every day: “I get up very early, at 4.30am. It is the best time of the day. I have my coffee and make plans for the day.
“At 6.30 I go to the gym, and afterwards I go to my office in Stockholm or to my studio in Greece. I always find the time to discover new creations; meeting new people and going to new places inspire my creations.”
Caroline, unlike many of us, loves Mondays.
“It is the start of a new week and new opportunities,” she says.
Everyone at the Sparkles and Bubbles event at Sheena’s Boutique is impressed by Caroline and her stunning jewellery line.
“I love these clip-on earrings,” says Cork model, Paula Price.
“My ears aren’t pierced so it’s great to have a selection of clip-on ear-rings to choose from.
“The coral combo ear-rings are so easy to wear and they are very light. I love the colour of the gold -and I love that you can match the colours to the outfit you’re wearing,” says Paula.
“Caroline’s jewellery is great to match to any outfit, casual or formal.”
Sheena provides everybody with a goodie bag to mark Caroline Svedbom’s visit to Cork.
“Enjoy!” says Sheena. “We loved having Caroline in-store and we hope she’ll make a return visit.”