Sarah Parham is CEO and Founder of SVP Jewellery. She worked in advertising for 26 years as a Creative Director before a chance meeting in India led to a whole new career and way of life. Sarah’s vision behind SVP Jewellery is about introducing fair, kind and ethical working practices all the way through the line.
The organisation believes in taking care of their talented workforce, providing a safe place to work and pushing for more transparency across the whole supply chain. SVP is on a mission to change the coloured gemstone industry for good – they want to implement traceable sources and are working to make this a reality. #Changeisbeautiful
How did you end up doing the job you do?
My husband went to India for work and I used to fly out regularly. He employed many people and we all used to go for drinks after work – one girl returned to Jaipur to work in her family business and whilst we were travelling my husband got a call asking us to come to meet her family for afternoon tea. It was there that I was introduced to a whole new world of gems and jewellery makers. And my new life began. I just didn’t quite know it at the time.
As a thank you from the family they let me design a ring. Friends wanted one and as no one knew what size their fingers were I created a ring to fit any finger – retailers soon saw them and wanted them – from there everything fell into place and I quit my job and started a new career.
What are you working on right now?
April is the 20th Anniversary of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer that was originally set up by Ralph Lauren. TV presenter and fashion broadcaster Antonia O’Brien and I have collaborated and designed our Mono Switch collection for this amazing charity. At the moment we’re busy with press days, pop ups and parties.
We’re also working on three new collections and a new type of business but that’s a secret for now – watch this space!
Describe your first job
I left college at 19 and I became part of the first all-girl advertising team in London and the youngest art director.
What would was your B plan if this career didn’t work out?
We are working on a new part of the business that will transform and work side by side with SVP – I love change and I believe that constant evolution is a key to success.
Who or what has been your biggest source of inspiration to date?
My father – he built a business from nothing and made it a huge success.
Who would you most like to work with?
Where do you feel most inspired (perhaps an unusual place to work or a favourite location to find new inspiration for future projects)?
I have a nomadic work life – I love working in different spaces, anywhere from The Ham Yard Hotel to my front room to my business partner’s home to our office.
What did you want to be when you were little?
A farmer’s wife – I just loved animals and I still do. My chocolate Labrador Margot comes everywhere but London with me.
What advice would you give your children (or nieces/nephews/young people)?
Don’t be scared – go for it!
What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
You can do it.
What are you most proud of?
I’ve just been shortlisted for New Jewellery Designer of the Year by International Jewellery London – I have received many awards in advertising over the years, but none of them has meant as much to me as this one.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I have had so many including collaborating with Antonia, meeting my business partner and growing something from scratch that’s mine.
Which one thing would you like to change about your industry/working life?
I wish the mining industry wasn’t so corrupt – everyone in the world is making, buying and selling something whether it’s a product or a service – we should all remember and respect that.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your day to day?
Juggling cash as we are growing quickly.
Who is your favourite fictional female character?
Alice in Wonderland. I just loved her as a child. Brave and open to the different and unusual.
Right Now I’m….
Watching: The Good Wife (I know, I am way behind everyone else)
Reading: The Sunday Newspapers – I don’t have time to read books at the moment
Listening to: My dog snoring
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