WhiteLightly’s Creative Director, Jane Fenn, explains how her former life came to a grinding halt because of some powerful words, which ultimately led to her creating a world of pretty magic things.
How did opening WhiteLightly come about?
In a previous life (not so long ago) I was a financial power of attorney, working in the city, raising 3 children and moving so fast I couldn’t stop to chat. I read a lot and one day something stopped me in my tracks. “You don’t always need a plan – sometimes you just need to breathe, trust and let go and amazing things might happen”. Jewellery and gemstones have always been a true passion of mine. Towards the end of 2012, as a birthday gift, my husband encouraged me to enrol in a Silversmith course. I studied at night and after the very first class, I knew my life had changed. For two years I gathered different skills, talked with people and schemed, then took a leap of faith and left my day job. WhiteLightly is still young, full of energy and with plenty of room to develop and grow.
Why do you exhibit at Life Instyle?
For the simple fact that Life Instyle is the best – best show, best retailers, best exhibitors, all in the one place.
Where are your main customers located and what kind of retailers are they?
WhiteLightly as a brand sits comfortably in gift/lifestyle retail stores as well as within the fashion sector. I dream of one day collaborating with a local fashion designer to create a range of jewellery exclusively for them, but I am just as pleased to see my pieces sitting in cute little gift and lifestyle stores among other unique pieces. Currently WhiteLightly is very Melbourne focused, simply because it is my local neighbourhood. I’m hoping that exhibiting at Life Instyle will highlight WhiteLightly to retailers Australia wide.
What products or current trends do you see as being the “can’t get enough of” type right now?
In one word, “local”. People are really interested in the story behind a product. They want to connect with and buy products from their local designers and makers. There is something big going on at a local level. In the lifestyle/fashion/gift space, if customers can buy something made or designed by someone from their ‘hood’ it makes them feel special and gives them an interesting story to tell friends.
What products will you be showcasing at the upcoming Life Instyle shows?
WhiteLightly will be part of the Melbourne Life Instyle show in August 2016. We are a very new business and hoping to launch our signature range of Formation Earrings and Necklaces. WhiteLightly pieces highlight the simple beauty of metal as an adornment and gemstones in their natural form.
What are the key challenges you are currently facing within business?
As a start-up business, WhiteLightly has literally had to start at the very beginning. It has been fun learning and creating on the fly, but also fraught with challenge. Currently, WhiteLightly is a very small affair but with big plans. Essentially a designer and maker, I feel a bit out of my depth sometimes with spreadsheets, SEO and expanding the business and will probably be looking for a business manager at some point to help focus everything.
What are your favourite designers or creatives at the moment that you are stalking?
Well I have to say it’s pretty good company here in the Life Instyle GALA circle! I’m so excited and honestly humbled that WhiteLightly is counted with these incredible brands. My husband is a product designer and his belief and encouragement has kept me on track and WhiteLightly alive. Aside from his busy day job in a design consultancy, he has developed and is distributing his own product, the “Glowpear” self watering urban planter. It’s really awesome – check it out! I’m a huge fan of Craft Victoria and all the remarkable work they do. I truly value my membership with this amazing organisation; it’s a privilege to be a part of. When it comes to jewellery inspiration, I’m totally stalking Nak Armstrong and Nikki Couppee; they are out of this world.
How would you describe your style?
Pretty. Magic. Things.
What is your favourite pizza topping?
Wild mushroom with provolone cheese served by a ridiculously good looking Italian – this scenario exists here!
Winners will be announced at the GALA evening on Saturday 20 February 2016 at Dockside Pavilion.
Join us for the retail industry night of nights…
Saturday 20 February
Dockside Pavilion, Darling Harbour
6.45pm – 11pm
Held at the stunning Dockside Pavilion, GALA is the perfect night to get your team together, let your hair down and celebrate all the hard work that went into 2015. Tickets include all drinks, dinner, entertainment and a fun environment to network and celebrate this great industry.
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