Graduating in 2018, Rachel secured a job as Jewellery Buying Assistant at Net-a-Porter. Following this the Fashion Communication alumni set out to launch Bij Fior, a digital portal to a unique, curated collection of fine jewellery. The brand’s focus is on remaining small and boutique in order to be completely at the customer’s disposal, delivering a premium, luxury service whilst also creating time and space to showcase and celebrate each individual piece of fine jewellery on site.
What drew you towards studying at Condé Nast College and your course specifically?
The opportunity to study in the heart of London with exceptional facilities. The kind yet ambitious community, and the desire to become a part of the Condé Nast College network. When CNC announced their BA (Hons) Fashion Communication starting in 2016, I was the first to sign up and actually I was the very first to be interviewed for the course too! I wanted, ultimately, to understand the ins and outs of fashion business and communication and then get out into the jewellery world, so the two–year degree was also a great option for me.
How would you describe your experience?
A happy, hard-working experience.
Were there any standout moments/memories that you have from your time as a student?
My final creative project, I loved and I have a framed image of one of my pieces from it proudly displayed on my wall at home. Also, meeting Lucinda Chambers – I remember she said she loved my earrings!
Tell us about the launch of Bij Fior and the ethos behind the brand. Was it something you always wanted to create?
Bij Fior is a newly launched digital portal to a unique, curated collection of fine jewellery, housing pieces which are all one-of-a-kind or exclusive. I founded Bij Fior to offer the market something new, making the search for singular, remarkable fine jewellery into a personal, luxurious, seamless experience. I wanted to remove the often difficult and arduous task of finding trusted, exceptionally gifted and independent jewellers – and I’m proud to say that Bij Fior does just that. When you buy from Bij Fior, you not only invest in a piece of fine jewellery to cherish, but in craftsmanship and family-run jewellers. It is founded on relationships with brilliant, small independent jewellers, who have made their works of art exclusive to Bij Fior as a retailer. I have always dreamed of creating an experience and a portal like Bij Fior and I am still dreaming of building it but to its true potential.
Where do you take inspiration from when choosing your pieces? What’s the creative process like?
I chose jewellery that would be beautiful not just in its story, in its form, or in its craftsmanship. But rather, in its total being, its presence and its significance. I chose jewellery from family-run jewellery businesses with pieces that have real stories and distinct characters. For my initial selection, which includes four wonderful fine jewellers, I also ensured that I created a complementary range including a variety of diamonds, ancient and local craftsmanship, rare gemstones and material compositions.
How did your studies assist the launch of your own business? Were there any particular modules or speakers that stood out to you?
My studies not only equipped me with skills I now use every day such as InDesign, Photoshop, Premier pro, Illustrator. But also, it gave me a greater understanding of fashion business, marketing, and ethics. I particularly loved hearing Tory Burch speak, as her entrepreneurial journey was so inspiring.
Since graduating, can you tell us about the journey of how you got to where you are now?
Initially I worked for Beanie Major, who had founded her own fine jewellery personal shopping and engagement ring service. I then worked for Net-A-Porter in the jewellery buying department. It was an exciting, invaluable experience where I learnt lots and made some great friends. I then became a freelance fine jewellery consultant with clients such as Dubini Fine Jewellery. Then Bij Fior was born shortly after that! We are still only in the first few months of our soft launch – meaning it is an especially exciting time.
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What advice would you give to current students/prospective students looking to join the college?
Invest in yourself – work hard and find what you love; the college fosters a work hard ethic and opportunity to do just that.
Who would you love to see wearing your pieces?
True lovers of beauty and jewellery, romantic and strong spirits, people from around the world – both those who will cherish their jewellery at home and those who want to exhibit it to the world.
What do you hope to see within the future of the fashion industry this year?
I hope to see more sustainability and more kindness.
Complete the sentence: Condé Nast College is…
An opportunity to invest in yourself.