I’m Jennifer, founder of Billie Grand – an independent jewellery studio in the seaside town of Margate.
Established at the end of 2019, Billie Grand lends its name from my late grandmother Billie, who was a huge inspiration to me growing up. She was a female fiercely ahead of her time. Billie ran a number of businesses in our hometown of Newport, South Wales. I have fond memories of the time she was a pub landlady in a very colourful area of Newport. Billie was a sassy, bold Welsh woman with a love for huge clip-on’s and her signature charm bracelet. I channel her energy through my designs.
Fluid lines, abstract forms and asymmetry inform a lot of my work. I love sculptural shape and playing with texture to make tactile pieces. Working with wire is my first love when making jewellery and has influenced a lot of my design. Each piece is handmade by me and my assistant here in Margate.
How it Started
In 2019, I was working full time as a Financial Executive Assistant in London. I was a huge lover of jewellery and was looking for a wavy bracelet in silver. I couldn’t find what I wanted so decided to make it myself. I enrolled on a short evening class in jewellery-making and from there, I was hooked. I set up a jewellery bench in my bedroom and began experimenting further.
The Creation of Billie Grand
I made the bracelet I set out to make (now the Brainwave Bracelet) and realised other people were interested in having one too. I started Billie Grand on Etsy to see what happened and it took off straight away. Within seven months it became too disruptive for my bedroom and I hired my first studio space in South London while still juggling my full-time job. I soon became very burnt out and after 10 months I took the plunge to quit my job mid-pandemic. Leaving my full-time job gave me the freedom and push that I wanted to leave London after five years of living there. I chose Margate for its vibrant creative scene and friendly community, bought a flat and made the move solo and felt at home straight away. I expanded to a much larger studio, also bringing onboard an assistant to help with the workload so I could focus on designing and growing the business.
The Vision for the Future
Billie Grand is evolving and I’m working on extending our current range and developing styles, with a view to introducing a men’s collection in the near future. I'm very ambitious for the business and long term have a vision to include accessories outside of jewellery and lifestyle products.