Behind The Brand: Natasha Schweitzer
Our first interview for The Refined Woman is with Natasha Chipman of Natasha Schweitzer. Founded in 1972 by Marion Schweitzer, Natasha and sister Alexandra have reignited their mothers dream by taking the brand to an international audience with cutting-edge designs and forward thinking. Designing with an older sensibility that combines modern and simplistic shapes with an imagination of decades past, Natasha Schweitzer pieces are instantly recognisable for their refined beauty and exceptional quality.
1. When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a jewellery designer?
It took me two degrees and and many years working in the fashion industry before I really decided to start our jewellery brand. Originally I set out to be a journalist, but I alway knew I had a creative side that I ultimately couldn’t stay away from. I was quite young when I started, I think around 21 years old, and I can honestly say that I worked my ass off and put my entire heart and soul into the brand from day one.
2. How do you decide what you want to create?
Each season Alex and I make a range plan which creates somewhat of a theme for the season ahead. All of our collections are designed over 12-months before they reach stores, so we have time to test styles with our international buyers and stylists who give feedback on what consumers in different countries are buying.
3. Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from?
Current trends and best selling pieces from past collections inform our work, but I really try not to take direct reference and rather be creative on my own when designing. I really believe that this sets us aside from everyone else in the industry.
4. Beyond applying basic techniques, how do you evoke an emotional response to your jewellery?
I really believe that jewellery, more so than any other object, evokes an emotional response for the wearer. All of our pieces are handmade in our Brisbane workshop are built to last generations, so the notion of having a favourite piece that you wear for years to come and pass on is so important to us. Our letter necklaces are made in solid gold and are really a piece that most people rarely take off, eventually become a personal signature for the wearer. I absolutely love this aspect of jewellery.
5. How do you know when a piece is finished?
When Alex tells me to stop looking at the same piece and move on! We have no time!
6. Who have been your biggest mentors in the industry and what is the best advice the have ever given you?
My business partner and sister Alex. She is two years younger than I am, but I always look up to her. Her mantra to our team is always ’stress less live more’.
7. What other refined women have inspired you over the years?
My mother has inspired my work ethic and I admire her love and kindness towards people. Also, my best-friend Elise. She is one of the strongest and loving souls I know, and I have always wanted to be like her - she does life really well, even in the hardest of times.
8. What did you wear to your first interview?
One of our first big interviews was with Vogue Australia, and I remember wearing a pair of black velvet flares and a white Acne man-style blouse.
9. What is your favourite piece of work and what does it mean to you?
My favourite piece of work is probably still the Odette earrings. They were the first pair of earrings that I designed, and they are special to me because they really signalled the beginning of this journey. Of course, at the time I had no idea I would be making more than the one pair when I first wore them to an event, but 4 years later we are still selling them!
10. What is your current mantra and how does it fit into your life?
Don’t criticise, condemn or complain. My Dad always says that to Alex and I, and really it’s the perfect line that gets us through everything good and bad. Oh…and be a nice human!
You can learn more about Natasha Schweitzer or shop their collection at www.natashaschweitzer.com