How I Got Here: Victoria Close
Sometimes I have to pinch myself when I respond to the question, “So, how long have you lived in Japan?” Twenty years sounds like a long time. A VERY long time. But actually it feels like the blink of an eye, even though in those two decades I got married, gave birth to two children, gave up my teaching career in an international school, became a qualified Sogetsu Ikebana teacher-trainer and launched my own jewellery brand.
It all began with ‘serious’ materials such as gold, silver, semi-precious and precious stones and my training in classical jewellery techniques, commercial jewellery production and diamond setting. Yet my love of vintage and the desire to inject colour into my work drew me towards using vintage kimono as the main material in my designs. I rarely solder anything these days and much prefer to work with the softer stuff.
I realised that having a a strong product was not enough to drive sales, so I spent time developing my brand, networking and essentially growing my tribe of #bikufans. My pieces are bought by women in business who are looking for unique statement pieces, busy mums who want to feel put-together on the school run and people who need gifts with a Japanese flair for friends and family back home who are tired of fans and chopsticks.
Just writing it all down, I can see how far I’ve come and I can see how far I’d like to go with developing the Bikudesigns brand. FEW networking events have been crucial in helping me make some amazing connections. The FEW Women’s Start-up Club is an essential part of my business plan for 2017-18 as well as my fabulous Mastermind group who help keep me on track and accountable for my goals.
To find out what’s next for Bikudesigns, follow Victoria on social media or subscribe to her newsletter for updates here: http://www.bikudesigns.com/