Meet Kat Nolan
We interview our latest hub members to give you the inside story behind their business. Read more about the hub here.
What is your background?
Burnish and Black was co-founded in 2012 by my best friend Louise and me. We both graduated from Middlesex University in 2012 with degrees in Jewellery Design and as we had so much in common it seemed the obvious thing for us to join forces and create a business.
Burnish and Black is a contemporary jewellery brand. Re-working and re-designing existing forms is central to our design concept.
Our work focuses on reclaiming obsolete and unused objects and reworking them into something new, wearable and contemporary. We enjoy making pieces where their past life isn’t immediately obvious. Silver salt spoons and pocket watch pieces are reworked into elegant pendants, old objects abstracted and redesigned into geometric forms.
More recently I have created the collection ‘Fragments’ from items I have hoarded over the years. I love found objects, old unloved items that are waiting for me to find them. By reusing obsolete items we are able to breathe new life into the forgotten.
Louise and I both knew we wanted to start our own businesses but it all seemed so daunting at first. We decided it would be a good idea to go into it together. We had had no experience whatsoever in running a business so it was nice to share the experience with someone. It also made financial sense in terms of buying packaging, business cards etc.
All our start up costs were halved. Also a lot of jewellers can feel isolated when working alone and it has always been nice to have someone to bounce your ideas off of. We have also learned a lot about materials and techniques from each other which wouldn’t have happened if we’d gone solo. It’s really motivating when I send a photo of my latest work to Louise and she loves it and vice versa. Our first collection ‘Changeables’ was a collaborative effort but we now mostly make separate collections, as we both have a lot of ideas!
What is the most challenging thing about running your own company?
Everyone’s life is different but for me personally, it’s juggling lots of different commitments. I am mum to a two year old boy and I also work 4 evenings a week to fund the business. Time is extremely precious and I have to use mine wisely. It is also difficult financially but for me, there is a true love and passion in my jewellery making. I appreciate that this is not a get-rich-quick- story and that doesn’t bother me.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
I would recommend learning the basics about the admin side of a business. Lots of creative people focus almost solely on their practice (myself included until recently) but it is not a viable way to run a business. The boring black and white stuff has to be dealt with too.
Elisicia is a very giving person and is so dedicated to helping the young entrepreneurs at the Petit Miracles Hub and all the volunteers at Petit Miracle Interiors. The concept of the business impressed me immediately. There are not many people who truly worry about where you business is going apart from yourself and that is really inspiring.
The fact that it is a social enterprise and is not being run for someone to financially gain from makes me very proud to be part of it. Being at the shop has also given my confidence a real boost and she has taught me to remember all sides of the business not just making. I have attended seminars and meetings since being at the Hub and really enjoy talking to and mixing with the other designers. It’s important to feel ‘part’ of something and at the Hub, I do feel that.
Well I am an ambitious person so ideally I will have a gallery/shop to display sell my works in. I would also love to be selling through well known and respected galleries and boutique shops. I would love to sell in cities like Venice and Paris.
In terms of my work, I would like to continue to keep it varied and perhaps work towards making more conceptual jewellery pieces too.
Connect with Kat:
Burnish and Black event:
Kat is organising a Crafty Christmas event at the hub you can book your free ticket here