Georgie is the Director + Founder of Wanderlust Life Jewellery - a wonderful small business with its roots in North Devon, making understated, minimal jewellery inspired by travel, adventure and the ocean.
Words by Georgie Roberts | Photography by Clare Lewington | 20th Dec '19
We stock a small selection of Wanderlust Life pieces in our on-site shops and have to sit on our hands to stop ourselves buying the whole lot ourselves...Here's a little more about Georgie, her inspirations, and the story behind the brand.
Home for me is North Devon – I’ve been lucky to travel a lot, but always gravitate back to this part of the world. I lived in Croyde in my 20s and early 30s, and now I live in Braunton, it’s only 5 minutes from the beach and there’s a really great community local community here, plus our shop & studio is just a quick walk down the street!
Can you tell us a little bit about the story behind Wanderlust Jewellery; what inspired you to set up the line originally?
Before Wanderlust Life began, I’d grafted in a creative agency, ran a yoga retreat, worked a stint with Damien Hirst and also managed my former partner’s restaurant for a time. Summers were fun, hectic (and hard!) but the perk was going away every winter. It was great because it allowed me to travel – Indo, Sri Lanka, Mexico.
I was on a flight to Mexico and I realized I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing anymore. I didn’t want to be working on things that felt inauthentic to me. I just had a notepad and a pen, and I spent the flight writing down a list of all the things I love doing. I went through some crazy ideas, but I just kept whittling the list down. I kept whittling until only a few things remained.
One was travel, one was jewellery and from those two, Wanderlust Life was born.
How did you get from making necklaces for friends from your bedroom at home, to a team of 14?
I started out designing and making gemstone necklaces for friends and family in a spare bedroom. My friend Sarah who was a jewellery designer saw me wearing one of my necklaces and said, ‘I think you’re onto something there’. She had a gift shop in Croyde and suggested we put a few in there to sell. We sold 10 in a week. She joked, “I reckon this could be your full-time job one day!” At the time, I literally laughed in her face. I never imagined that launching the brand would evolve into an online business, working shop and studio in Braunton with a dedicated team of 16 talented women. And we supply 91 incredible and unique shops, one of which is you guys!
You've said that you draw a tonne of creative inspiration from your travels. Has there been one place in particular that's inspired a lot of your pieces?
I created the brand from an aspiration to develop a range of jewellery that encompasses my own passion for travel, and fell in love with coastal destinations in particular, they provide such a rich variety of inspiration; textures, colours, people. I think this is reflected throughout our collections for sure. I’m not sure if I could pin down one particular place that I draw my inspiration from. I think travel constantly feeds into my inspiration. Fresh perspective does wonders for my creativity – it keeps things fresh and keeps the wheels turning.
You run your shop and studio from the coast of North Devon. What role does the ocean play in your work and life?
Coastal living is so integral & intrinsic to our brand, it’s a feeling and state of being as much as it is an aesthetic. The all-female team I work with are all coastal people that were either born here or drawn from further afield to live close to the ocean. Our collections definitely reflect my roots & passion for travel and creative living, the latest being ‘All at Sea’ which celebrates all things oceanic and features hand cast shells that were collected by our team from their own personal travels far and wide.
Summer is my favourite season, and we are blessed to be in such a beautiful part of the world. Long summer evenings are my favourite, I started daily sea dips with my fellow sea-loving friend Shannon – it’s the best tonic and literally washes the day away. I think we did about 40 days in a row, and I’m already looking forward to getting my swimsuit on next year…
The shop & studio is just minutes from the beaches of Saunton & Croyde. It’s definitely a quieter way of life being out of the city, but full of brilliant perks.
Biggest challenge about running your own small business?
Setting up my own business has been super hard work, but I always try and find time to walk to the beach on a sunny day, or take a long lunch-break if the sea is looking inviting in the midsummer heat. It’s those little moments of joy that feed my passion, and that definitely feeds back into my work and creativity too.
‘Great things happen when you step out of your comfort zone.’ I really believe in that saying.
I had to really trust in the process when I got my business off the ground – it was a scary time. I’d left a full-time job, a salary and security. I think it’s really easy to be super hard on yourself in life, in work…we can be very critical. So I would say to take positives from everything, learn from mistakes and see them as challenges, work hard, be nice to people (I stole that from my Antony Burrill print at home) and go with your with gut! 99 times out of 100 it will serve you right.
I love how books, saying and words of wisdom can also find you at the right time. Here are a few of my faves.
Where's been the most far-flung place you've spotted a piece of Wanderlust Life jewellery?!
Love this question. It was on a flight from Mexico City back to the UK a few years ago, and then again on a flight back from Copenhagen! I love that in the nature of our name, our necklaces do carry the ‘wanderlust’ spirit, and they’re designed to let the wearer carry a little bit of spirit from far-flung places.
Where's next on your own travel bucket list?
We’ve actually being looking at staying with you guys in Varkala this winter! Hopefully dates and times can align. I’m also keen to explore much more of Europe. I’ve got a wedding in Italy planned (not mine!) and we’re thinking about hopping my van and doing a little road trip to France & Spain next year.
And finally - what does Soul mean to you?
Soul. Hmmm…it’s the stuff that ignites you! Puts fire in your belly. The things, people, places, feelings, moments and memories that make you fizz. We all need to feed our souls.