Friday feature – Instagram @velvet_parsnips

Featuring a super talented instagrammer today, @velvet_parsnips Clare is a mama of 2, living by the sea with her little family including  super cute Frenchie, Frank!

Clare is a Jewellery designer and lovingly makes all her items for sale. Making unique collections for Mamas and thier and littles combines beautifully simple designs that are timeless pieces to  be treasured for years to come.

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Hello! I’m Clare – Owner, jewellery designer and maker at Velvet Parsnips, specialising in hand crafted, Scandi inspired, minimalistic jewellery for women and children.

I’m 30 years old and full time mama to Ava May (2), Rowan (6 months) and our newest addition Frankie (Frenchie pup!). I’m getting married next year to Dan and we are currently living life by the sea just outside Brighton.

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What is a regular day like for you?

Crazy! My feet don’t touch the ground until the babes go to bed. We start the day with a mad rush to get out of the house and Ava off to nursery. She goes 4 mornings a week, and absolutely loves it. It gives me a break and some one-on-one time with Rowan. This is also my chance to get any housework/work I can done! I try to put Ro down in his cot for a morning nap, (he normally refuses!) so I usually take him out for a walk by the sea in his buggy.

Once I’ve collected Ava from nursery, the afternoon whizzes by in a rather chaotic way! I’m definitely still learning how to juggle two small people. It’s getting easier, but I can still have epic fail days. I try not to put too much pressure on the afternoon activities, if we make it out of the house and neither of my children are having a meltdown then that’s a bonus!!
Then its dinner, bath, stories, big smooches and finally bed. We are lucky that they both go down at 7pm. So the evenings are our time. Although this is when I now cram in my work schedule. We eat late, sometimes 9pm – I know shock, horror! Then we’ll head for bed at around 11pm.

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What made you go into business and, do you have any advice to someone wanting to start a small business themselves?

When I fell pregnant with Ava, I was working as an interior designer in East London. I designed furniture and fittings for commercial spaces. As soon as I started working there I knew that It wasn’t for me. I had to do a 3 hour round trip commute every day from South east London, and once I got there I just wanted to turn around and go home again! I had a countdown to my maternity leave and, as soon as I’d left, I knew I wasn’t going back. Dan got a new job offer in Brighton and we jumped at the chance for a change. We got a house when I was 39 weeks pregnant (crazy people) and finally moved in when Ava was two weeks old.

It wasn’t easy moving to a new area. We’d moved away from family and friends at a time that we probably needed people the most. Neither of us knew anyone and I became isolated in the early days. I started Jewellery and Silversmithing classes part time, one evening a week when Ava was about 4 months old. The objective was to meet other creatives and to learn a new skill, I didn’t think it would inspire me so much that I’d want to completely change my career. I’d always wanted to set up on my own creatively, but I wasn’t really sure where to start. Doing this course, gave me the confidence to really go for it. It took another year after that, to get everything set up and it’s come on even further since then.
I would say to anyone wanting to start up their own business – go for it! My philosophy is that life is for taking chances, even if they don’t work out. It’s for the journey and the adventure. You never know where it’s going to take you or what opportunities will come your way. If you’ve got the passion and a work hard, anything is possible.

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What are your favourite flowers?

Tulips. Give me all the tulips! Especially the white ones. I’m obsessed! I even grew some in my garden this year and they survived, which I was quite proud of!

Where did you last take a holiday?

It feels like forever ago that we had a proper holiday, the last one was to the South of France. I was 6 months pregnant with Ava and we went to Nice, Monaco and Cannes. It was wonderful. Would have been slightly better had I been able to drink the wine and eat the cheese though! Fingers crossed, we will be off to France again this year. Not sure how relaxing that will be with a two year old and a baby, but we’ll give it a go!

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Creative, hardworking & loyal.

How do you relax?

Good friends, good chats, good wine, good books, real good belly laughs, slow weekends with the fam, a box set and a takeaway. Pretty much sums it up.

Do you have a favourite shop or online store at the moment?

Yes I do! Instagram is killing my bank balance, because I keep finding gorgeous independent online stores and designers that I LOVE. I could list so many but I absolutely adore every print and garland that Woody and Florence make. I think I might be Chloe’s biggest fan! I also love Violet and Percy, Southwood stores and most recently Naked Lunge. Basically anything quirky, designed in Stockhom or inspired by minimalism and I’m there!

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What is your proudest achievement?

Apart from my little family, I think I’m most proud of my university degree. I’ve always been very creative but not at all academic and up until I was 21 I had absolutely no idea where my life was heading. I left school barely scraping my GCSE’s except for Art, Design and English. I dropped out of my A levels after the first year because I didn’t get the results. I went to fashion college and did pretty well, but again left and didn’t really know what I was going to do next. I moved to London to work and after a year I began to figure out my ideas. I went back to college to restudy and gained entry to university when I was 23. I worked my socks off in those three years and I graduated with a 1st class (hons) degree. I’ve never been so proud of myself, ever. That was a real turning point for me.

What’s in your handbag?

An assortment of biscuit crumbs, nappies, baby wipes (how do people live without baby wipes before they have children? I use them for absolutely everything now!), my battered old leopard print purse, I’ve had it for years and can’t bear to part with it. My iphone (of course!), antibacterial hand lotion (I’m a bit crazy with that stuff), my diary and keys. Gosh, I’m not very glamorous, am I?!

Who or what inspires you most?

I find the whole creative industry really inspiring, from fashion, jewellery, photography, artisans, furniture makers – anything and everything. I’m so in love with every aspect of it, how self-expressive it can be and how personal. You really get to know people through their craft and that inspires me the most. Seeing others doing something that they love and are so passionate about is truly wonderful. I get a real buzz from other creatives. Especially when I see other mama’s doing their thing. That focuses me and pushes me to want to do more, to be better.

Take a look at Clare’s shop Velvet Parsnips here

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