A young Birmingham jewellery designer whose fans include Sir Alan Sugar and the Duchess of Cornwall has had four new lines accepted at one of the UK’s biggest retailers.
Entrepreneur Lora Leedham started her own ethical, handcrafted jewellery business in 2006 with a loan from the Prince’s Trust – and has gone on to see her jewellery worn by the Prince of Wales himself and a host of other famous faces.
Lora, from Oldbury, will see her four ranges – Antique Lace, Rhea, Aspen and Flora – go into John Lewis shops from October, with around five or six pieces in each line, with a price tag of between £40 and £120.
The 26-year-old, who has a studio in the Jewellery Quarter, said: “My ethos is British design, British manufacture, which John Lewis thought was perfect for their store.
“I’m launching at the Solihull store as they wanted a local designer for a local store. I submitted some pieces when they had an opening for new pieces and went down to London and had a meeting with them – it was a bit like The Apprentice.
“I put all the pieces together myself and got polishers and people like that as and when I needed them.
“I did a few hundred pieces and had four weeks to get it all done, working from around six in the morning to ten at night.
“The pieces for John Lewis are all sterling silver and nine carat gold. Of the four ranges, two could be aimed at the bridal or gift market. I’ll see how it sells, Christmas is always a good time to tell.”
Ms Leedham got her big break in business when she was commissioned to create a necklace for the Duchess of Cornwall, who wore it on national television for the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Prince’s Trust, when HRH wore a pin.
Since then, her jewellery has been used on the UK’s catwalks and worn by celebrities including Pixie Lott, Fearne Cotton, Alan Sugar and Andy Murray’s mother Judy.