Emma by Jane built on friendship
By Aideen O'Flaherty
FRIENDSHIP and style is at the centre of jewellery and fashion designer Jane Asple’s business, which is called Emma by Jane.
The Tallaght-based businesswoman got the name for her company when her best friend Emma borrowed some of her statement pieces, leading to their friends to say ‘Emma looked like she was styled by Jane’, and so the name Emma by Jane was born.
The 30-year-old style maven has created a collection of intricately detailed jewellery, and in recent months made her first foray into fashion designing with the release of the Emma bomber jacket.
The former fashion buyer spoke to The Echo about her friendship with Emma, her plans for the future and what it’s like to run a fashion business.
When did you realise you wanted to pursue being a fashion and jewellery designer?
I found Rachel from Friends when I was 15 and liked the idea of being a fashion buyer. I became hooked with the career and already had big interest in fashion and accessories so I started to design my career around my end goal of having my own fashion business. I started with a degree from DIT in Retail and Business, then I moved to London to do a Master’s in Fashion Buying with the London College of Fashion and then I landed a job as a buyer, learning from the best in the business, Primark.
You’ve previously worked as a fashion buyer, what was it like to switch from that to being a jewellery designer?
Apart from the trips to Europe and the Far East for sourcing and design and having a team around me, it has not been much different. I use the same buying processes I did when I worked with Penneys. It is building a brand from scratch that is the very different part.
Your company is named after yourself and your friend Emma, what is your friendship with Emma like?
Emma is an incredible friend. We lived in London together for five years, where the brand name was founded, so you can only imagine the amount we went through together. Emma is such an incredible support to me and when I am struggling she is one of the first people I call for advice. I got her to model my latest design, the Emma bomber, named after herself, and she finds it quite weird to see her face on social media.
Where do you get the inspiration for your jewellery designs?
My jewellery designs come from what I want to wear myself. I wear my jewellery every day and get so excited when a new piece arrives in. The trends change and what I like to wear changes, so I like to have new pieces launching every few months to keep it fresh. I have built a very good customer base so I think it is important to always have something new for them to add to their collection.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
There are a lot of behind-the-scenes struggles, these are the struggles that my family and friends see. Emma by Jane is designed in Ireland and made in India and as a result we have to deal with importing, customs and duty. This can be a minefield and can be very challenging, but you learn to work through it. My dad once gave me some very good advice, he said, “always think that everything can go wrong, then you are prepared and more capable of coping with the problems”.
You recently released a bomber jacket, do you plan to design more clothes in future?
I am so delighted by the response it has gotten so far. It was quite a jump when I decided to go into clothing, but I knew in my heart that it was the right extension to the brand. I have seen this as people are now buying the bomber and the jewellery to go with it and I find it so exciting when I see someone wearing my bomber jacket as it is such a statement piece. The plan is to launch more pieces and build it slowly. I am currently working on the next design which will hopefully be released in the coming months.
You won the award for Best Start-Up at South Dublin’s Best Young Entrepreneurs Awards, what was that like?
It was very unexpected! My speech was terrible as I was in such shock, but I am absolutely thrilled and really proud of myself. My first year in business has been amazing and this award really topped it off and has made all the struggles and tears worthwhile. It has confirmed that I am going in the right direction and has given me confidence in my business.
You can find out more about Emma by Jane online at www.emmabyjane.com