This time, it’s all about the accessories! Tuli London is a jazzy student start up, run by my good friend Tallulah and she tells us about where her earring design passion started.
Tallulah is a student at the University of the Arts London (London College of Fashion) studying BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation. Her creativity is purely spectacular and if you haven’t already seen on my Instagram, I am LIVING for her gorgeous earrings at the moment – especially her asymmetric daisy designs. I asked her about balancing her creations, where she see’s herself in five years time and the future of Tuli London!
You are a big fashionista, what do you love about fashion?
Probably how powerful fashion is, it celebrates individuality and similarity which can unite people in a strong way. Everyone adheres to ‘fashion’ in some form, even if they don’t consider themselves “fashionable”, that in itself is fashion, it means something different to each person and affects everyone without them even knowing, that’s very special.
Why earrings? There are so many ways to accessorise an outfit – why was this your choice?
I feel like earrings are a really good way of bringing out the best parts of a face, like eye colours or skin colours. And I always feel more beautiful when I wear them, it’s not necessarily about accessorising an outfit, but accentuating confidence, and that’s the best kind of accessory you can wear.
How did you start up your business?
I started making earrings initially because I had left over clay from a uni project and didn’t want to waste it. But after getting compliments and making a few pairs for friends, I decided to have a go at selling some. I sell on depop but Instagram has proved the most important platform, and it allows me to make to order much easier than on other sites, which is very crucial to avoid waste.
What is the best think about handmaking your products?
I think the best part of hand making my products for Tuli is knowing that quality and care has been put into each element of the process, putting it all together at the end to be shipped off and seeing all that hard work and love get put together feels amazing. I also like that as I’m involved in every element of the process, I know that no workers have been exploited like at many shops to create the earrings, they’ve all been made with love and care and safe working conditions.
Are you always going to focus on earrings or are there more products to come?
No I’m not just going to focus on earrings, I have a few products ideas up my sleeve to do with accessories and fashion that will be launching very soon. But they will all follow the same made-to-order process, so that materials aren’t wasted and particular garments can be adjusted for customer sizes or requests. At the moment I am sourcing second hand fabrics to make one off unique pieces. I am intending to use as many reusable or sustainable fabrics as I can.
What was the most difficult part of starting your own business?
I’d say the most difficult part of running my own business is the management side, as a one-woman business I do everything myself, the design work, the making, packaging, promotion, customer service etc … I find it difficult to achieve a balance between work and life when I’m responsible for every part of a business.
As a student how do you balance all of your creations?
Honestly there’s not a lot of balance going on right now, it can get quite overwhelming when I haven’t done any uni work for a while because of the business or visa-versa. I’m working on settling into a better routine and maybe in the future I’ll be able to delegate small jobs to other people.
What advice would you give to other students wanting to start up their own business?
I would say, absolutely go for it, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself, uni has to be the priority so don’t take on too many tasks that will see you neglecting it. Keep it simple and you should be able to earn a bit of extra cash to support your studies.
How does it feel when people share themselves wearing your designs?
Seeing people wearing my earrings makes everything worth it, I put a lot of effort into making sure each package is perfect for each customer to open and it makes me feel pretty wholesome when I hear how happy it makes them. ALWAYS send me photos!!!
Where do you want your business to be in 5 years time?
In 5 years, I hope that I’ve managed to keep Tuli going, I hope for it to grow and expand and to be keeping its core values of slow fashion, sustainability and all round positivity. Growing a business to the point where I can live off it without another job and at the same time be able to give back to the community and the world would be the absolute best.
Loving local shops and supporting small businesses really isn’t that hard, plus with such gorgeous products, like the ones highlighted in this blog, how can you say no? Seeing businesses grow is beautiful, especially for the people behind the products who work so hard at developing and creating them! Be sure to give these small businesses a follow and check out their websites!
Look out for another ‘Loving Local and Supporting Small’ blog next time!