I discovered Fleur de Carotte when Amandine followed me on Instagram earlier this year. I immediately fell in love with her beautiful leather jewellery and style of product photography. So much so that I commissioned an Inky necklace in my brand colours and have had lots of compliments on it wherever I go!
We talk about sourcing, selling, and staying eco friendly!
Tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into jewellery making
I am Amandine, a frenchie living by the sea in Brighton. I am 26 and feel like I have already had several lives!
I moved over to the UK five years ago, did a lot of varied jobs including a short career in a secondary school teaching Spanish and French, and I travelled the world a bit. I have always been creative; I practised dancing, drama, creative writing, drawing, painting and really got into ‘serious’ crafting when I arrived to the UK.
I love sewing, printmaking, weaving and embroidery. I am attracted to any textile related crafts so it’s no surprise I make jewellery with leather!
My brand and blog are named ‘fleur de carotte’, which means carrot flower in French as I like these delicate flowers. Carrot flowers are the unsung heroes of the fields; they are beautiful, humble and wild. My friends also call me Carrot as I have ginger hair!
I started my blog almost one year ago to share my craft and sewing projects, and it helped me find a fantastic community of both English and French speaking sewists. I started making jewellery with leather a year and a bit ago, as I found some leather remnants in a fabric shop. I ended up making some Aztec inspired earrings for my group of best friends and this was the start! Now with hindsight I can’t bear thinking about how bad they looked…!
My blog will soon have a revamp and I would like to have a website dedicated to my products, which shows them in their best light. I have invested in a DSLR camera, and constantly take and retake pictures of my products. My editing is limited to what Windows offers so I need to take great pictures!
Tell us a bit about your process, from idea to to design to final product
I get my inspiration from shapes I see in vintage patterns and Scandinavian design. I am also inspired by pictures and illustrations I see in magazines (I read Frankie, Flow, and Kireei – a lovely Spanish magazine on craft and art), and also a bit from Pinterest. Whenever I get an idea I sketch it in a notepad. If a colour combination comes to my mind, I cut out bits of leather and stick them in a little notebook for future reference.
Leather is quite a tricky material to work with on a small scale as the raw edges are never neat. I created my own techniques and designs, and managed to create sturdy, solid pendants with the edges dyed and polished with professional leather-craft products. This has involved a lot of research, trial and error, and still does! If I like a design then I make several until I am happy with the finished product and then I add it to the shop.
I am also working on a collection named ‘Minérale’ which features a colour palette of gold, black and light pink. I came up with this colour palette in winter as I was inspired by art deco designs and also asymmetric designs.
I am really committed to making my jewellery as eco-friendly as possible. 80% of my materials are from Brighton suppliers and the rest are bought from UK businesses. It can quite constraining but I build my style around this!
I buy leather off cuts from a gentleman who has a leather workshop, and the semi-precious stones are from a UK company which aims to trade ethically. My packaging is made in the UK from 100% recycled card. Our world is already cluttered with disposable, cheap products, and run by big companies. I would rather up-cycle and help local businesses!
What are your plans for Fleur de Carotte?
There is much more coming up for Fleur de Carotte. My shop opened less than three months ago and there is only so much you can do when you work full-time! I don’t want to burn out; I want to enjoy crafting for myself. I still want to sew myself some nice outfits and make my own home decoration. Unfortunately I am not a very organised person and I like to start loads of things at the same time!
I already have big to do lists at work and I don’t want to ruin the joy of making by putting pressure on myself. Selling handmade products doesn’t make you a millionaire so there is no point doing it if you don’t love it! I am aware that this little business is going to grow organically as my spare time allows, but in the future I’d love to balance a 1:1 ratio of craft and work, and have my own studio/shop where I could spend full days as in my wildest dreams…
In the coming months I will introduce handprinted accessories like cushions and tea towels, as well as hand painted leather pouches (obviously using organic fabric and leather remnants!). This whole adventure is so exciting and having people actually wanting and buying what I make feels so good!
Aren’t her pieces lovely? You can follow Amandine in the following places online, or even go and say hello at Brighton’s Fairy Tale Fair on May 24th.
Twitter – @fleurdecarotte0
Instagram – @fleur.de.carotte
Facebook – Fleur de Carotte Handmade
Etsy – fleurdecarotte
Latest posts by Jen Wright (see all)
- Admitting Blogger Defeat - October 16, 2015
- Ode To October - October 2, 2015
- Social Media Top Tips: Pinterest for Small Business - September 25, 2015