Francesca Herrera, 29 from London designs, makes and sells her own beautiful latin american style handmade jewellery! She’s now lived in Brighton for 10 years, having moved over for Uni. “I could see myself staying here forever, I love Brighton. But at the same time life is full of a lot of twists and turns so you just don’t know.” She explained further that coming from London, it’s hard to imagine yourself living elsewhere but that she just became so accustomed to Brighton “being able to go back home late at night and not feel a bit scared walking down the streets. Like in London you have to be quite alert, you’d have to walk really confidently so nobody decides to mug you, kind of thing.” Hahaha that’s not a difficult one to relate to! “Brighton’s great for your friends all being in walking distance. And freedom of expression! I just love it, it suits my lifestyle!”
I met Francesca at FLOCK, a vintage and handmade shop that sells a combination of clothes, jewellery, plants and other accessories. FLOCK is one of the places in Brighton you can find Francesca’s jewellery. She explained that she loves the shop so much “we’ve got so many beautiful handmade clothes and stuff, a really nice team of designers contributing to the collection here, I love how everything blends in together. And we only just opened up last year, so it’s still really new and exiting!” Flock just happens to be one of the places Francesca gets additional items for her wardrobe along with online (Etsy) shopping for one of a kind stuff which she’s a big fan of. “I really like buying other peoples handmade stuff because I appreciate the time it must have taken for them to finish it.” She also loves to buy when she’s traveling, having a little piece of beautiful fabric and textiles from different corners of the world.
So how did Francesca get where she is today? Whilst studying anthropology at Sussex University, she had a weekend job at The Brighton & Bead shop “which isn’t here anymore, which is quite sad”. She learnt the basics of how to make jewellery “the technical things” throughout that job and realised she was good at it. “It was really funny actually, because I remember my manager giving me an interview and she asked me if I’d ever made anything before and I said I hadn’t. So she was like oh okay I’ll show you the basics, so I was doing the basics and I remember her just giving me this look of surprise when she showed me the first thing. I remember not really understanding the look until years later when I started training others, I realised how hard it was for most people! Actually It’s a really difficult thing to do! But it came really easily to me.”
Her success was built up from there, starting to sell at Snooper’s Attic and then moving on to selling in FLOCK!
Francesca believes that it’s thanks to her parents that she has the skills she does. Her Peruvian Dad is a carpenter, so good with his hands and intricate fidgety details and Bohemian Mum has a particularly “good eye! So I get the designer side from her”. She describes her upbringing beautifully on her Etsy profile “With swirls of bright colours in our Andean textiles covering our walls and furniture, exotic objects such as giant green snail shells, huge seed pods and ancient pots lining our shelves and of course the sound of my father playing his pan pipes ringing in my ears, I have been engulfed in a world of curiosities.”
Some of Francesca’s favourite materials are porcupine quills, beetle shells, parrot feathers, snake vertebrae, bone, natural, teeth, opalite, tropical, amazon, amazonian, nature and semi precious stones.
I wanted to know what Francesca’s ultimate dream would be for her business “I think everyone wants to do well enough to be able to hire people to work for you, I’d like to get there and do that but in the most ethical way possible.” Balancing a few different jobs, Francesca is definitely a very busy lady, she explained sometimes she doesn’t know how she does it and feels like she’s just winging it! Well she’s winging it very well I think!
I asked Francesca if she had a message?
“Live life to be happy and know what makes you truly happy.”
If you’d like to know where you can find Francesca’s beautiful creations, see the list below!
- POOT Emporium in Frome
- Albert Mews Studio (Friday 25th Nov 6pm-9pm) in Hove
- Flock in Brighton
- The Hackney Pirates in London
- Dandilion Style in Steyning
- Etsy online shop
Flock is also having a ‘Flock Festive Soirée’ on Thursday 1st December 4pm-8pm “Enjoy an evening of browsing, buying and bubbles… with a special 15% off all Flock collections.”