Interview Spotlight With Catherine Marche

Catherine Marche is a bespoke award winning fine jewellery designer goldsmith specialising in handcrafted engagement, wedding rings, earrings and precious jewels celebrating love and milestones. All pieces are handmade in recycled high karat gold and precious metals sourced locally to help minimise our impact on the planet’s resources. 

Inspired by her French heritage, antiquity and travels Catherine Marche jewellery embodies effortless timeless chic matching your inner personality. She always likes to combines her affinity for sciences with self-expression. She worked in the corporate world as an IT consultant while having her artworks in private and public collections in several countries. You might even have seen some in London underground stations.

Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?

Bonjour! My name is Catherine Marché. I am a globe trotter from Paris who grew up internationally and speak several languages. Touche à tout by nature, after working as a maths teacher and then as an IT consultant for many years, I wanted to explore my keen artistic interest and went back to school where I trained as a goldsmith. 

Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?

I moved from Paris to London to be with my very special Britton. I first worked in the city as an IT consultant and decided to go back to school to learn goldsmithing to enable me to build my working hours around family life. A full pivot. I design and make my fine jewellery creations myself and showcase them online and in my showroom on London’s Southbank in the iconic Oxo Tower. A couple of years into my studies, I was shortlisted as a finalist for a jewellery award by Holts Academy of Jewellery, a recipient of the Getting Started Award by the Company of Goldsmiths and for the Precious Award. 

I am also an active member of jewellery associations in the UK, a mentor and my work has been published in a several jewellery books and magazines, including Vogue, Evening standard and l’Officiel.

What outlets do use for marketing?

I have been relying mainly on word of mouth. I also enjoy posting a few updates about my work and biz life in my newsletter or on Instagram, which is a nice platform for people who are visual. I have been able to build lovely relationships with people all around the world. Jewellery can be an emotional decision and my corporate experience and multi-cultural upbringing are useful in being able to relate and build meaningful connections.

What or Who has inspired you most recently?

I find it very inspiring when people get together to help each one another in the face of adversity. Recently, with all the wild fires happening nowadays, international help has been invaluable. The latest which impressed me being 200 South African firemen coming to the rescue of Canada. I also find people doing philanthropy behind the scenes very inspiring.

On the jewellery side, I have been very fortunate to have a private visit of a collection of jewellery drawings and pieces by Andrew Grima presented by his daughter and his wife. It was wonderful to see his legacy and his spirit being perpetuated by his closest people who truly understood his vision.

What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?

Just do it! Step by step. Every little action you take in the right direction will help propel your vision further.

Do listen to your intuition. If something does not feel right to you, you will not be able to believe in it nor find the motivation to implement it successfully.

How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?

In order to help achieve an equitable balance between life and business, I tend to accept week-end meetings and events only once or twice a month. I also enjoy being able to attend events like exhibitions, meals, short trips, get together with family or friends. It does wonders to restore the soul. Nothing beats sharing a laugh!

Tell us about your favourite products.  Do they mean anything special to you ? 

It is important to have quality fine jewellery when you are a business Lady. Just like nicely tailored clothes, your precious luxuries give you credentials and confidence as a professional and contribute to be taken more seriously.

 It also secretly allows you to carry with you something which evokes special emotions, memories or celebrate a specific milestone in your life and career. If it was gifted by someone you love, it is like carrying a little bit of them in your heart and on you. My favorite creation is a very long asymmetrical gold chain, with a very free and organic style. Quite versatile, it can be worn in many different and stylish ways depending on the impression you wish to create around you and your business. I love wrapping it around my neck or wrist casually with a tailored suit, or wearing it very long with a little dress for a black tie event. 

With its texture and aspect, this piece makes me think of an antique treasure that a Greek or Roman goddess or a powerful Egyptian empress would have loved to own.

What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?

When clients come pay me a visit years after their wedding to show me their photos, introduce me to their children, share my details within their networks or decide to commission more pieces to commemorate or celebrate new milestones in their life … It is so wonderful that we have created a bond which keeps going well after the design and delivery phases of their jewellery.

The most exciting thing it to fuse original ideas to create bespoke jewellery pieces for my clients with the challenge of making their dream come to life.

Each new creation it is a new dream to share. I enjoy the freedom being a designer gives me. Having clients who like and order my pieces from the 4 corners of the Globe is a real thrill.

Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?

I am quite impressed by women who while leading an impressive business also focus on helping others like the late Jacqueline Gold, Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow, Patricia van der Akker, Dr Yvonne Thompson, Keisha Shah, Foluke Akinose (to name but a few), by providing training, unbiased advice, encouraging, giving awards, mentoring…

What is a typical day like?

What I love in my creative job is that no two days are alike. Open by nature,  I like change, exploring and discovering new things. When I am on attendance in my showroom, I share my time between admin tasks and helping customers choose the right piece. When at my workshop, simply making torch and tools in hand or drawing and painting new pieces. 

I also enjoy mentoring, being a guests on podcasts or writing articles for the press or bloggers, meeting clients or helping them transforming unwanted jewels, styling clients going to special events, going to trade fairs to select diamonds and  gemstones, having pop up exhibitions, collaborating with photographers and other professionals on photoshoots, with wedding planners, journalists and fashion editors… Having an array of varied tasks and skills under my belt ensures my passion remains fresh and vibrant.

How do you define your own success?

I absolutely love when my clients are overcome with emotion when they open the little box containing the jewel we created together. It is such a pleasure (and a relief) to see the happiness flood their face. I cannot believe I am fortunate enough to help facilitate joy into their lives. 

Finally, what can we expect from you next?

I hope I am helping my clients to understand that they can set their own rules and wear the jewellery which makes them happy. Special pieces which mean something to them, that they can enjoy wearing often instead of leaving them in the safe or at the back of a drawer. I am all about self-expression and embodying your ethos into your jewellery style. 

Just “Be chic and feel fabulous. Express your true essence with special designs made just for you and your loved ones. “

Recently, I have started to explore the ancient technique of miniature enamel painting and would like to combine it with my French design flair to incorporate in some of my designs. I like when a little bit of the unexpected can spice up your daily routine. I believe jewellery jewellery (which i like calling little tokens of love) is a need and has a powerful impact of on wellbeing. The way you feel about yourself has a huge Feeling good can be as simple as eating your favourite dish, conversing with a loved one, treating yourself and feeling valued. If I can help in that way, it makes my day. 

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