Chupi says she feels “overwhelmed” on the occasion of the fifth birthday of her Dublin-based jewellery brand. “It feels amazing to have come this far but I also feel we have so much more we want to do,” she says.
Passion and enthusiasm are key character traits of this young designer since she authored a best-selling book in her teens and was scouted as a designer by Topshop aged 21. That passion has thus far resulted in over 20,000 pieces of jewellery sold online, 200 different designs in her collection, almost 80,000 followers on Instagram and a 20 person team.
It’s been quite the journey for Chupi over the past five years. “Seeing my dream become reality has been the most amazing thing,” she says. “When I quit Topshop I think everyone was terrified that it would be very tough to build a luxury brand that was made in Ireland. It has been tough but it’s also been incredible.”
She says that being "a young woman with a big dream" has been her greatest challenge in business. “It’s crazy that in this day and age that gender is still an issue － but it really is challenging,” she says.
Making her designs in Ireland is important to her as a designer and it is also a hallmark of the brand. There are now 200 different jewellery items in the collection from rings to pendants and bracelets to her new diadems, decorative hair-combs and belts in silver and gold. The range is split between the main collection of gold plated silver items and the Precious collection in solid gold.
“It’s essential to my brand that we make every single piece in Ireland. It is challenging at times but is such an important part of what we do,” says Chupi. “One of the most exciting parts of what I do is to champion Irish design. I would love that when we show at London Fashion Week, and say that we are an Irish brand, that Ireland would be more well-recognised as the home of so much incredible talent.”
Many of her designs have nature motifs, but more than that, the designer says that her jewellery is inspired by plants that are native to Ireland and which have significance in Irish mythology.
“I’m really inspired by Irish myths and legends and they run through the collection in our Hawthorn twig design. Hawthorn trees are said to be fairy trees, the wood is only allowed be taken if it has fallen naturally and then it brings protection to anyone who wears it. I think tapping into that very Irish sense of magic has really defined what I make.”
For Chupi, her journey as a jewellery designer was sparked by her recognition of the role of jewellery in marking special occasions and key moments in people’s lives. “I fell in love with precious jewellery because it marks a moment,” she says. “I’ve really stayed true to that with everything I make and I think that this really connects with the people who love what I love.”
Chupi says that her jewellery appeals to a wide range of customers, but that the one thing they all have in common is their love of the stories behind her jewellery designs.
Sharing these stories has become a key aspect of Chupi’s social media identity and her followers are frequently regaled with stories of people who have travelled from far and wide to purchase an engagement ring for a lover or a pair of earrings for a best friend.
“One of my favourites was the sweetest guy who got in touch via Instagram,” she tells us. “His little girl named Ruby was just about to celebrate her first birthday and he said that the first year had been one of the best of the couple’s lives but a total blur. He wanted to get his wife a ruby eternity ring to celebrate his own little Ruby. It normally takes us four to six weeks for a custom order but we had it for him within a week so he could surprise his wife!”
Chupi is sold online and at Atrium in Dublin’s Powerscourt Townhouse. It is also available at a wide range of retailers, including Weirs and Kilkenny, as well as independent boutiques in Ireland and overseas.
If you like the beautiful work that Chupi does then we have great news. We're giving away a fabulous prize to one lucky Design Ireland follower! Visit this competition page to find out more about how to win a stunning 18k gold plated over solid sterling silver 'I Can Fly Swan Feather Ring'. Competition closing date is Thursday 31st May 2018.