In 2007, right before the Irish economy took a steep nosedive into recession, jewellery designer Louise Stokes launched her business, Loulerie.
All that gold and glitter could easily have gotten lost in the dark depths of the downturn, but having gained experience from leading design houses in New York during her twenties when she returned home she created a range of timeless, elegant pieces imbued with emotional attachment – a currency that will never drop in value, no matter the economic climate.
From her shop on Chatham Street, Dublin 2, she creates stunning pieces with grey sapphire, gold, black and white diamonds, and offers an exclusive edit of other jewellery brands, Louise has helped many to mark special moments in their lives.
Outside the store, through active engagement on social media and taking part in female focused entrepreneurship initiative Going for Growth, she has established vital support networks to grow her business, built friendships, and become an active part of a growing community of female business owners in Ireland.
We chatted to the mother of two about the importance of networking, what she would do differently, and whose jewellery collection she’d like to raid…
How did you get involved in the world of jewellery design?
I moved to New York after college and got a job as an intern in a huge jewellery design business and I also was an intern for Alexis Bittar during show season.
You celebrated 10 years in business last year. What’s the secret to your success?
I think always looking forward and adapting your business and being fresh and relevant. It’s all about refining and improving your business.
I am so excited about the next 10 years.
Going for Growth was the best thing I ever did for myself and my business, it gave me confidence and advice from real women who had taken the risk
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Opening any business is a huge risk, I think. For me when the recession hit I decided to go as niche as possible in regards to our edit of designers, which was a risk, but it paid off.
Who did you turn to for advice when you were getting your business off the ground?
My Financial Director is my stepdad and he has always been amazing at advice as he was a CEO and grew a company from 4 to 400 employees so I trust his advice.
If you could do one thing differently what would it be?
Enjoy the journey more and take more pleasure and time to appreciate the high points and the success.
The number of Irish jewellery designers has boomed in the past few years. What makes your designs stand out from the competition?
Loulerie Fine Jewellery is timeless it’s all about minimal elegance so designs that feel luxurious every day and will stand the test of time.
You took part in Going for Growth mentorship programme. What did you gain from this experience?
Going for Growth was the best thing I ever did for myself and my business, it gave me confidence and advice from real women who had taken the risk and were entrepreneurs in different fields.
Why do you think female mentorship and networking initiatives like this are important?
It’s imperative to have this support network, being an entrepreneur can be really lonely I have some friends for life from my GFG group and Louise Phelan (Vice President, PayPal) was the best mentor she gave such practical advice.
Can you share some of the women in Ireland who you most admire?
Louise Phelan, Miriam O Callaghan, Ruth Monahan, and Roisin Lafferty.
What’s the most popular piece in the Loulerie range?
The dragonfly does really well for us as people are really drawn to it, I was told they mean “new beginnings” which I think resonates with a lot of people.
What other jewellery ranges do you stock in the store?
We carry an exclusive edit of jewellery brands from around the world from Oscar de la Renta, Alexis Bittar, By Boe, Lulu Frost and Mignonne Gavigan and about to launch Rosie Fortescue.
You offer a bespoke jewellery design service, have you got any unusual requests?
So many I love the projects that really mark a special occasion and mean something to the person, so I love doing hidden gem stones or engravings that mean something special to the person.
What other designers do you look to for inspiration?
I love Fernando Jorge, he is an amazing jewellery designer.
If you could raid anyone’s jewellery box, whose would it be?
Of your own personal jewellery range, what are your most valued pieces?
The Rainbow Moonstone and Diamond halo ring.
What are your three dessert island beauty essentials?
Jan Marini moisturiser, lipbalm and Benefit mascara, as I am so fair.
It’s imperative to have a support network, being an entrepreneur can be really lonely.
What movie could you watch over and over again?
La La Land
What is your greatest fear?
Not being happy
What do consider your greatest achievement?
My two kids and my family
If you weren’t a jewellery designer what would you like to be?
A Travel Writer
Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it so special?
Mexico, it’s where I got engaged.
What plans are the pipeline for Loulerie in 2018?
We have some really exciting exclusive events planned for this year, some gorgeous new shoots also for our newly re-launched website.
To shop Loulerie Fine Jewellery as well as an exclusive edit of other jewellery brands visit Loulerie at 14b Chatham Street, Dublin 2, or loulerie.com.