How it all began...
Posh Totty Designs was founded in 2004, but founder Alice Rivers-Cripps’s love affair with jewellery began much earlier when she was 19. Fresh out of university and uncertain of what the future held, she embarked on a soul-searching trip to Mexico with only $60 in her pocket. With little more than a yoga mat for a bed and the stars for a ceiling, she managed to find work with a group of local Mayan jewelers. Here she was taught the basics of jewellery-making, unknowingly an introduction that would plant the seed for her future career path. After her once-in-a-lifetime experience in Mexico (sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber in a dive shop window seemed perfectly normal at the time) Alice finally earned enough money to pay for a flight back home to the UK.
On arriving back full of inspiration, Alice decided to further develop her new found skills and dedicated all her spare time to learning and making jewellery - initially, working from a tiny cupboard under the stairs. It was sheer serendipity that lead Alice to experimenting with alphabet steel stamps, an off the cuff purchase she made whilst rummaging in a junk shop one weekend. She started out by stamping her own name on tin cans until she’d finally refined the process enough to stamp onto her own jewellery - an unconventional process that had never been done before.
The notion that each piece of jewellery could be so unique and personal to the wearer was what propelled Alice to continue with her making; and in time, friends and family started to request personalised pieces by Alice. Be it a newborn’s name and weight, a couple’s wedding date, a father’s last words, the sentiments were unlike fleeting fashion pieces and actually had real meaning and stories behind them. Making keepsakes that immortalise special moments in time is something Alice felt a huge privilege to be a part of, which still holds true for all of us at Posh Totty Designs today.
Fast forward 13 years, Alice now lives with her husband and two young boys in diverse, creative Brighton. Fuelled by her passion to make gift giving have real meaning, Alice has managed to grow Posh Totty Designs into a destination company for personalised gifts. We’re proud to say PTD now runs the biggest jewellery workshop in the south and employs a predominantly female team of 50 fantastic staff. Each design is still made in very much the way Alice started: handmade and hand-stamped to order.
Over time, our product lines have developed to other personalised treasures and our brand values now focus on three core elements of personalization: honesty, empowerment and positivity. In the vast consumer culture, throw-away society of today it’s important we feel part of a meaningful process. We believe that a purchase should hold significance to our customers, and continue to do so in years to come.
Where did the name ‘Posh Totty Designs’ come from?
We hugely promote turning negatives into positives at PTD. After Alice’s parents separated she relocated to Nottingham with her mum. Upon starting a new school, Alice was bullied for her southern ‘posh’ accent and much to her dismay, was nicknamed ‘Posh Totty’. The name then made a reappearance later on in her life when she worked in a chicken farm (yes, that’s right: a chicken farm where she looked after 9000 free- range chickens) to fund her jewellery-making obsession. Determined to defy her intimidators, Alice decided to call her little enterprise ‘Posh Totty Designs’. Unaware her little business would ever grow to such a scale, she had no idea the nickname would still be a talking point years down the line.
What next for Posh Totty Designs?
We don’t stand still for long at Posh Totty Designs. Last year has seen us partner with Women for Women International, an incredible charity that works to support women and children affected by war and conflict. After being moved by the plight of today’s refugees fleeing their homes, we knew we wanted to help in some way. Alice visited one of the charity’s programmes in Kosovo and worked with the jewellery team to design a necklace that represented PTD’s collaboration with Women for Women International. With 100% of profits from sales of the necklace going straight to the charity to help them continue the vital work they do, we feel we’re using our expertise to help others improve their lives. We feel passionately that business success should bring about a strong sense of social conscience, which is why working with charities close to our hearts is an integral part of our business.
When her eldest son was just an infant, Alice had firsthand experience of the local children’s hospital when he was taken ill. Thankfully pulling through unscathed, Alice was both grateful and inspired by the care he received. The Rockinghorse Childrens Charity was responsible for providing the treatment her son needed, which is why she decided to design and sell the Rockinghorse collection that raises money for the charity.
We seldom say no to trying new ideas that excite us, for years we’ve dreamt of promoting our handmade values by teaching craft classes. That’s why this year we decided to launch PTD Makes, a small and friendly studio space where we run workshops teaching our favourite crafts. Already this year we’ve been invited to run workshops for Stylist Magazine and Topshop, both a tremendous success.
On the horizon this year is the opening of our third shop in London in the spring. Who knows what the rest of 2017 has in store for Posh Totty Designs? But one thing’s for sure: it just gets better and better.
If you’ve read this much then we’re hoping you feel you know us a little better. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about our journey, don’t be shy - hit us up here: email@example.com.
Hope to see you here again soon.