SAILORETTE'SVintage Life & Style

Too Sweet for Rock n' Roll: RafflesBizarre Accessories Feature & Giveaway!

Why hello, Zombies & Ghoulettes!

I know you have been missing my Too Sweet for Rock n' Roll features oh-so-terribly, so today I bring you a new one... with a twist. I first found this lady and her shop through Twitter and enjoyed the fact that she works with different styles, either more psychobilly/rockabilly or indie/hipster and so on besides creating her pieces partly from recycled materials. I'll be writing on environmental concerns in alternative fashion very soon, in the same wavelenght, since it's something I'm quite concerned about and made this shop hit close to home. Luckily, not only the unique Jess, designer and owner of Raffles Bizarre agreed to answer my questions as she said she'd give my readers a little surprise... Curiosity killed the cat, not the reader, so chanel it into reading this post through & who knows if you'll be rewarded in the end?

You founded Raffles Bizarre as an alternative shop, a concept and an online business. Would you please share a bit about its birth and growth?
I first started making jewellery as a hobby three years ago while I was at uni. I've always been creative and I was studying Model design and special effects at the time so I was learning to use new materials and different techniques/processes that I could transfer over to jewellery making. I would collect old jewellery, unusual materials and found objects and see what I could create out of it for myself and my friends. I made a few pieces for friends and family and they liked it so much I thought I'd see if anyone else would, I began by setting up a myspace page and it took off straight away. I was having a lot of fun making alternative and original pieces that you wouldn't find on the highstreet and seeing other people love them just as much as me, so I had a website made, and began selling on other sites such as Misi, Etsy and Folksy and holding stalls at markets and fairs. Currently I work fulltime in a jewellery shop, I also work as a freelance makeup artist so my life is pretty busy. All the time. Raffles Bizarre is still going strong and I fit it around my other work so one day I can afford to work on RB fulltime again. (In the quite near future is the plan) I really want to develop my lines, experiment with some different materials and invest in some extra machinery and workshop space, maybe add a couple more strings to my bow.

What does owning, managing and representing your own alternative shop & business consist on?
There's a suprising amount of work that goes into running your own business, even a small independant and handmade one. I found when I first left uni and ran RB fulltime for a year people thought I was lazy not having gone out and found a "proper" job and was sitting at home all day. In reality I was spending a much bigger part of my day working than if I'd had a 9 to 5. These days as I work five days a week I tend to reply to emails and monitor orders on my phone during the day, they when I get home from work I pack up any orders that need posting the next morning, reply to any more emails and catch up with any other online work. Keeping up with my customers on Myspace/Facebook/Deviantart for example. Some weeks I will have other things to prepare for like stalls and then I pretty much don't stop from the time I make it through the front door. On my two days off I do the same tasks but take a bit more time on each and then I tend to start designing and making new pieces. This is the most fun part and I also love photographing and editing them, then hearing people's thoughts once I've uploaded them. There is of course the boring bits too like doing my accounts and sifting through reciepts, I tend to make time for these on my days off too. It's a lot of hardwork and sometimes it feels like I'm never NOT working, but I really enjoy what I do and I know the day job will pay off when I can afford to concentrate on RB fulltime again.

How do you feel about the alternative market today, regarding the growth of the internet?
I kind of have mixed feelings, before I was selling my wares I was always on the internet looking for alternative and quirky jewellery that my friends wouldn't all have aswell. You can find absolutely anything these days, and there is so much of it. However, now I'm part of the competition, it can be frustrating. It's hard seeing websites selling bucketloads of mass produced, generic (yet alternative) jewellery when you know first hand the amount of time and love put into handmade pieces. I have a great respect for all handmade designers of any standard because I know it's probably the love of their life. Like RB is to me. I love talking to other designers and seeing their work, it's very inspiring to me to see other people enjoying what they create.

Name your top five aestethic influences/idols and tell us why.

Tim Gunn - I am absolutely obsessed with Project Runway, it is my favourite programme to watch while working. I love everything about the fashion industry and find this show in particular overwhelmingly inspiring and the mentor Tim Gunn is a big part of that. He's someone who's been in the business for a long time and knows what he's talking about. When he says "make it work" I really really want to.

Beth Church - Beth is a jewellery designer I discovered on Deviantart years ago. She first caught my eye because she tends to uses a similar combination of materials to me (masses of chains, recycled jewellery) and creates the most fantastic, bespoke pieces I've ever seen. One day I hope I am making jewellery as amazing as Beth!

Vivienne Westwood - I first really began to be inspired by Vivienne Westwood in college when I did a graphics project on her. I got to know bits about her life and career but most importantly I fell in love with her designs. She's such a strong, iconic, female designer and has made such huge success for herself with her off the wall, ingenious and generally amazing fashion.

Tarina Tarantino - I know this is a bit of an obvious one, but I couldn't leave her out. She was one of the jewellery designers i would continually look back to when developing my own jewellery business. Even if the jewellery isn't to your own taste you can't deny it's innovative and fun. She's used components such as barbie, hello kitty, pink, sparkles etc things that would usually be classed as tacky and created gorgeous, one of a kind jewellery.

New york - So I know this isn't really classified as an idol but it is the most inspirational place I have been to. I went at the beginning of last year and every since all I do is dream about going back, and perhaps even one day moving over there. There's just the most amazing vibe in NYC, but it's not even that different to London, and probably not as diverse yet still there's just something about it that draws me to it. Everything is so huge, and impressive, I just want to dwelve further into the city and meet everyone there. I watch a lot of television shows and films based in New York while I work, it just fascinates me.

Please share a picture of your daily glamour/everyday wear and describe it!
I have a very diverse 'look', though I wouldn't really describe it as a look at all as I have a different style every day, from skinnys, vests and oversized shirts to slouchy dresses with chunky boots. I tend to wear a lot of black and grey, I didn't always, at uni I was very into bright colours and patterns, but monotone will never go out of fashion and goes with everything so I feel more comfortable.
Anyway, I find I do better in fancy dress... (you may have wondered about the pic until you got to this bit)

What do you fancy the most about being Miss Raffles Bizarre?
I love it all! Most of all is probably the feedback I get from my customers. I love creating things and would be doing it for myself whether I was selling it or not, so it's extra special when I get a thank-you email or customer photo. It feels so good to know that something I have made can make someone else so happy! I just wouldn't be satisfied if I wasn't creating things.

Do you have a wisdom cupcake for the Sailors and Sailorettes reading?
Take risks and never give up! I've had highs and lows while running RB, and I've taken some big risks, some which haven't paid off, but I've learnt from them and it's helped me grow in ways I probably wouldn't have otherwise. I've also learnt never to regret anything, but to learn to do things differently next time.

My favourite creations of this spooky lady will follow... keep calm and carry on if you dare!

Oh, but there's more! Me and Jess have been conjuring ways to spoil you even more and decided we should give one of you luckies a Raffles Bizarre set, courtesy of Miss Raffles Bizarre herself! The rules are as follow:

1. The competition starts now and ends when I reach 250 Google Followers
2. To enter, you just need to be a follower through Google Social Network and leave a comment in this post saying you'd like to win.
3. The winner will be randomy picked by lucky dip upon reaching 250 Google Followers and notified through the account used to enter in the competition to provide Raffles Bizarre with the shipping address.
Best of luck to you all! Now share with your friends!

Mafalda xox

PS: I decided to end the competition sooner, by 31st of January 2011. And the winner is...
Miss Hilton Ink! Congrats, I'll now give RafflesBizarre your email. Hope you enjoy your prize!

16 comentários:

kayleighcharlotte disse...

this stuff is utterly GORGEOUS! can't believe i haven't stumbled across her work before! would loooove to win some of this!

now to spend hours browsing...

Jess Heath MUFX disse...

Thanks Mafalda! This looks fab :D

Oh and thanks Kayleigh, glad you like!!


Lady Noctis disse...

I would like to win

Amazing stuff here <3

Anónimo disse...

I'd love to win, been wanting that necklace for ages ♥

Esther Chocolat ♥ disse...

ahh já conhecia a rafflesbizarre do myspace e adoro os acessórios! quem me dera ser a vencedora para poder ter esse colar lindo do zombie! *-*

I wanna win :D

MissHilton disse...

I would <3 to win any of that. Its all fab

Hannah Graham disse...

I'm a huggeeeeeeeeeee ZOMBIE fan! Zombie games/films love them :)
Please enter me! xxxxx

Unknown disse...

Would Love to win it!! you absolute hero xx

Sarah Bailey disse...

I would love to win what lovely things <3

Little Miss Delicious disse...

I'd love to win! :) xx

Amy Scammell disse...

I LOVE! all the stuff you make and i would love to win this :) <3

Nat disse...

Super cute!! I would love to win!!! I love looking at your myspace profile :)

lisa hughes disse...

wow awesome jewellry would go awesome wit my skull and cross bones and zombie tattoos!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sarah disse...

Would love to win after-all the jewellery has been on my wish list for ages lol Good luck everyone xx

linziloop disse...

Hi there! Great jewellery, i would love to win it hehe!

Cookie disse...

I would love to win this! I love Raffles Bizarre's stuff :

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Thank you for your comments & feedback!
Mafalda xox