Yunus and Eliza

Artist Yunus Ascott and Sculptor Eliza Higginbottom launched Yunus & Eliza in early 2009. They work from a workshop in a specialist Foundry in London.

Yunus and Eliza initially met with the project team and discussed their ideas for the project in Spring 2010. After some changes they decided on using the technical support offered through the Jewellery Connections project to perfect the production of some of their existing designs. Soon after, London Fashion Week (BFW) took place where Yunus and Eliza were very successful and received large orders.

Following LFW they chose to commission 12 masters of their work and collaborated closely with Lloyd Baptiste. Lloyd helped in raising the quality of their pieces by filling in tiny holes in the work and having them professionally polished.

The pair found it hard initially handing over their work to an unknown Jeweller and this was a ‘leap of faith’ to begin with, but their belief paid off as the outcome was very good and they believe that their orders might not have been fulfilled without the help of the JCP. Since then they have commissioned Lloyd to do other work for them.

Yunus and Eliza agree that they would never have thought to sub-contract without the JCP and that they were provided with the opportunity to invest the time to explore this, “ [we] thought we had to do everything ourselves, but Sally linked us up with people and it feels easier to do it know.” Following “being hooked up with people” from consultants and the project staff they believe that they will definitely sub-contract more in the future and that it was a very important part of the project’s outcome for them.

They attended many of the seminars which they felt were very useful and although they still haven’t got their environmental credentials on the website … “it’s been good to spend more time on it and to have more information on resources/sources.”

Yunus and Eliza felt that it was difficult to measure the quantitative impacts to their business as they did not commission a new piece of Jewellery through the project but moving forward they believed that, “if the quality is raised on our products then more stockists will stock them [which leads to] more money”. They also felt that if they did it again and didn’t need the immediate help with existing products for LFW they would probably be a bit more experimental with new product designs, which could lead to exploring new markets.

In terms of less tangible impacts Yunus and Eliza felt that the project opened their eyes to fully understanding quality standards and that sub-contracting was the way to go for them in the future.

Other benefits included:

• How to access the right person for the job
• Developed a new language for communicating with industry suppliers
• Learned to ask the right questions
• Greater understanding of production on a larger scale
• Will investigate more about CAD in the future
• Gained lots of new contacts/services through the project team and the consultants such as casting, polishing, enameling, diamond cutting
• Help with orders being fulfilled for LFW “We were very pleased with the outcome and got a lot out of it, [we were] amazed that that was on offer and we wondered, “what was the catch!”