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Diamond in the rough

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Bysheim moved to the UK from Norway when she was 19. She studied jewellery design at college in Kent and then moved to London, bagging a job with legendary jewellery designer John Donald. But after a year, she started to drift: “I took on some temp work but I suffered from depression and anxiety attacks. The last thing I wanted to do was go for a job interview.”

Her friends convinced her to contact the Prince’s Trust. “I didn’t expect to get very far. But they took me seriously. They helped me devise a business plan, research the market and offered me a £2,500 low-interest loan to get my own jewellery company off the ground. I was also sent on a government-funded NES course, which led to a £2,500 grant.”

Bysheim registered her new business – Cathrine Bysheim Jewellery Design – in May 2005, setting up a studio in a business incubation centre in Hackney, run by the charity London Youth Support Trust.

“The premises were opened by Sir Alan Sugar a few years ago,” she says. “It’s ideal. I’m surrounded by 20 other small businesses and rent is subsidised.” She started out paying just £150 a month for the office space. As her business grows, so do the fees.

Bysheim, 29, now takes private commissions, sells her work in Broadway Market every Saturday, and is expanding into galleries and shops. She expects turnover to hit £40k this year and is pulling in profits of £8k.

And she’s not stopping there. Next up, she’s moving to Oz. “I want to build an international brand and I’m redesigning my website so I can sell globally,” she says. “I met the Prince of Wales at the Enterprise Leadership Conference earlier this month and I finally had the chance to say thank you. He’s made a world of difference to me.”

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