Celebrating 15 years of creativity with Rosie Wolfenden MBE, co-founder Tatty Devine
Interview originally posted August 2014
I have a bit of a confession to make…interviewing inspirational creative women over here on the Up Coaching blog is basically just an excuse for me to chat with some of my idols and most favourite people in the world. And this month is no exception. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have an obsession with Tatty Devine jewellery. So, when I was shortlisting wonderful women for the blog, Tatty Devine co-founder and fellow Isle of Wighter Rosie Wolfenden MBE was definitely at the very top of my list. I am very happy to have Rosie on the blog this month as her, and business partner (and best friend) Harriet Vine MBE celebrate 15 years together as the wonderful Tatty Devine.
Hi Rosie, it’s so wonderful to have you here. It’s unbelievable to think that you are celebrating 15 years of Tatty Devine this September. Tell us a little bit about your journey in life so far.
Life so far has been unpredictable, exciting and pretty intense! I left home at 17 to move to London and study Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art. Art has been the constant theme so far. I had a really inspirational teacher when I was 15 and she really got me thinking outside the box. Art school was where I met my business partner and best friend Harriet and some of our artist collaborations have been real highlights of our journey together.
Tatty Devine is 15 years old this year, and each one of those years has been very concentrated. Harriet and I lived and breathed Tatty Devine 24/7 for the first six or seven years. As we built our team and gained a bit more of a personal life we managed to be more like 12 hours 5 days a week, but we never stop thinking about what we do!
What’s ahead in your journey?
Who knows! Our dream is to let Tatty Devine reach its full potential. It constantly strives to grow, as well as produce fresh, original, fun pieces that we both want to wear.
What inspires you so much it makes you cry / laugh / your heart quicken?
My family, Harriet, friends, our customers, team Tatty. I guess first and foremost people do, especially strong independent woman.
Who is your heroine?
My Granny is my hero. I think I inherited a lot of my character and determination from her. In the mid 1950’s she opened what today would be called a boutique hotel in the Isle of Wight. She had no money so furnished the entire hotel from second-hand shops and made all the soft furnishings (patchwork bedspreads and even some of the carpets). The hotel which was called the Peacock Vane became well known and much loved and in a way a brand in its own right. My Granny wrote and self published several books on gardening, sewing and cookery. She ran a bookshop in our local town and was basically unstoppable and very inspiring.
What does being creative mean to you?
Having a vivid and unrestricted imagination and believing in ideas.
What does self-confidence mean to you?
Self-confidence is about believing in yourself, what you do and those around you. It involves having faith in your ideas and knowledge but should never be dismissive of others.
When are you at your happiest?
On a Sunday morning, reading the papers, hanging out with my husband and son, drinking espresso and thinking about the day ahead.
What would be your superpower?
I’ve always wished I had the power to expand time so that you could get more done in a day.
How have you dealt with some of life’s significant challenges?
I generally approach all challenges in much the same way – in a calm and considered way. My Father would always say to me ‘Engage brain‘ (usually before exams) but it has always stayed with me and it’s the first thing I try to do.
What was the moment of truth when you knew that Tatty Devine was a dream turning into reality?
Very early on. The reality was a dream really, or maybe more of a rollercoaster! Within two months of setting up a market stall we had meetings with Vogue, Whistles, Harvey Nichols, Urban Outfitters and soon went on to show our accessories at London Fashion Week. We then opened our Brick Lane shop. I think seeing our work in the millennium issue of Vogue was pretty unreal.
How do you balance your work / career with the things you love most outside of work?
In some ways everything I do is work, as Harriet and I are Tatty Devine and everything I see, think, read or do somehow feeds back into it. So the balance is difficult, but I think this level of passion is vital to the authenticity of what we do.
What would you tell your best girl friend if she needed some advice on how to live the happiest, most fulfilled life?
Find out what makes you happy and then try and apply that to what you do, every day of your life.
What do you want your mark on the world to be?
Someone who believed in what they did and wanted to make a difference and inspire others.
You can connect with Rosie on Twitter @rosiewolfenden