Sustainable jewelry entrepreneur, Tansy Baigent, answered our questions about Lupe, the company she started with Dolly James. They sell pre-loved diamond and precious gemstone pieces; their sustainable diamond jewelry is stunning!
How long have you been in business?
How did you come up with the name of your company?
We wanted something succinct and memorable but it had to be something with meaning. So armed with lots of cups of tea and a piece of paper we let our minds work some magic. And, after a fair length of time, in the name LUPE we found everything we had wanted.
Our business is based on sustainability, a closed-loop model, and re/up-cycling and thus this idea of a circle, a ‘loop’, was what we settled on, we simply played around with the spelling. Another dimension to the name is that a ‘loupe’ (pronounced like ‘loop’) is a magnifying glass used by jewellers (something both Dolly and I utilise to great lengths).
What does “sustainable fashion” mean to you?
Sustainability is about leaving no legacy of harm. It is fashion that is about enjoying creativity and style whilst being sensitive to the natural environment and the living populations of the present and future. It is about creating fashion which moves away from harmful production, resource depletion, and waste.
The key to sustainable fashion is choosing more slowly and more wisely and to give back as much as you can to a world from which we all take so much.
What inspired you to start a sustainable jewelry brand?
In my background in international, environmental law I saw in depth the tragedy of over-production and consumption. I had always dreamed of having a business and knew it would have to be sustainable and ethical. In jewellery I found this. By choosing to buy preloved, we are choosing not to buy new. From this moment on there never needs to be another diamond mined, or another life lost.
However it was my beautiful and fashionable business partner, Dolly, and her magical creative flair that inspired the beginnings of Lupe as it is now, with her expertise and style we were able to create a sustainable fashion brand that we are both so incredibly proud of.
What is your company’s mission?
Lupe’s mission is to be a beacon in sustainable luxury jewellery, and to continue to promote sustainability as the norm in the jewellery industry. We seek to show that beauty and desire is not, and should not, be confined to the new. There is a wealth of incredible pieces which are already in existence and it is our mission to bring these to the market once more, and in this way offer a choice away from new production.
Do you have a 5 or 10-year vision for your company that you could share with us?
Our vision for Lupe is that it will help to establish luxury pre-loved jewellery as a norm in the jewellery industry and in so doing, will encourage unsustainable new luxury brands to work harder to achieve higher levels of sustainability.
Who is your customer?
Our customers are all those people who are looking for beautiful pieces of jewellery.
Those who are ethically minded will love the sustainable nature of pre-loved pieces and our steadfast ethical ethos, and those who are not will love our affordable price tag (as compared to similar pieces which are new). At Lupe we are always here to help and love to hear from people with questions or comments, in order to personalise your experience. We also offer a treasure-hunting service, so if there is a piece that you would love, we will seek to find it for you.
What is something you wish people knew about sustainable fashion?
I wish people knew that sustainable fashion ‘is’ achievable. And I wish more people realised that preloved/recycled items are as important as ethical new production in establishing a viable sustainable fashion industry.
What’s the most challenging thing about running a sustainable jewelry business?
Convincing people that morality is as important (if not more important) than money. It is a constant challenge defending our products against new production, and continually denying the belief that having a sustainable business will put people off purchasing from us, as they wouldn’t be able to ‘take us seriously’.
Is there someone who inspires you and why?
Vivienne Westwood is someone who has and always will, inspire me for she continues to believe in, and push sustainable and ethical fashion despite the great adversity she faces from the established fashion industry.
Other than your own, which sustainable fashion brands do you like?
I like so many. But those that I love are founded by people who I have met personally and have great respect for. These include FashionKind, Sequence, and People Tree.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or your company?
At Lupe, we believe in what we do, and we believe in making a difference. For us, our ethical ethos is our ethos. Beyond everything we care about sustainability, and that will never (ever) change.
Just For Fun
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