Welcome to BRICKS’ new Handmade at Home series, our new weekly feature highlighting sustainable creators and small businesses currently working from home in lockdown. We know this year has been especially tough for independent creatives, so whether it’s a small business venture or an artistic quarantine project, we’ll be meeting a new creative each week to discuss their DIY creations.
Hey Sophia!Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your jewellery?
I’m Sophia, 23 and from South East London. I’m a plus-size content creator as well as the founder of my earring brand, Khula. I first entered the scene with my art and graphic design work and eventually ended up in advertising for a while. I really enjoyed those years and realised that I just want to create cool stuff. I guess people know me for doing a variety of things and it’s no surprise that I’ve only gone and started my own earring brand. I make all the pieces by hand using clay but I’m currently exploring a range of different materials and hoping to expand soon. I’ve always been a wearer of statement earrings so it feels just right and I think people really trust and like my ideas which feels great. Khula is a sort of homage to my parents who come from Ethiopia and South Africa.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
I’ve always wanted to have my own earring collection or design something. I always thought it would come in the form of a brand collaboration but it didn’t and still hasn’t so I decided to start it myself and learn how to make earrings. Also, as a plus sized girl, growing up, my fashion and style journey was tedious. You were forced to shop for clothes that were meant for people three times your age or the mens section. The only thing I could always rely on were earrings. They’ve been my savouir many times as well as a small representation of who I am and where I come from. So much growth has happened between then and now and that’s exactly what Khula means in Zulu, grow.
Where do you take inspiration?
This question gets me so excited because I love talking about where I get my inspo from. I’m heavily inspired by the shapes from the 70s and the colours used in East and South African tribes. This is a way for me to honour my mother and father seeing as I haven’t really had the chance to visit either country. Khula has allowed me to feel so much more closer to home because of all the research that I do and moodboards stuck on my walls. I also take a lot of inspo from editorials. It’s always been a dream of mine to be on the cover of a magazine and shoot really powerful imagery. I’d like to think I’m bringing editorial standard pieces into people’s lives that they can wear every day. I’m always evolving though and so would Khula. Who knows what my earrings would look like in a few years.
Also, as a plus-sized girl, growing up, my fashion and style journey was tedious. You were forced to shop for clothes that were meant for people three times your age or the men’s section. The only thing I could always rely on was earrings.
Can you please describe your process for making your pieces?
Of course. I have a bunch of clay stacked in drawers and on shelves with each of them coming in different colours. I mould the pieces and carve them with an exacto knife, all freehand. I think it’s muscle memory at this point. After they have cured I finish them using resin and a polish. I package and post all my earrings and they’re on their way to a new home. I spend hours in the studio experimenting with different methods and tools all the time, hoping to improve and get better. It takes hours and hours which I sometimes document on my personal Instagram stories for people to see how much work goes into them. It’s hard but the payoff is seeing the selfie a customer has taken with them. It fills me with such satisfaction each time.