Jo Sullivan on the launch of her new jewellery range Prey

Prey Jewellery logo from Jo Sullivan

Celebrating 26 years in business, we talk to Jo Sullivan of Amabis about when she first opened on High Street, Leicester and the launch of her new jewellery range Prey.

Why did you decide you were going to set up? Was it that you saw a gap in the market?

There was just nowhere in Leicester where you could buy affordable interesting jewellery. It was either posh jeweller shops or rubbish costume really. I think that’s what Leicester needed, something a little more edgy.

So when you first opened on the high street, you must have seen a lot of changes happening around you in the recent past

They hadn’t even finished building the Shires, it was the old co-op. I remember seeing this shop, and it was an old fashioned jeweller’s shop that was up for sale. I remember going in to speak to him and telling him that I wanted the shop and that was it!!!

How have you seen the market change in the past 26 years?

People have got less money to spend. It’s strange because you think that jewellery is such a luxury thing that it would be the first thing that people would stop buying and in actual fact people will always buy presents, but what we’ve noticed is that people just don’t have the amount of spare money for themselves.

Are you doing anything to celebrate your 26 years?

We can’t think beyond celebrating Leicester City at the moment! But we should do something really because it is a massive achievement. . We have the ‘Life Story’ range which are all handmade, bespoke pieces made by me. I have also been working on our new ‘Prey’ range, which is unusual, beautiful, quirky and creature based.

Where did your inspiration for Prey come from?

Again, it was just trying to find something that wasn’t out there already. Funnily enough the fox was the first thing I made. The master pattern for each piece has been entirely hand-made and then cast in sterling silver using the ancient ‘lost wax’ method. Each item is created by hand piercing multiple layers of silver sheet and then fusing these together to produce beautifully weighted jewellery.Each piece is then hand finished and oxidised. The oxidisation process blackens the silver which is then polished. This highlights the intricate detail of each design.

Would you say over the last years that your target market has changed?

Yes! When I first opened in my early 20’s, my target market was for people in their early 20’s as you usually sell to who you relate to. So it’s grown with us but it is still younger than us. I am trying to get my daughter to help me with the buying though, younger people just spot things. When things come round a second time it’s just so hard to spot if they’re any good. The weird thing about doing these stars and moons for Prey, it’s a nod to 90’s there.

Amabis is at 60 High Street, City Centre, Leicester LE1 5YP 0116 262 2769 ww.amabis.co.uk