“I am very proud to say that even the naughty, less studious ones can make it in their own way!”
After a successful career that involved working for creative agencies, ITV and Ted Baker, Hannah Keywood realised that what she really wanted to do was to run her own, sustainable jewellery business.
Her degree in Retail Management from BU served her in good stead to get things up and running, and along with business partner Ranelle Chapman, in 2015 she co-founded the Puck Wanderlust brand which is now going from strength to strength.
“My career really started with my placement year which was part of my course. I did a buying and merchandising placement for a fashion catalogue called Freemans, (everyone’s mum had a copy of the catalogue in the 90s…) This is where I met my now business partner, Ranelle, she was my boss!
"I left Bournemouth University in 2009 and went travelling to South America for seven months. Then I started working for a jewellery wholesaler in buying - thinking this is the career path I wanted to follow. The job wasn’t what I expected and to be honest I didn’t like how they operated. No morals, fast fashion and mass production. So after my three month probation was up, I said my goodbyes and had a career rethink.”
After a period of interning in TV and fashion, Hannah found herself working for a recruitment agency where she managed to find the perfect candidate for a position at the Ted Baker fashion house – herself.
“I started working at Ted Baker HQ as a visual merchandising coordinator where I stayed for three and a half years. This was an amazing company and I learnt a lot about marketing, visuals and display.”
While working for Ted Baker, Hannah realised that her passion for sustainability and ethical practices in the fashion and jewellery world were extremely important to her. After a number of lengthy chats with Ranelle, they began to formulate a business plan.
“It was around this time when I started thinking about how I could start my own business, I wanted to slow down the fashion process, focus on quality, longevity, and bring back the art of storytelling to bring meaning to the product for the customer. I also wanted to see the world. Ranelle and I got chatting and she had the idea to start a recycled jewellery business. Our chats went on for a few more years and then we began working on our business plan for Puck Wanderlust.”
Moving on from Ted Baker to a role as an Account Manager for a small creative agency proved to be a rewarding learning curve that saw Hannah gain experience in project management, production and copywriting. But it was the recycled jewellery idea that she kept returning to.
“In April 2015, Puck went for and was awarded a small business loan from the London Small Business Centre (formerly the ELSBC) in East London. With this financial backing we then launched the business in the November and I was ready to leave to job to take on my business full time.”
“The idea behind the business is that we take inspiration for each collection and design with a particular country in mind, then find local artisans within that country to hand-make the jewellery.
"Giving back is a big part of why we started this business, it’s in our foundations and as we grow we will seek out opportunities where we can do just that. We are also keen to empower women through our work. We love to use all female teams on our photoshoots and our latest collection was made entirely by women.”
Hannah visits exotic locations such as Bali and India regularly in order to source and coordinate suppliers and artisans to make the jewellery by hand. With such a busy lifestyle and a growing business, it’s no wonder she likes to relax by not only practising yoga, but teaching it too.
“I also trained as a yoga teacher in 2016 and enjoy teaching a weekly class to students in London. I try to do a bit of my own personal practice every day - even if it’s only 10 minutes. It’s my best stress release - basically the art of breathing - we don’t do it enough!”
Puck Wanderlust is taking off in a big way with pop up shops in Top Shop and a thriving online business. But what important lessons did Hannah take away from her time BU?
“Partying - a lot! Living away from home and learning to look after myself! The Retail Management course gave me the broad base knowledge I needed to start my own business. The placement year also meant that I was one step ahead of other graduates when I completed my degree and the contacts I made there have set me up for what I do now.”