Sunday, 1 June 2014

Heaven Is Whenever

Whilst working away on her degree at Lancaster University, the talented Cally Bowman has also found time to set up her own handmade jewellery business, Heaven Is Whenever.

It all began with a huge wicker basket overflowing with beads and other pretty things, passed on to her when she sadly lost her equally creative step mum, Kirste, to cancer two years ago. Cally went from making little charms, to simple bracelets and anklets for friends, before eventually buying semi-precious stones to experiment with more complex pieces. She's recently been selling jewellery online, and the website is set for an exciting relaunch in a month's time.

"It’s amazing to be able to create something that other people love and appreciate, never mind actually want to buy and wear."

Cally describes her jewellery as a quirky blend of elegant boho with some grunge vibes thrown in for good measure. Sometimes the jewellery can be fairytale-esque, whilst other times it's more 90s inspired. Many of Cally's pieces are unique, one-off creations. There's something special about each glass bottle necklace or dainty head chain, for example, because no two are exactly the same.

Heaven Is Whenever has built up an international fan base, and the bespoke little packages, complete with handwritten thank you notes and gift bags, are shipped out as far as Canada and Chile. Being a small, independent business, Cally enjoys adding a personal touch to each order, and views her customers more like friends. She understands the way us online shopoholics think, and so has no issue with dedicating extra time to make orders special.

"When you buy something online, it’s like a mini present to yourself in the post though, isn’t it?"

Fashion blogs, old films and tarot cards are just some of the places that Cally finds inspiration for her work. Travelling also fuels her creativity; materials for jewellery have been sourced by scouring markets everywhere from Thailand to Turkey. When Cally is in the U.K she turns to independent suppliers and charity shops to stock up on treasures, occasionally taking vintage jewellery and creating something completely new.

"It’s still very early days for my little business, but it’s going so much better than I’d ever hoped!"

If you're wondering about the meaning behind the name of the business, it's a lyric from one of Cally's favourite songs by The Hold Steady. It's all about believing that you don't have to wait around because you can make your own heaven, Cally explains.  

Looking to the future, Cally is hungry to learn more jewellery-making techniques and dreams of eventually owning her own shop and designing for Freedom at Topshop. For now, though, she's focused on the Heaven Is Whenever relaunch, and expanding her business to include vintage clothing.

Wherever her business takes her, Cally seems to be staying true to its name because she's making her own little pieces of heaven.

To get shopping after the relaunch and stock up on goodies for festival season and the summer weather, check out the Heaven is Whenever website, which will be up and running again soon. 

You can follow Heaven is Whenever on Twitter and Instagram: @heaven_whenever.

As well as the 'Heaven is Whenever' group on Facebook , you can join the 'Check Your Boobies!' group. Cally created this in honour of her step mum and original owner of that important wicker basket, Kirste. The group helps increase awareness of breast cancer; it's full of useful advice and inspirational stories.

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