FROM BEGINNING TO BRAND W/ PHIL BARNES, MURU JEWELLERY
You may recognise the brand Muru from my recent 'the jewellery brands you need to know about' blog post where I showcased my beautiful crescent necklace. But if you missed that blog post, Muru’s design philosophy is to create fashionable jewellery with inspirational meaning. Throughout history, jewellery has been worn for its meaning and symbolism and so Muru's vision is to really tap into that, simplify jewellery and make it more meaningful in the modern day. Each Muru design has an individual sentiment or significance that has the ability to empower and inspire the wearer.
Muru’s trademark British style is the 3D nature and intricate detailing of each piece – giving you delicate designs that are beautifully created in sterling silver, gold vermeil and rose gold vermeil but although each Muru creation is designed in London, the founders draw inspiration from cultures and mythologies that stretch right across the globe.
I came across the brand recently at LFW and was instantly drawn to their pieces - even more so when I was taught about their individual meanings. As I learnt more about the brand and how they have developed, I knew that I want to highlight not only them as a brand, but about the journey they've taken to get to a point where their jewellery is now worn by the likes of Pixie Lott and Laura Whitmore. As you'll soon discover, this is founder and designer, Phil Barnes' first business venture and he is proving that creativity, drive and a lot of hard work can reap real rewards. What an inspiration.
1. What was your first ever business idea and did it come to fruition?
Muru is my first and only business, which was a giant leap of faith. When we launched, we had an amazing reception from retailers, consumers and celebrities alike. We had pieces worn by Pixie Lott, Caroline Flack, Laura Whitmore and Louise Thompson, which really helped to raise the profile of the brand in the early years.
2. Do you have any unexpected sources of inspiration?
I use a wide variety of sources for design inspiration. All of our pieces have a meaning so travel is the best way to discover new cultures and ideas for new collections. Architecture and fashion also have strong influences, so being based in London is the perfect location for this.
3. What has been your most satisfying moment in your career thus far?
Awards are great, but it's always a nice surprise when you spot someone wearing a Muru design. We also get some really nice messages from customers saying they love their jewellery. It's nice to know we're doing something right!
4. What would you tell your teenage self if you could go back in time?
Have fun, work hard and don't take life too seriously!
5. Excluding yours, what business, organisation or entrepreneur do you admire the most?
I don't pay too much attention to what other companies are doing but I do occasionally see a design or collection and think "I wish I'd had that idea."
6. What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had?
A job should still be fun!
7. When you’re having a stressful day, what’s your ultimate comfort food?
Thai food. Probably a Massaman curry and papaya salad.
8. Is there anything you wish you had known before you pursued your passion?
Sometimes you have to take the wrong path to find the right one.
9. When things become overwhelming, what do you do to unwind?
Go for a run with headphones.
10. Name one song that makes you feel super pumped and motivated.
Otis - Jay Z & Kanye West.
11. Are there any missed opportunities that you wish you had leveraged?
A few, but it's not worth dwelling on the past.
12. If you could give one piece of advice to someone chasing their passion, what would it be?
Be objective. Listen to feedback from your customers and be ready to evolve. There are many highs and lows to running your own business, but never take it too personally.
13. How would your perfect day end?
With a glass of red and my wife.
14. Have you had to make any sacrifices in your personal life in order to become a successful entrepreneur?
Running a business with a young family is a juggling act. Hopefully I have found the right balance.
15. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
Someone that created jewellery that was enjoyed by and sentimental to many.
Thank you so much to Phil for wanting to get involved in this interview series! If you've missed the last two, you can read them here: