Hop Skip & Flutter combines happy memories with a fresh style to create nostalgic, whimsical jewelry. Designers Suree Wan and Jan Kae both grew up in Thailand, but didn’t meet until they arrived in London for university. While living in London and traveling in Europe, the pair discovered opulent Victorian carousels, which reminded them of days spent at fairs back home. Suree and Jan realized they missed their childhood days spent creating beautiful clothes and jewelry, so they decided to find a new, more grown-up creative outlet. They decided to develop a jewelry collection that would preserve their memories of fair carousels in a stylish way, and Hop Skip & Flutter was born. Each delicate piece is painted by hand and features small Swarovski crystals. The nostalgic jewelry is cheerful enough to elicit a smile from even the gloomiest grump. Learn more about how Hop Skip & Flutter came to be.
We both grew up in Thailand but only met here in the UK at South Bank University when we both studied for our master’s degrees in International Business. After we graduated from South Bank University, Suree went on to complete another degree in Sculpture at Camberwell College of Art. Since finishing our master’s degrees, we have never left London. The mixing of our cultures from home and here in London has played a big part in our creation. This city inspires us, and combined with our Thai background, we create jewelry that is very unique.
We decided to become jewelry designers a few years ago when both of us thought we could create beautiful and unique jewelry for everyone to wear. Since we were both young we liked to play and make things – clothes, jewelry – from whatever we found around us. Suree’s mum was a dressmaker and when she was young, she always played with the leftover fabrics and made something from them. Jan’s mum was a hairdresser and growing up in and around her mum’s salon, Jan always [wanted] to create something beautiful that looks good on everyone.
Our inspiration came from several visits to art galleries, flea markets, car boot sales and vintage shops. Vintage and retro everyday objects and books stimulate our imagination. [When] we visited Paris a few years ago, we saw one of the beautiful antique carousels in the central part of town, and this reminded both of us about the fun we had on playgrounds when we were young. We then came back and did more research about fairs and carousels. We then collaborated with a sculptor in Thailand who realized the prototypes from our drawings, and then we got the wonderful final product. Our designs encompass old and new, bringing our memories back into the real world once again.
Porcelain is our favorite material because it’s flexible and really smooth to work with. You can sculpt anything [with it].
To create something that never existed before is the most challenging part. Luckily, there are so many things that inspire us here in London and we are lucky enough to be able to travel around the world and get inspiration from wherever we go.
When we were kids, it was a treat from our parents to let us go to the traveling fun fair if we did well at school. Carousels in Thailand were not as elaborate as the fine Victorian ones you have over here, but it was always fun, and we still have happy memories when we think about it. Seeing the amazing vintage carousels over here in Europe, we thought everyone would have similar memories and they would respond to seeing them in our jewelry.
It is very hard to setting up something new that we hadn't experienced before. Without trying, we would never have known if our jewelry would work. We were lucky enough to win a competition for a jewelry pop-up shop in Greenwich this June with three other designers. From this we learned so much and found new ways to overcome our challenges. We believe if you have determination and believe in yourselves, you will succeed in anything you do.
Our customers come from all ages; they have an innate sense of style and love a bit of fun. They are original and eclectic; they buy clothes from Bond Street and Oxfam and wear them together with one of our pieces. We want our customers to be free to enjoy themselves and love to be different from everyone else.
Suree’s favorite piece is the horse because it is very elegant but also has a fairy tale twist. Jan’s favorite piece is the bird because it is the cutest one in the range.
Anyone can be a successful designer if they believe in whatever they do. Never give up and keep on trying.
We love to spending time in Shoreditch and on Brick Lane because they have so many different shops and styles there. We like to get flowers at Columbia Road market and have a coffee Sunday morning. The next stop is always Brick Lane, stopping for a quick snack at the bagel shop then looking out for bits and bobs, [at] UpMarket and Spitalfields Market. In the evening, we love the Vietnamese food on Kingsland Road and after dinner, there are so many bars to choose from. We also like to shop at the weekly car boot sales in Wimbledon and Battersea.