DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: MILK TOOTH
London-based Ernestina Potts and her husband Mark set up Milk Tooth jewellery in 2016 in the quest to create distinct, creative, bold statement earrings without the outlandish pricetag. I discovered them at a trade show earlier this year and loved the graphic element of their designs - they're so eye-catching and I felt they were creating something really different in the 'statement' jewellery category that I wanted to offer Collective Boutique clients.
This month I grabbed 10 minutes with Ernestina as she launches Milk Tooth's new 'Sphere Collection', to discuss her inspiration as a designer and jewellery style tips...
Basically I’m a total magpie and have always loved a big or impactful earring, but found myself struggling to find jewellery that was as exciting as I wanted at a price I could afford, so I decided to make my own! The design ideas come easily but working with makers and learning about different techniques has been the real learning curve.
What do you want Milk Tooth to be known for?
I want Milk Tooth to be known for stand out fresh and creative designs that will help make anyone who wears them feel amazing. Being accessible and open to all is really important to me. We’re all about celebrating individuality.
If you could design for someone in the public eye, who would it be?
To be honest I’m probably more interested in designing for everyday people, but some people whose style I love include FKA Twigs (pictured), MIA and Grace Jones. I like the way they experiment with fashion and use it as another part of their art.
Describe a day in the studio
I work full time as well, so the business happens early morning, evenings and weekends, apart from the odd partner or planning meeting that needs to happen in work hours. A big chunk of effort goes into asset creation for the website or social media. We have a small photo studio set up in our spare room at home and also organise regular shoots. Plus of course there’s all the more operational side with customer emails, website stuff and partner liaison. Developing designs and coming up with new ideas is definitely the funnest part. We always have a good few mood boards live and there are sketches of ideas literates all over the house!
What inspired your latest collection?
It’s kind of a comment on how messed up the world is at the moment. We envisaged an alternative world that was more harmonious and egalitarian and then had fun coming up with some of the philosophy behind it and bringing that to life through design. It sounds a bit serious but it’s supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek. Anyone who knows Sun Ra will see he had a big influence, with some counterculture references added in.
What jewellery pieces do you treasure?
My engagement ring which is an antique made in 1914 and a ring that my grandma used to wear every day.
Which other jewellery designers do you admire?
I don’t follow many other jewellery brands to be honest. I love what Gucci are doing, but wouldn’t actually buy their stuff. It is great to look at though! On the Rocks is an incredible jewellery magazine that is super inspirational. Their art direction is on fire!
Name your favourite gemstone/metal and why.
I’m a massive sucker for gold. More is more in my world. And emeralds are my favourite gems.
At the end of a hectic day, how do you unwind?
Read a book or watch a good box set episode with a glass of red wine!
If you could offer one jewellery style tip, what would it be?
Wear it loud, wear it proud and release your inner queen.