E2 Cartel by Lily

You like good vintage jewellery? Then you really need to take a look at E2 Cartel. Gold, gold, the occasional silver item, well chosen accessories and more gold. Lily, the woman behind this treasure trove has the best eye – anyone who appreciates articulated clown charms and Nudie Cohn will 100% have the goods (in my opinion).

As Lily puts so nicely below, there is enough in this world already, so she is set on giving whats already here a new lease of life: Why buy new when, jewellery especially, was made to such a better quality! It isn’t just the best picked jewellery and accessories that can be found at E2 Cartel, but also a tonne of amazing historical and cultural research that Lily does about her finds or favourite pieces. As a lover and studier of history of dress and design this element of E2 Cartel is maybe a favourite; evidence of a true passion and love for what she does, as well as a lesson for anyone that cares to know (which you always should tbh).

If you can tell, I’m a big fan. So please read on ……

  1. tell us about yourself and your brand.

I’m Lily and my shop is E2cartel. E2cartel is a vintage & secondhand jewellery (sometimes shoes & accessories) shop that sits on the fence between naff, trash and fabulous chic classics. I am lucky enough to have found a small but fantastically loyal following since starting the instagram page in 2017. The shop was born out of being absolutely broke and spending the last bit of money i had on 5 pairs of earrings. I posted a photo of the earrings on my instagram and thankfully they all sold to friends and extended followers that day. I went back to the vintage wholesale shop i’d purchased the original 5 pairs from the very next day, and i haven’t stopped selling jewellery since. I only buy secondhand, vintage and/or dead stock items and try and cater to many purse price points. I really do strive to have something for every budget. Not every taste 🙂 My love of secondhand & vintage runs deep into my personal choices too. I really believe there is enough of everything on this planet already, so i’m happy to bring old pieces, new life and a new home via my shop. I collect original & rare Gold Creoles and have done for a number of years, the history of these particular earrings dates back hundreds and hundreds of years and covers the globe. I will share my Creole research on the E2 page soon.I try and use all recycled packaging so the envelopes your jewellery arrives in are likely to look slightly scruffy, i’ve always thought if that bothers anyone they probably shouldn’t be buying from me in the first place 🙂 I’ve always collected jewellery and trinkets and can’t wait to get back to sourcing and selling in person ASAP.

  1. What are your Inspirations?

I studied fashion photography and was taught by the legend Mark Lebon. His freedom in his practice and honesty about the industry was hugely inspiring at uni and i still see him as a bit of a hero now. He introduced us to brilliant people during that course and opened our minds the way a person in his position should. I collect documentary photography books, fashion movements, youth culture, i’m very interested in uniform, class uniform and “class tourism” through dress. Perry Ogden’s book Pony Kids first inspired me to take photos back in 2008, and showed me there was a different way of documenting people in their clothes and environment but in a controlled or staged way, which lead me to fashion photography. Not overly interested in high end fashion but street style and the way people present themselves to the world. I find this really fascinating. 

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Both. I couldn’t do what i do without it. Super brilliant tool for reaching customers worldwide. I have made some genuine friend-like connections using it, it has allowed me to have interactions with my customers that i wouldn’t get just by having a website/shop. The negatives as we all know, total waste of time. Can be a downer if you take algorithms personally.

  1.  Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?

I just want to continue having a nice time, enjoying what i do, connecting with people who enjoy similar things. Encouraging more slow fashion, secondhand purchases when possible. It makes me really happy when people receive their pieces and are blown away by them. I don’t plan on trying to make crazy money doing this (its pretty much impossible) or growing it to the point where i can’t source the stock myself. I just love things with history, jewellery, clothes, shoes omg i love shoes! I just want to share fun pieces with others who love them too. My advice would be to not compare yourself to others, celebrate people. Price your stock fairly, be brave and just have a nice time.

5.  Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?

Dea.clay, the most fabulous artist and ceramists. @dea.clayMr Finbar’s Hand Painted signs, super talented sign writer doing all sorts of gorgeous bits from Bristol to London @mr_finbarNicolette’s Goods, for all your sweet treat needs. Tasty deliciousness right to your door @nicolettesgoodsSue Stokes Antiques, Beautiful shop based in Corsham, Sue also frequents lots of antiques fairs in the south west/London @suestokesantiques

Holly Elder

Holly Elder’s work is juxtaposed between contemporary and ancient. With hammered textures, rich gold or silver and subtle but strong designs; Holly’s work is a master class in finding an awesome angle and running to the hills with it. I love her work.

This streamlined vision, bound up in reinterpretation, showcases Hollys’ mastery and skill alongside her interest, not only in history, but collections and objects: With carefully considered ancient relics forming the base of her work. Holly pinpoints the Pitt Rivers Museum as a source of inspiration. For those that love historical collections, the Pitt Rivers is a mecca for anyone interested in the area (as well as a base for many debates around controversial anthropological museum collections and how they should be displayed and interpreted now…but that’s for a different time!) This inspiration can be seen in her work, with a respect clearly visible in how she has used and manipulated the ancient objects.

There are so many (brilliant) emerging jewellery designers showcasing their work currently, it must be difficult to find a niche beyond what is trendy or ‘in fashion’. Holly has created a collection that is weighted in a strong vision and ethos, which is what sets Hollys work apart from many. It is absolute evidence of that if you march to the beat of your own drum, shallow trends need not apply.

See what Holly has to say about her work below…

  1. Tell us about yourself and your brand. 

Hello, I’m Holly and I’m a jeweller and silversmith living in Brighton. I studied 3D Design & Craft at Brighton University where I quickly favoured the metal workshop. I’ve always had an admiration of objects and collecting, but I wasn’t quite sure how I could translate this creatively. When I was introduced to silversmithing I instantly fell in love with the craft and realised that jewellery was the perfect way to merge my love of objects and making. 

My current jewellery collection is an exploration of found objects. All the pieces have originally been found with a metal detector by a third party and originate from the roman era dating back to the 1st-4th century AD! I have replicated and transformed them into wearable pieces; the collection features a hand holding an olive, a bucking stallion and the Head of Mars. 

  1. What are your Inspirations?

I remember visiting the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford before starting university and I was instantly mesmerised by the hundreds of beautifully curated historical objects displayed. It’s a real explosion of history, craft and curios, ranging from clothing and tools to shrunken heads! As well as the objects themselves I poured over the meticulously curated cabinets and display boxes; another object I’ve since started collecting. 

I was lucky enough to visit the jewellery exhibition ‘Schmuck’ in Munich on a university trip. It was the first time I was introduced to the world of contemporary jewellery and it really opened my eyes to the potential of what jewellery and objects can be. Personal highlights were the work of Maria Militsi, Karl Fritsch, Lisa Walker, Warwick Freeman, Otto Kunzli, Sigurd Bronger…

I also have a big love affair with Rachel Whiteread. Her work brings me a constant source of intrigue, I love her selection and use of objects in her craft and the way she explores and manipulates them. 

  1. Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help? 

Both! I definitely have days where I find Instagram frustrating and it can be hard to not compare yourself with others. It’s easy to get too wrapped up in the online world and forget that jewellery is to be worn and experienced IRL! That being said I think that Instagram acts as a great platform for creatives and makers to showcase their work. I like to see it as a virtual museum.

  1. Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice? 

I’m excited to see how my business grows and how what I collect informs my collection. I would love to be at the bench making every day. I want to focus on continuing to be interested and intrigued with my craft and continue hunting down objects; I’d love to get my own metal detector or mudlarking licence! In terms of advice, I’d say it’s never the right time to put your work out there, just do it now! It’s really important to just keep on making.

  1. Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things? 

I’ve recently got into all things folklore so I’ve really been enjoying folk_pile, endlessmummer and weird_walk for that. I love the king and queen of mudlarking; jasonmudlark and london.mudlark ! I think the most interesting jewellers I’ve been following recently are georgiakemball and joy_bc and I’m also really enjoying anonymousworksinc for eccentric historical objects!