Pearls are on trend for east London designer
Fashion and nature go hand-in-hand for east London businesswoman Lulu Tyers.
It's a combination that has formed the basis of a new career for the former Wharfer who is determined to challenge suggestions pearls may be as outdated and bland with her new range of jewellery.
The 35-year-old said the seed of her start-up - Pearl-Lang - was sown while on a trip to Tahiti in 2002 when she went on a tour of a pearl farm and was amazed by the variety and natural colours of the jewels.
On her return to east London, her struggle to find a high-quality pearl as a present for her mum was enough to persuade her put her plans into practice.
Lulu said: "When people think about pearls they think of very ordinary grandma pearls and it's not exciting.
"Our designs are inspired by the latest fashions and also by nature. For us, pearls are the gem closest to the natural world and a lot of our designs are inspired by the weather and beautiful leaf shapes in a contemporary yet elegant style.
"We are very close to the latest colour trends so the minimalist white we have seen at Elie Saab and Oscar De La Renta and all those designers incorporating that colour, is reflected in our Akoya pearls.
"We are not saying don't wear other types of jewellery but with our pearls, there are so many exciting colours and varieties out there.
"People around this area might go to work with a simple pair of earrings but they might not know pearls can be found in these colours and have this lustre.
"We are just giving people access to a variety of jewellery that's exciting, not bordering on the traditional mindset."
Lulu and her two business partners - based in Japan and Tahiti - have forged strong relationships with growers of four varieties - Tahitian, Freshwater, Golden South Sea and Akoya.
She said these deals meant that Pearl Lang worked with the top one per cent of pearls, as the company is always allowed first pick of the crop.
Lulu said: "Because we have this dedicated relationship with pearl farms, our prices are competitive compared to that of retailers on the high street.
"If you look at the same product, you will have that better result from us. We want normal people to have access to these beautiful, natural pearls."
Before Pearl-Lang's official launch last year, Lulu said the company had been selling the high-lustre pearl jewellery, ranging from delicate naturally-created whites, pinks and purples as well as dark green and metallics, solely to family and friends.
Since then, the firm's website has opened for business and its focus has shifted to online customers.
"I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur and to create something that can impact on people's lives," added Lulu.
"Something that's so beautiful, like pearls, shouldn't be disregarded. We think there's a big gap for this, and we're giving people knowledge to buy with confidence."
Prices start at £45.