Looking for bold jewellery at an affordable price and uninspired by what was on offer, Mags Walker decided to have a go herself. ‘I didn’t want to offer the same as everyone else, I wanted something unique,’ says the Yorkshire-born founder of Toolally jewellery. ‘I’ve always been obsessed with dressing up and the history of fashion,’ continues Walker, a qualified accountant-turned-marketing director with a keen interest in design, ‘I’m quite crafty and was always drawing and knitting. So then I started investigating a bit more and found an acrylic factory up the road…’
The response to her eye-catching, handmade jewellery was instant and a chance meeting with Lucinda Chambers’ assistant at the Vogue Festival, when the company was still in its formative stages, led to a request for a selection of earrings to be sent in to the magazine. ‘ I didn’t even make earrings at the time!’ laughs Walker, ‘and so I spent all weekend creating some!’ Her enterprise paid off and the colourful, Perspex accessories ended up in a 1980s editorial worn by model Lara Stone. Result.
‘I love the 50s, 60s and the 80s,’ Walker adds when discussing the brand’s retro-inspired styles, ‘It’s a bit like Stars in Their Eyes, which era are you going to be tonight, Matthew!’ Two and a half years later, Toolally has become a family affair. Walker has been joined in the jewellery business by her husband who is in charge of production and her teenage daughter who has a practical role in the manufacturing process – and still finds time to continue her work as a marketing consultant for an advertising agency. Based in Barnoldswick, the studio now has a team of seven and is set to produce between 15 and 20 thousand pairs of earrings, this year. ‘I’m still in a state of disbelief about what’s happening,’ admits the company founder, ‘I feel blessed, I never dreamt that this would happen – that people like my jewellery means so much to me. It’s so amazing, I cry buckets at the thank you letters and emails.’
As a fan of super-sized earrings what I like about Toolally designs is the fact that they’re light enough to make a statement without the sagging lobes. When we chat on the phone, Mags tells me that when styling an outfit she starts with the earrings and goes from there. Then she turns the tables and asks how I would style Toolally: for a touch of Casual Glamour, I would recommend wearing the ‘Cassies’ earrings (first photo: inspired by the inner spool of a tape cassette) with a trouser suit or tuxedo and trainers. The ‘Shards’ with a slouchy cream cashmere sweater, black leather leggings and loafers. And the Hepworths (in blue) would be perfect with double denim:
The first three pairs of earrings are from Toolally’s LBD Collection, handmade in the UK. The Hepworths are from the main range. All earrings have gold vermeil or sterling silver posts and are also available as clip-ons from the Toolally website HERE. That’s Not My Age readers have been exclusively offered 15% discount (until Christmas), simply use the code: Alyson-Walsh-15%*
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