Absolute Gems

Firm friends and fellow founders Sandra Dunn and Therese Kelly opened Joulberry’s doors and jewellery cabinets to The Court Circular and quite frankly we didn’t want to leave…


Words | Lucy Donoughue


There’s something incredibly special about Joulberry Boutique in East Molesey. The frontage alone speaks to beauty of what customers will find inside and walking past the shop almost daily, I find myself peering in and admiring the delicate, unique pieces on display. So, when co-founders Sandra and Therese invited The Court Circular for a private visit and chat, I was delighted.


There’s a wonderful feeling about Joulberry from the moment you walk in, with stunning pieces laid out in a way that’s conducive to appreciating the design of each and there’s a subtle but rich smell of fig, which is heavenly and instantly relaxing.


Sandra and Therese are as warm and welcoming as the environment they’ve both worked so hard to create since they opened the boutique in 2014. And with the shop to ourselves, we settle down to talk about their female-led business, why their friendship is fundamental to the success of Joulberry and their mission to help people find the perfect pieces for every day, every occasion and life’s big moments.


Sandra and Therese, how did your partnership and Joulberry begin?

Sandra: Joulberry came into existence in 2010 but we’ve been friends for much longer, I think fourteen years!


Therese: Sandra and I met when we were both pregnant and we became best friends. She had worked in law and was an excellent squash coach at the time too, but we’d never really talked about my jewellery. I’d already started on my early collections and things were getting a little bit too busy for me especially because I can’t do, or hate doing, paperwork! So one day I suggested that

we became business partners… and Sandra, you explain what happened next…


S: I was initially a bit worried and didn’t know what to say. I didn’t wear a huge amount of jewellery at the time, I had young kids and I didn’t want to ruin our friendship if I didn’t like what Therese made. I knew I had to love what she did if we did go into business together and when I saw it, I was in tears because it was so beautiful. I could just feel the meaning of every single piece. I had all this emotion around it, and I knew we had something that would work.


Where does the inspiration for Joulberry’s collections come from?

T: First of all, our collections have to be pieces that we would like to wear in the period of life we’re in. Having been together for twelve years our jewellery has evolved with us, from capturing kid’s fingerprints when our own children were little because that was really important to us at the time, to jewellery carrying inscribed personal messages or meanings. We then both started to love gold, which is when we introduced our white and rose gold pieces. Although our collections evolve and can be trend-led, I believe all our pieces are timeless.


What are you working on right now?

S: We’re currently working on our beautiful Blossom collection and extending that using the marquise diamond in as many ways as possible.


T: We also create bespoke pieces, for example designing an engagement ring for a surprise proposal. We talk to the customer and get an understanding of what their partners’ taste might be, what their lifestyle is like and then over a period of visits we co-create the right piece for them. Engagement

rings are bought and worn for a lifetime, so they have to be perfect and wearable.


What has driven you over the past 12 years?

S: We’re passionate about helping our customers to create and buy pieces that convey the intended sentiment for the person who receives and wears them. Meaning is so important with jewellery. People will always remember who bought the piece for them and what the occasion was.


T: We’re also continually inspired by what we do and what we’ve built together. We started Joulberry with zero investment and we’ve both worked equally hard to achieve what we have. Like most businesses though, we’ve been through some tough times and made difficult decisions in the past, but

we’ve got very aligned values, which is why Joulberry and our friendship exists.


“We’ve got very aligned values, which is why Joulberry and our friendship exists.”

What difference did lockdown make to your business?

S: It gave us a moment to think about how we might do things differently moving forward. We had time to think about what future collections might be and fortunately Therese was still able to come into the studio and work on pieces and I mainly worked on the business from home. We also began to focus more on private appointments, which our customers really appreciate. It’s nice for them to come in and have that one-to-one attention, so as a result we’ve launched the ability to book those. It’s great for people who want inspiration on a gift or ideas for a very special birthday, or anniversary – like personal shopping. I don’t know that we’d have made that change if it wasn’t for the pandemic.


Do you enjoy being part of the Bridge Road community?

S: Yes, everyone is so supportive and there’s so many independent stores. It feels special and unique. I don’t know any other place like Bridge Road.


T: We shop along the road too. We buy our coffee from all the different cafés, our ribbon is from Creative Quilting, the furniture in the boutique is from the antique shops, our flowers are from Honeysuckle Rose and we get presents from Mercado. Nights out are spent at the various Bridge Road restaurants with treats from Firefly and In Harmony. Our Bridge Road neighbours come and buy their gifts from here too.


S: And since lockdown, residents seem to be using the local shops more and have been so supportive, which makes a huge difference. We’re all so grateful.

 

Joulberry Boutique

28 Bridge Road, East Molesey

020 8979 5774

joulberry.com

Instagram @joulberry