Marble Floral nude peach and rose gold, £82, Olivia Burton
“Gemma and I had been friends since university and always knew we wanted to start our own business; it was a case of finding the right moment,” says Bennett. “I became a watch buyer at ASOS and noticed a gap in the market for affordable, fashionable feminine watches.”
In 2011 the pair quit their full-time jobs and pooled their savings to create their elegant, antique-meets-modern watches. Inspired by catwalk trends and featuring florals, butterflies and bees, they were in stark contrast to the chunky models that dominated the market at the time.
“There were a lot of negative voices saying ‘you’re crazy’,” says Fennings. “But we ploughed on because we believed in our idea.” One voice spurred them most of all – that of Bennett’s great aunt. “She said, ‘come on, you can absolutely do it’.” Her name? Olivia Burton.
Great-aunt Olivia was right, and fashion buyers were smitten. “The reaction was ‘wow, we’ve been waiting for a brand like this,’” recalls Fennings. “Harvey Nichols was one of our first stockists and positioned us next to Mulberry, which helped to elevate the brand.”