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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Heidi Thompson

Here’s how Heidi Thompson found herself in a leading role at the globally recognised brand, CARAT* London

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Heidi Thompson, Creative Director at CARAT London
Heidi Thompson, Creative Director at CARAT London

Heidi Thompson is the Creative Director at CARAT* London. Heidi has launched the brand’s fashion collections and contributed hugely toward the brand’s overall success since it has become a leading, globally recognised jewellery brand that caters to women of all tastes.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Chupi Sweetman

Tell Us about Your Background

I’m Korean-American, born and raised in the States. I studied Art and Design in school and had various stints including working for DJ Steve Aoki, assisting a costume designer on a feature film, and designing furniture in Paris. I met Scott Thompson, the founder of CARAT* London, in Hong Kong and we started working together after we got married.

We launched CARAT*’s fashion collections after one of our first trips together to NYC where we found inspiration at the historic Chelsea Market. Since then, CARAT* has greatly expanded its fashion jewellery offering and we now have over 200 points of sale in the UK, alongside numerous boutiques throughout Asia, including some in Hong Kong and China.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Olivia Smith

How did you get into jewellery design?

I’ve always been interested in design. My first job after college was working for an industrial designer and artist in Paris. We had projects ranging from chairs for Kartell, to diamond-encrusted phone cases to perfume bottles for Issey Miyake.

It was an eye-opening time for me as I was able to experience first-hand the process of how a simple sketch that came out of a brainstorming session could become a commercial item sold on the shelves of Harrods. As a result, jewellery design was a natural progression, combining inspiration from history and fashion with beautiful stone cuts and precious metals.

Check out Sif Jakobs’ Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to learn how she started designing jewellery.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

It’s always amazing to see high-profile celebrities walk down the red-carpet wearing CARAT* but what brings me more joy is spotting our jewellery on women in the street, whether it’s in Hong Kong, London or while we are on holiday in LA.

I absolutely love seeing how women wear our pieces with such varied personal styles. Another thing that brings a smile to my face are days when we have e-commerce orders from 15 different countries. It’s so cool to see our boxes be shipped out to so many different parts of the world.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Béatrice de Montille

Who are your greatest female inspirations?

Anjelica Huston; I love how she always looks so effortlessly glamorous. Also, Diane Vreeland because she was so self-assured and didn’t care about what anyone thought of her.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

My favourite part is the adrenaline rush I get when doing something creative, be it trying to capture the perfect light in the middle of a photoshoot or making the final touches to a collection in progress. I also love networking and getting to meet people from all different walks of life.

Read more: Wonder Woman Wednesday: Emmy Scarterfield

How do you balance family time with working life?

It’s always the ultimate challenge, no matter how you put it. Working with my husband, I can’t say we can really separate work from our personal lives very easily, however, becoming a mother has definitely helped me put everything into perspective and ultimately manage my time better.

I try my best to be home in time to read the girls a story before bed and of course weekends are all about spending time with each other.

What does your typical working day look like?

In the morning Scott and I will discuss what our days look like over some breakfast before going over anything that urgently needs to be done. Later on I could be working on some ideas for the holidays, such as a jewellery advent calendar, catching up with our PR agency to plan an upcoming event, or finalising and tweaking collections before they go to production.

Other days are spent on more technical things like making changes to the website, analysing data from our digital ad campaigns, or working on a presentation at a speaking event. I can never predict what my day might look like and that’s what I love about this job!

Read Sarah Zhaung’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out how she spends a typical working day.

Can you tell me five interesting facts about yourself?

  1. In my spare time, I do calligraphy on invitations for top fashion houses.
  2. I don’t have a driver’s license.
  3. I’m fluent in French and conversational in Italian.
  4. In a second life, I would love to be a midwife or doula.
  5. Embarrassingly, I’m really into K-pop.

If you enjoyed reading about Heidi’s fascinating background, read Elizabeth Harrison’s Wonder Woman Wednesday profile to find out more about this talented jewellery designer.

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