Kiki McDonough

Interview

Kiki McDonough

London jeweller with a Royal following
Interview:
Sophie Eggleton

An exquisite or well chosen accessories has a great power. Not only can it add much needed pizazz to an otherwise understated or muted ensemble, it can be the vital ingredient in making the wearer feel special, the presence of opulence and ensuing poise elevating them to style goddess.

With over 25 years in the industry Kiki McDonough has not only been the jewelry designer of choice for many of our most famous and beautiful women but also for anyone seeking timeless and vibrant designs. Sophie Eggleton caught up with Kiki to find out more about her lengthy career in the industry....

You grew up very close to where your Sloane Square boutique resides. Do you think this location influenced your career choice?
I have always lived in London and was brought up near Sloane Square. It feels like home so it is lovely to be able to run my business from here, but I wouldn’t say it influenced my career choice. Three generations of my family before me were jewelers and being surrounded by beautiful jewels as a child is what really inspired me to work in the industry
myself.  
 
What spurred you to start the business in the eighties?
I saw a gap in the market for beautiful fine jewelry that women could buy for themselves and that would make them feel more special. I wanted to inject colour and fun into the jewelry world and work with semi precious stones in a way that no one else was.

What was the trickiest or most surprising part of creating your business?
The trickiest part of running your own business is the constant discipline needed and the most surprising for me when I started the business was that everyone loved the jewelry!

What would we see on the mood boards of your designs?
Lots and lots of colour! They are always eye-catching and modern, with charming, feminine touches. 



You have celebrated 25 years, what would you put the company’s longevity down to? 
Celebrating 25 years in the fine jewelry industry was a great achievement for us - I put it down to hard work, wonderful staff and my love of constantly updating and creating new designs. 
 
You have survived through various recessions, how did you adapt your business during these times?
During each recession the business has been adaptable and ready to face any challenge, but most importantly, I have always stayed true to what I am good at and this is what keeps customers coming back.  

To coincide with the anniversary you released a perfume… are there any other products you hope to release?
The ‘KIKI’ scent, which we launched this year has been a huge success. I have also launched a wholesale range and am about to launch the ‘KIKI’ range of small leather goods and two scented candles – I think that might be enough for one year! 

The whole ‘having it all’ thing is being constantly challenged… as a mother and business woman what are your views?
Having it all is a nice idea, but in reality is a very difficult thing to achieve – of course you have to make sacrifices along the way. I have always talked to my children about my business so that they feel it is part of their lives and not something I do to get away from them! There is huge pressure on women to be perfect and ‘do it all’, which can make our lives very stressful. I believe that we should each do what we want to in life, not what the outside world expects of us.   

Despite your schedule you still find time to be on the board of various charities… can you tell me a bit about the causes?
I was a trustee of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and was on the development of the English National Ballet School.  Ballet is my passion and I love being involved with it – I’m just about to do an event with the London Children’s Ballet. I feel very strongly in life that if you are as lucky as I have been, you should give something back. 
 
Your pieces have been worn by Hollywood A-Listers (including Cate Blanchett) as well as royalty (including Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson)… who would you most like to see wearing your designs?
The next woman Prime Minister.

Vivid hues are consistent through the majority of your designs… in the way that you dress do you generally use accessories to infuse colour into your ensembles? 
I wear a lot of black and navy blue, like a lot of women, and so my accessories do tend to be quite colourful.  My handbag at the moment is bright orange and my earrings are peridot.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery you own?  
A pair of peridot and diamond earrings.
 
What staple pieces would you say everyone should have in their jewelry box?
Always a pair of earrings for every day.
 
Who are your personal style icons? 
My customers.

Who is your favourite designer?
Oscar de la Renta or Alaia.

What is your favourite beauty product? 
Dior lip gloss – I never go anywhere without it.
 
What is on your ipod right now?
600 songs which I have been collecting since ipods came out. I love them all but my favourite right now is ‘Poison’ by Alice Cooper .
 
What is your favourite city overall? 
London – its home.

What is your best kept secret in your little black book? 
If I tell you it won’t be a secret anymore.
 
What can’t you travel without?
A book, my ipod and a pot of Vaseline.
 
What is your favourite hotel?
Sandy Lane in July.
 
What is your favourite restaurant?
Scotts in Mayfair – I love their Dover Sole .
 
What has been your most extravagant purchase?
A leather dress that I have just bought from Nicole Farhi
 
What products can’t you live without?
My scent ‘KIKI’ and Marmite.

Where is next on your list of places to visit?
A spa in Bali, if I have time to get there!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My father, who also had a jewelry shop, told me two things when I set up my business that I have lived by ever since.  Nothing is ever ‘cheap’ it is always ‘inexpensive’ and when a customer walks into the shop, remember never to judge a book by its cover.

What is on your shopping list right now?
A new winter coat and tickets to see Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin dance Manon.
 
Do you social nework?
We have a Facebook page and Twitter account but I don’t have the time to manage them alone. My staff all contribute regularly – we are so busy that we always have lots to say! 

Visit Kiki McDonough at www.kiki.co.uk or to read more about her collection read our Red Carpet Ready feature.

Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook View us on Google+