Here at Luxe HQ, we love nothing more than championing inspiring women who, not only put our region on the map in business, but empower the people within it.
This spring, we’re catching up with Kellie Daniels, a New Orleans native who made the North East home in 2012, before launching her own jewellery brand, SALOME, in 2016.
Using handcrafted, gemstone designs, SALOME celebrates strong women and their stories; and is based on the ethos of donating 10% of all sales to charities supporting marginalised women across the world, helping them to achieve a brighter future.
The chic new SALOME x Stephanie Waxberg collection presents a stunning combination of precious stones, working to uplift and inspire women, day and night. We find out more…
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN JEWELLERY DESIGN?
I used to work at the Guggenheim and have always been inspired by art, architecture, and jewellery design.
I was making the jewellery for myself and the first time I made jewellery for anyone else was for my wedding. It was my absolute dream to start my own brand and it finally happened in 2016!
I am happy to get to do what I love every single day.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE NEW TO SALOME, WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THE BRAND?
After years of designing the jewellery, I started the brand in 2016 in my Blaydon studio. I named it after my mom – she was a strong, loving, and inspiring woman.
We always shared this huge passion for jewellery. SALOME is very much about strong women, confidence, and their stories. I was always fascinated by natural gemstones and their power to uplift and inspire. Creating something that carries meaning is fulfilling.
YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM NEW ORLEANS – BUT ARE NOW BASED HERE IN THE NORTH EAST. WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO THE REGION AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING/WORKING HERE?
My family and I moved to the UK in 2012 – my husband is from here and we always wanted to raise our kids where they could spend time around the family and cousins.
I was 34 at that time, while my girls were seven, four and one. It really felt like a fresh start. It was both terrifying and freeing at the same time – I finally could do things I was too afraid to do back at home. I felt empowered as I had nothing to lose. I started working on my dream and SALOME was born.
WHAT MAKES YOUR JEWELLERY SPECIAL?
SALOME is conscious, handcrafted jewellery made from all-natural stones and recycled metals. All the jewellery pieces carry the power of natural gemstones. It all comes back to my roots – the influence of my Mom, strong womanhood around the world and diversity of cultures and designs in New Orleans are things that inspire SALOME’s original and bohemian designs.
TELL US ABOUT THE NEW SALOME X STEPHANIE WAXBERG COLLECTION. HOW DID IT COME ABOUT AND WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
The SW collection was the first ever design collaboration for SALOME. Featuring pearl and goldstone, it was a huge success and I couldn’t be happier about working together with Stephanie.
We met in an event we hosted in aid of Cross River Gorilla at Kew Gardens in London and instantly clicked in our views about both jewellery and the world.
Her chic, effortless, yet glamorous style combined with the bohemian and curious SALOME vibe resulted in very special pieces. Stephanie embodies what we call a SALOME girl and is a perfect addition to the SALOME tribe around the world.
PORTIONS OF YOUR SALES GO TO CHARITY – CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THEM AND WHY YOU FEEL IT’S IMPORTANT TO ‘GIVE BACK’?
Our handcrafted jewellery is here to inspire and empower, so every piece supports women all around the world. We give 10% of all sales to different charities working towards helping marginalised women and their future.
We are ambassadors of the Cross River Gorilla Project (CRGP) and support their efforts to save the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla and strengthen the local community.
We organise SALOME WE Award (Women’s Empowerment Award) annual art competition for young girls in South West Cameroon to help offer more diversity and introduce the arts into their education. The winner receives a scholarship and second and third place winners also receive an amount that goes towards their continuing education.
All students from the chosen school receive art supplies funded by SALOME, as well as art books and art tutorials to help the teachers introduce them to this wonderful world.
A little closer to home, we offered our support to and partnered with the local Women’s Aid in Newcastle. We provide art supplies for the children of the women who are supported by Women’s Aid and also provide crystals and jewellery to help uplift and inspire women who are going through a turbulent time.
YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO HANGOUT IN THE NORTH EAST?
I live in Axwell Park in Blaydon on a lake and it’s totally idyllic. So, combine the beautiful scenery with my favourite people, and home would have to be the answer. But Barter Books in Alnwick is a close second!
FINALLY, YOUR ‘THREE LUXE THINGS IN LIFE’?
Jonathon – my husband. He’s my biggest fan and I adore him! Ella, Scarlett and Vivienne, my three little girls, are the joy of my life. Then, my mother’s wedding ring. It’s just priceless and it manages to capture her essence, which great jewellery manages to do. I feel so close to her when I wear it.