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Susan Caplan

Inspirational Female Founder Spotlight: Susan Caplan

Susan Caplan is the globally-renowned vintage jewellery curator. She has over 40 years’ experience in the vintage jewellery business and since launching her brand in 2008 has honed an expertise unrivalled in the market. She is at the forefront of the vintage jewellery industry, which has grown massively in popularity as customers are becoming more socially responsible and environmentally conscious. She has recently announced a major partnership with John Lewis, launching a couture collection with the renowned British retailer to showcase and deliver an elevated vintage jewellery offering to customers.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

My family have always had a strong sense of appreciation for design history and craftsmanship and many members are in the antiques trade which I then joined (when there was no longer any room in my house for the pieces I had collected on my travels!) I soon recognised the appetite for jewellery with a history so refined my offering towards that. After many years establishing my name in the antiques industry as an antiques and jewellery trader, I streamlined to just jewellery. I approached John Lewis Glasgow with my collections and then the rest, as they say, is history. 

How did you achieve awareness?

I believed that we were at the very beginning of the emergence of a new trend; vintage. I convinced anyone who would listen about the need to reframe ‘second hand’ jewellery to ‘vintage’. It wasn’t always easy, and not everyone was amenable but I stuck to what I believed, naming my collections ‘Susan Caplan Vintage Collections’ shortly after. My daughter was working with me at the time and secured some coverage in key titles like Vogue, Grazia UK etc and from there it seemed to really take off. I was soon supplying Harvey Nichols, Harrods, John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason and many other retailers. 

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

I’ve grown organically and always felt very proud of that. We were ahead of the curve in a sense and met demand at a time when others didn’t quite have the same vision for truly high-quality vintage products. I always saw vintage as a conscious fashion decision, one that helps to protect the planet, so focussing on that aspect has helped because of course, the world is waking up to the damage that the human race has caused and how small decisions that we make can help to reverse that. 

What are the key successes?

Expanding my business internationally has been a highlight of mine as well as seeing Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Adele wearing Susan Caplan!  

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

The biggest challenge has been doing this alone. Without a business partner to bounce ideas off, growing a business has been tough but I’m incredibly proud of myself and my strong passionate team for what we’ve achieved. 

What are your plans now/for the future?

 I’ll be expanding internationally and working on some very exciting collaborations that have sustainability at the heart of them. 

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

Believe in yourself. Nothing is easy but with self-belief, passion and good people around you, the journey is fun. 

Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?

Constantly review how you can be the best at what you do, never stay still, always be one step ahead.

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?

My 3 girls for their passion, drive and immense support – I am proud and thankful to be their mother. They have all achieved so much. Gemma is a fashion stylist and co-founder of This Is Mothership, a fashion and beauty platform; Louisa as the CEO of a children’s mental health charity and Rachel is the Content Director for Estee Lauder Companies. My 96-year old Aunt Lily who continues to show resilience, strength, courage and laughter despite the heartache she had suffered and our Queen for her unwavering strength and dignity.

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Success in life is not the absence of problems it`s how you deal with them …

What are your Instagram:   @susancaplan

Website link:      www.susancaplan.co.uk