What inspired you to launch
Kiki McDonough?

I am from a jewellery background, but my family previously sold antique jewellery, so when I started my business in 1985 I was never scared about wearing fine jewellery and was completely at home with gemstones. I have always loved coloured gemstones and thought they were underrated, undervalued and needed to be enjoyed and worn in beautiful designs.

It was, however, other people’s confidence in me that inspired me to go ahead and set up the business. The brand has now grown and is recognised all over the world. There are thirteen distinctive collections, as well as men’s cufflinks, an exclusive range of luxury leather accessories, all in my signature vibrant colours, and just launched a limited edition range of KIKI watches.

How do you approach the design process
and what fuels your imagination?

My main inspiration comes from my customers and my lifestyle, but I get most of my ideas for the different colour combinations from the ballet. I have been a ballet fan all my life, the colours in the costumes always makes me race back to the office with new enthusiasm for the next collection. I also find inspiration in flowers because of their colours and I find whenever I am away relaxing on the beach the ideas always start flowing!

How would you describe your style of
jewellery, and what are your favourite
materials to use?

My style is timeless and feminine, it’s not ‘bling’ and it doesn’t overpower you, but it always makes you feel prettier once you put it on. We all wear so much black, especially in winter, and I have never met a woman who doesn’t look better when wearing a touch of colour on her ears or hands. All my jewellery is 18ct gold, and my favourite stone is peridot – although it’s a strong colour it does seem to go with everything.

What are the hardest parts but also the
most rewarding in your job?

The hardest part is running an expanding business and still keeping the creative side at the forefront. I love the variation in my day, the fact that I meet lots of people and I sell beautiful things – I couldn’t be luckier.

My most valuable lesson: you may have talent but you will need hard work, discipline and a touch of luck to succeed.

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing people from all walks of life really enjoy wearing my jewellery for any occasion.

What is in store for you and your business?

Over the next few years the business will continue to expand into new regions. We will be opening several new wholesale concessions throughout the UK and increasing our presence in prestigious independent retailers and department stores across America. I also want to continue to persuade more women across the globe to wear coloured gemstones.

What do you strive to achieve when
designing each piece of jewellery?

Every piece I design should make the wearer look prettier than before they put it on. It should light up the face, and make you feel altogether more positive. The jewellery should also feel accessible and not make the wearer feel uncomfortable about putting it on.

Favourite Things

  • Favourite Gemstone – Peridot
  • Favourite Places – A beautiful pristine beach where I can relax and unwind, or the Ranelagh Gardens at the Royal Hospital in London where I live
  • Favourite Hobbies – Going to the ballet, which is my great love, or staying in and watching Liverpool FC, who I have supported for years
  • Favourite Book – Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
  • Favourite Car – My new British racing green Mini Cooper S
  • Favourite Flower – Peonies
  • Favourite Designers – Prada and Emporio Armani
  • Favourite Treat – coffee cake
  • Favourite London Discovery – A backstage tour at the Royal Opera House
  • Favourite Restaurant – Zafferano on Lowndes Street
  • Favourite Hotel in Europe – The Hotel de Russie in Rome
  • Favourite Long Haul Hotel – The Reethi Rah in the Maldives