Applying for Goldsmiths’ Fair: my experience – Poppy Norton

Poppy Norton creates satisfyingly large, geometric jewels. Each has a modernist flair derived in part from her years working as an interior stylist and trend reporter. In 2016, after 18 years of styling, she decided to go back to the workshop, but this time as a jeweller.

Poppy successfully applied for Goldsmiths’ Fair 2023 and was the recipient of one of ten bursary stands. The Emerging Business Bursary (formerly the Graduate Bursary) supports talent at the beginning of their career in jewellery and silversmithing, regardless of the route they’ve taken to the trade.

We asked Poppy about her application experience and what it meant to her and her business to exhibit at the Fair.

Poppy Norton at Goldsmiths’ Fair 2023. Photo: Paul Read.

If you’re thinking of applying for Goldsmiths’ Fair and want to know more about the Emerging Business Bursary, read all the details here.

How many years have you been running your business?

Five years (but the Covid years don’t really count do they?)

What made you apply to the Fair?  

Having been a part of The Goldsmiths’ Centre’s Shine programme in 2022 and receiving such lovely feedback, I thought that it was worth pushing myself out of my comfort zone and applying to the Fair. I’m so glad that I did!  (I think that the fact that it was my last year of being eligible for the bursary scheme also gave me a sense urgency!)

How did you hear about the bursary scheme? 

I’m on the Goldsmiths’ Fair mailing list so that I don’t miss out on all of the latest news and opportunities – and of course the wonderful team at The Goldsmiths’ Centre made sure that we knew about it! 

How did you find the application process?

The application process did take a bit of time, I reshot a lot of my photographs to make them more relevant to the application and talking/writing about myself is never my favourite thing!

How did you choose which work to submit?

I wanted to submit work that was a cohesive yet varied collection (earrings/rings/brooches and a necklace) but most of all I wanted the pieces to represent my design aesthetic. 

How did you find the training given by The Goldsmiths’ Centre?

The Goldsmiths’ Centre’s training was totally invaluable. It taught me to push myself out of my comfort zone and forced me to do things that I would never have done otherwise (like film myself and talk about myself). It also taught me how to write and refer back to a design brief to make sure that a collection is both concise and relevant. But perhaps most importantly it taught me to recognise that I knew more than I gave myself credit for!

Which aspect of the Graduate (now Emerging Business) Bursary scheme did you feel was most valuable to you and your business? 

The selling skills lesson was both fascinating and useful, but being a part of a cohort and experiencing the wonder of the Fair with others going through the same experience was really special too. Feeling supported and championed by people who are experts in their field is amazing. Thank you! 

How has the Fair exposure impacted your client base? 

I think that the Fair introduced me and my work to a more elevated and focused market. 

Was there anything about the Fair you wish you’d known? What’s your top tip for new applicants/exhibitors?

It’s a huge experience and I think it’s important to actually plan just how long things take… Designing and making the work is only a tiny part of the bigger picture (don’t forget that you have to have the work made in plenty of time to allow for photography, marketing, pricing, packaging and display decisions, as well as making sure that your website is up to date). My top tip for new applicants is to enjoy every single minute of it as it’s a really special experience. 

I think it might have been helpful to have a broader understanding of what the Goldsmiths’ company does and who’s who (e.g. the roles of the Liverymen and the Prime Warden). 

Good idea, Poppy – we’re working on it!

Poppy’s work at Goldsmiths’ Fair 2023. Photo: Paul Read.

See Poppy’s work on her website and Instagram (@poppy_norton).

Find out more about applying for the Fair and our Emerging Business Bursary scheme