March Meet The Maker: How it all started

Ever wondered where the idea for Toolally came from and how it all started? For today’s #Marchmeetthemaker campaign our founder Mags shares the story.

 

My daughter Katie has cerebral palsy and in 2014 I opened a small creative emporium for kids in Barnoldswick as somewhere for Katie to go to work when she finished school. It was important to me that she didn’t become isolated and stuck at home every day – she loves having a job and having work colleagues to chat to.

We thought it would be cool for the kids who visited us to design their own jewellery using acrylic charms. I didn’t want to get the pieces off the peg, so I bought a small laser cutter, sketched some simple shapes and got cracking. On a visit to the Perspex factory to choose materials, I discovered some beautiful frosted acrylics which didn’t look plasticky (if that’s a word) at all, they were almost jewel-like.

The colour palette was amazing so I decided it might be nice to make some jewellery for adults as well (me, to be absolutely precise!). I decided I’d like to try and create something really unique. I also felt the time was right for something a little bolder and more colourful again after years of minimalism.

The idea for statement earrings actually came about by way of a lucky accident. Lucinda Chambers, British Vogue’s Fashion Director at the time, who loves acrylic, was doing an 80s inspired editorial; some of her team had spotted me wearing a Toolally necklace and asked if I made earrings. I said I did (I didn’t).

They asked me to send some samples to Vogue House. I made several pairs over the course of a very long weekend, inspired by memories of my youth, and sent them off. They used them in the shoot! I got my first press credit in the August 2015 issue of British Vogue – and that was when the Toolally story really started.