LIFE & LIVING
Andrew Hirst talks to another local inspirational woman, who has taken her business idea from her living room to an international stage with a multi-million pound turnover.
If you wanted to describe Lisa Angel in a couple of words “creative passion” would fit the bill. Lisa is a true champion of local creative talent and her own artistic journey began when she started her fashion degree at the Norfolk Institute of Art and Design. This eventually led Lisa on a path to achieving the job of her dreams as a buyer for a major high-street chain in London. A job with bright lights and plenty of travel, what’s not to love. But as we go on our life’s journey sometimes our priorities can change. After the birth of her first child Lisa took the brave and exciting first step on a new path.
Splitting her time between being a new mum and designing her own jewellery, she found a new outlet to reignite her creativity. In 2004 Lisa sold her car to help fund her dream and soon began selling her bespoke designs at craft fairs, including being a regular at venues like the Forum in Norwich. Lisa’s living room soon became home to everything from concept and design to production and packaging, and is the birthplace for the brand that we know today as Lisa Angel Ltd.
Very soon a local loyal following of customers was growing and, even though the business now has many sales throughout the UK and internationally, the strong Norwich base of customers is still the heart, soul and spiritual home of everything they do.
The first permanent outlet came in 2006 when Lisa secured a kiosk in Chapelfield (now Chantry Place) and soon realised that help was needed. Lisa, her husband David, and a new member of staff covered the hours required to staff the kiosk as well as the craft fairs and split her time as a mum.
“I didn’t know what to call the business, and I was persuaded to use my name.” Lisa said. “As the company has grown many of the original customers still buy personalised jewellery from us. I always try to buy locally myself. It is worth walking the extra distance to go to a local shop or producer. Norwich is such a fantastic city… vibrant and full of inspiration.”
Today the business has grown to a £9million turn-over and includes two retail outlets, one in Chantry Place Shopping Centre and the other in Lower Goat Lane, a global website, a major partnership with notonthehightstreet.com and a growing wholesale business spreading the Lisa Angel brand, products and philosophy even further.
“I truly believe that you should listen to your customers, but you still need to be true to your own creative integrity to succeed.” Lisa said. “Also we have always wanted to be kind to the planet. This is why we try to source everything from as sustainable sources as we can.”
With a large team who work solely on personalisation of the jewellery and products available it is clear to see that this is an integral part of the Lisa Angel brand. “I have always felt strongly about the personalised jewellery. It makes a special piece of jewellery even more personal, which can be loved and cherished for years.”
“We have such a great team of people who are extremely creative and talented, and have a passion for the industry. They are helping us to continue to build on our success.”
When Covid hit and lock-downs were starting to kick in Lisa and the senior management team took the decision to shut the doors for the first time in seventeen years. Several of the staff were in tears and came up with creative ways as to how they could keep working, producing and fulfilling the customers orders online. Known as Lisa Angel Hero’s, these staff members went above and beyond to continue the creative journey the company had been on, keeping the doors open.
Lisa, now a mum to three, like so many others unfortunately contracted Covid in April of this year. “It wasn’t great, but it could have been so much worse. The thing that seems to be lingering on is the fatigue. Just doing regular things which would have normally been in a regular day seem to take more effort. I sometimes think it is just my imagination, but others I am certain that I am still feeling the effects of the virus.”
Lisa Angel continues to grow the business whilst staying true to the ethos which has made the company such a success. She is an inspiration to everyone, proving that great things can be achieved from small start-ups just by believing in yourself, your abilities and your products; whilst having the courage to take the first step.