The Commoners - Annika Hawrelyn
One of our original team members at The Common E2 and favourite barista to many in Bethnal Green made a move back to her home city last year. Since then Annika Hawrelyn has been very busy developing her own projects and craft. We caught up with Annika for a little chat over the weekend, got a bit emotional remembering the 'good old times' and she shared her story with us, here it is.
Your company, Project, Idea or Collaboration
Annika Hawrelyn - Studio 1302 Fine Jewellery & Design (Studio 1302 is taken from the address of my workplace and also childhood home)
Can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?
I design and make handcrafted fine silver jewellery as a registered jewellery maker in Sweden. Handmade precious metal jewellery. No wax castings, melting of precious metal or mass-production in the making of my jewellery pieces, as I want to be involved in the entire process of my handcraft with classic silversmithing techniques. In the future there is scope to consider selling designs to larger companies for mass production but as I develop the studio I prefer staying on a small scale business.
You've moved back home from London, what have you been up to since you left us at The Common E2?
I started my jewellery business and focusing on marketing aspects i.e. website and branding at the moment.
You say it so casually, 'yeah.. no big deal I just started a jewellery business where I design and craft jewellery from beginning to end'. It is really inspiring stuff Annika, what projects are you most excited or passionate about that are on your radar?
Bespoke is really interesting as it gives me an insight to what customers are looking for in design and aesthetics. There are several aspects I need to consider like occasion or frequency of use. For example theres a big difference between something one wants to wear on a daily basis or special occasions.
How did you interested or started in jewellery design? We want to understand how and why you ended up here?
I always, since I can remember made simple jewellery or fashion jewellery - use of semi-precious metal and stone materials, since I was a child. One of my favourite things was to look into my mum's massive jewellery collection. She has everything from antique items to really funky 80's accessories. Being from a creative family (my father a painter and mum an architect) it doesn't come as I surprise I would do something in that field too. I really started to take it seriously though when I took an evening course in silversmithing in Stockholm five years ago after I graduated Business school at Stockholm University. It really whet my appetite and started planing what to do next. Six months later my dreams led me to London where I had only visited before as a tourist to study at Central Saint Martins. I choose that school mainly because several of my favourite British designers had studied there and the good relations the school has with the fashion industry. While I was studying I got an internship with London Fashion Jewellery designer Sarah Angold Studios in September 2014 for two moths. The studio wasn't from where The Common E2 is - but this was before the cafe was open, on Mowlem Street. I jumped right into fashion week madness with long days and sometimes nights, running errands getting the creative director her boxes of canned coca cola and rose wine - basically her diet. I loved the entire experience and never minded the "boring" side because it was only temporary, but also realised that I didn't want to work for someone else's dream. I wanted to pursue my own business.
What came after this, and how did you end up at The Common E2?
After my internship at Sarah Angold Studios in Bethnal Green I started working full-time as a barista in Hammersmith. But it was far for me to commute from North London and I missed East London so I started to look for other opportunities east. One regular customer - a sound engineer, mentioned to me his friend's newly opened place and when I looked the common E2 up I was drawn to the connection it had to design and architecture. Then I also saw that they we're looking for staff! So without hesitation I applied and then was hired shortly after. I was so excited to be back in my favourite part of London!
Why is The Common E2 special to you?
It's a creative and open space where you can try anything to see if it's successful - as long as the owner approves of course. Making connections with similar minded people is really easy too and have made many good friends with people who live and/or work in the area. The common e2 was like my second home to be honest and the owner Mark gave me lots of opportunities to grow professionally. I initially started so I could fund my jewellery studies and invest in tools etc. but given time and trust I moved to manager position. It's something I never aspired to before in my career but am very thankful for that experience and take it with me in to my business and career.
Have you seen this space change over the last few years, how so?
I'm happy to see how it's grown from a neighbourhood/community creative work space to a destination on the café and brunch scene in east London. Really proud of everyone who has put in a lot of hard work over the years to make it grow!
What were the biggest benefits working here?
The amazing coffee!! Still miss making coffee with the beautiful LaMarzocco machine (eyes watering)... Also the fun team that I worked with. All young and energetic with a passion for quality products and service. The community in the area is really great too. Made lots of connections with architects, the cool barbers on Hackney Road and other startup workers in the area. East London is so creative in that way and I miss it a lot.
Tell us a story about your time here.
Gosh, what to choose from? The dramatic ones, funny ones...? I could write a book about all the different characters who visited or worked there...I started after 4 months of it's opening and was part during the first 2,5 years, so I've got lots of stories. The BBQs are some of my favourite memories. Especially once a previous manager (say no names) could have burned down the entire building after putting in a coal bbq in the basement still hot after the party. Another good one was celebrating the official opening of The Common E2s second year and Australia Day at the Sun Tavern on Bethnal Green Road. Everyone in there was wasted and I cheekily borrowed a tequila bottle from the bar that the bartender forgot to put away after serving me and my friend... Everyone in our company started having shots and then you can imagine what happened thereafter hahaha I left early though as I was opening the shop the day after but enjoyed hearing what happened the rest of that night and seeing the hungover faces. Also spotting of a few celebrities regularly like Natasha Khan - Bat for Lashes or Brit Marling among others. It's like a hub for creatives basically!