Last month, Anice Jewellery owner Britt Hopkins was interviewed for, and featured on, CBC's The Goods. The new daytime television talk show, hosted by Stephen Sabados, features segments on culture, fashion, design, home decor, relationships/sexuality, and food.
Describe your current job/role.
Owner and head Jeweller of Anice Inc. (operating as Anice Jewellery)
Give us a little history on how you got there. (What were the steps? Did you take any risks?)
I was obsessed with jewellery from a young age and it was a hobby I just couldn't shake. I worked in a bead store in my teens, started learning different kinds of basic techniques and started selling in some local shops back in Edmonton, (where I am from). I then went to business school and majored in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I moved to Toronto in 2008 to go to school for Goldsmithing and Jewellery Arts at George Brown College.
While learning more advanced jewellery techniques and expanding on what I saw my own brand becoming, I sold in various shows and markets, and began honing into custom jewellery. 2 years after graduating the jewellery program, I had developed a customer base and was in need of a space to meet with them to design and consult on their custom pieces. In December 2011 I decided to make the leap to launch a shop of my own, and in June of 2012, the Anice jewel boutique opened in Kensington Market.
It was a big risk for sure to dive into my own business. I knew my concept was good and I had a huge passion for what I do, but just like anything: it was hard to know what will happen, if people would like it, and also just how much it would really take.
In the summer of 2015 I opened our second location, on Ossington. We grew really fast in the first 3 years and needed more space for our workshops, and office for back end work and an opportunity to focus on our higher end custom designs like engagement rings and wedding bands.
It's so hard to sum up the emotion of the last 5 years of business and the risk that has come with it, but it has been the most thrilling, joyous and terrifying experience and I can't wait to see what more is to come.
What ignited your interest in the industry you work in?
The love of finding old treasures with a story, the incredible variety of jewellery styles from ancient times to now, and the fact that jewellery can really be whatever you, the individual, want it to be. The industry is such a huge one and the fact that there will always be something new to learn and discover, ignited the passion for me to be part of it. It's so exciting to know that just when I think I've seen or learned it all, theres a new (old) style that I discover, or a new design never been done before is being developed.
What is your advice to other women to achieving career success and working a job they love.
Be true to you. Go after what you want, what you feel you are the best at and what really motivates you.
For me, owning my own business has been the greatest gift and greatest challenge I could have ever imagined in my life, so far. I feel it is very important to understand your window in which to make your mark, and then be willing to work as hard as it takes to get there. I also believe that if you love something and are willing to go above and beyond to see it through, success will follow that passion.
Describe your general style at the office (professional, casual, conservative, etc?)
My general style at the workplace is a blend of bohemian, "girly" and professional. I love flowy dresses and tops, big cozy knits, fun patterns and anything that offers a great canvas to showcase a whole lot of jewellery!
Do you have your own do and don'ts for office wear?
In my line of work, the balance of blending comfort with professional is very important. My work can be very physical and messy at times in the making process, but on the consultation and sales side we are dealing with clients who may be spending a fair amount and need to see we are serious about our quality and represent the brand professionally.
Do's at the workplace for me include having your own style, rocking the pieces that make you feel confident and fabulous, while being sure not fall into comfy or lazy mode. I believe that if my customers can see I take pride in myself, they will get the impression that I do the same with my work. It is worth it to make the effort! Generally, sweat pants, yoga wear or messy hair do not give off the greatest impression nor convince anyone that you are the one for the job!Continue reading
Wedding Date: Sept 21, 2016
Wedding Location: High Park... shhh... ;) It was a little guerilla style as we didnt have a permit and no one knew it was there but a select few. We bused in our guests and then left before we got caught. It was exciting.
Favourite wedding day moment: My favourite moment was listening and watching Anthony during his vows. We were pretty emotional that day which to be honest was a total surprise as I was worried we wouldn’t be considering I'm a wedding photographer and I see more than a few weddings a year. It was the happiest and most emotional day ever. Anthony told me his was, “when we were walking around our neighbourhood taking photos. We passed by a school near Argyle and Shaw and these elementary school kids started to cheer for us until we smooched and they screamed out ‘eeeeeeewww’ as they would especially considering they are still at an age of cooties.”
Why you chose your wedding band design: We wanted the bands to really represent us in all facets of us as a couple and individuals. Being a wedding photographer, it was important that my band wasn't like anyone else's and I seen sooo many. And I think we did just that. I'm so in love with the bands and play with them all the time.
Names: Gillian & Michael
Engagement Date: September 3rd, 2016
Engagement Story: I (Michael) had worked a 12 hour day and Gillian had also just finished photographing a beautiful wedding. I knew it would be a lovely evening for her to come home to so I ran to get some flowers and made sure all of the notes and little mail Gill had sent me over the last three years were framed. I lit every single candle we had in the house and waited for Gill to get home, sweating. Once I heard her come in I started to get shaky and so excited - I played our song on my phone. When Gill walked into the living room with that smile across her face I knew I had made the best decision on this moment. I asked her on one knee, she said YES! We sat in the candlelight and stared at the ring while she literally screamed to people walking by on the street "I just got engaged!" it was the most special night of my, and our life!
Why you chose your engagement ring design: This specific design is such a classic, I knew Gill wouldn't want an ice rink for a ring. Something much more simple and minimalist would make Gill so happy.
Why she likes the ring: Gillian loves the fact that the ring is vintage, but has been updated by Anice and me, her finacé! I know she loves yellow gold and the morganite stone is probably her favorite part. The gem is so soft, just like her! Britt helped me so much with creating this ring, and I couldn't be more thankful for her help and genuine excitement for us. We can't wait to get our bands from Anice!
Wedding Date: October 8, 2016
Wedding Location: Toronto Reference Library
Favourite wedding day moment: We wrote our own vows which made the ceremony very special and personable.
Why you chose your wedding band design: I knew immediately that I didn't want a "cookie cutter" wedding band. I've always wanted to be 'different' :) So I did my research and found Anice Jewellery in the city (and they're not even very far from where we live!). Our initial consultation really made us feel at ease with the whole process. The entire team at Anice were welcoming and always helpful. They worked with what we wanted and our budget. We couldn't be happier with the final product! It was unique; my bands look good on their own but also compliment my engagement ring when worn together.
Date: Sunday September 11, 2016
Location: We were married at East Room, a co-working space for artists. We wanted a place that felt like our home, if we lived in a really trendy NYC loft. It was an old sugar and/or pie factory (I get mixed information), so that's fun! We also opted for a daytime brunch. Apparently brunch weddings are becoming more trendy, but it was the first we had been to!
Favourite Wedding Day Moment: My favourite part of the wedding weekend was sharing my favourite things with my family and friends—from sharing my love for Troy to a phenomenal locally-sourced dinner the evening before with our family at Evergreen Brick Works' Café Belong. Chef Doug McNish who owns one of our favourite restaurants catered our healthy vegan brunch for us and everything looked absolutely stunning. Food was a big theme! Troy's favourite part was the "first look" reveal we did before the ceremony. He says he loved seeing my wedding look come together. Of course, we also both liked the intimate ceremony too, with 50 of our closest family and friends. It's too hard to pick one thing 'cause we tailored our wedding to be 100% of everything we like, with no extra frills or traditions just because.
Wedding Bands: As far as the bands are concerned, we both opted for something simple. We've been together for nearly 10 years, and our relationship isn't that flashy, and neither are we. I think the bands reflect the ease about our relationship. We're each others' best friends. The engagement ring was an opportunity to be a bit quirkier and showcase some organic stones, but we wanted the bands to have a more timeless feel.
Wedding Date: August 20, 2016
Wedding Location: Hotel Ocho, 195 Spadina Ave, Toronto
Favourite Wedding Day Moment: We decided to do a “first look” reveal before the ceremony because we wanted to share a private moment together before celebrating with our families and guests. This was our first time seeing each other all put together. Colin looked dashing as ever and his reaction of me was priceless!
Why You Chose Your Wedding Band Design: Colin and I wanted something traditional with a modern twist. My engagement ring is white gold with a traditional setting. I knew I wanted something to contrast, yet complement the engagement ring. We decided to go with 14k yellow gold bands for both our rings. Colin wanted a rustic gold look, while I went with a hammered design.
Wedding Date: July 31, 2016
Wedding Location: Ravine Vineyard, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Favourite Wedding Day Moment: Right after the ceremony, Mike and I went with our brother-in-law to take some photos. We were walking around exploring the vineyard and taking some pictures and it really hit us in that moment, just the two of us for the first time that day, that we were husband and wife. It was such a surreal moment and was an amazing chance to just take a look at each other in a rare quiet moment, and at the same time look over and see all of our friends and family there to celebrate with us.
Why you chose your wedding band design: Mike wanted something simple for his band, but since Britt and the Anice team knew his style so well she suggested doing a brushed metal. She showed us some samples and the worn-in look really appealed to him. The end result was a perfect mix of classic and rustic.
Engagement Ring: I really wanted to incorporate my late mom's engagement ring into my band. I came into the process with a very open mind and willing to take in the advice and suggestions of the Anice ladies. The end result, a simple hammered band melted down from the metal of my mom's ring, was a perfect way to accentuate the sparkle of my engagement ring and has the quirk and personality that I was looking for. We are so excited about the results!
Wedding Date: September 3, 2016
Wedding Location: Camlachie, Ontario
Favourite wedding day moment: Laying on the beach with all of our friends at midnight watching the stars and drinking rosé
Why you chose your wedding band design: We both wanted something simple and rustic. Jenna - "My engagement ring is very bold and unique so I wanted something delicate and different to piece together eclectically. The custom matte rose gold rope band was perfect." Jake - "I wanted something timeless, but unique. I love the matte texture and the rose gold inlay Britt suggested to link to Jenna's rings."