Sophie Kowalyk

splint: thank you for meeting me this evening and a big thank you to Franks for providing us with some delicious food whilst we chat… tell us a little bit about yourself, how did Moon and Moss jewellery begin?

Sophie: well about a year ago I was bored and feeling severely uncreative. I used to make jewellery when I was younger so I decided to start it up again and I didn’t really think about what I was creating, I kind of just did it and decided to sell it? When I was at school, someone I knew used to make jewellery and I kind of became jealous of her talents and thought it was cool so I decided to just make some as well…(she’s now an amazing fine jeweller in London about to open up her own shop!), I then started selling it in a shoe shop in my hometown and then I guess it kind of took off from there?  

I really like to read but I am quite useless at it – one of my favourite books is Lolita, I find it really difficult to get into stories but this one kind of got to me. I also recently read this geographical piece, which was really cool. I love National Geographic magazine and always buy them up if I see them in a charity shop.

If I was a vegetable, I would be a sugar snap pea.

splint: ah that’s great, what’s the kind of inspiration behind your jewelry, do you think it’s like your main focus now?

Sophie: I find it really hard to keep up with all the trends that are around and for a while that was a struggle with my jewellery, to make it current but also feel like me?! I’ve always loved antique and historical jewellery, the stories behind the pieces – the things they have seen, the people they have been on and their energy! So for now I am focusing on creating one off pieces, using vintage pieces I pick up and mixing them with semi precious gems and modern parts. I have my own favourite antique pieces of jewellery I wear and I want people to be able to have the same connection with my moon + moss pieces.

splint: ah lush, so why did you move to the lovely Norwich when you did?

Sophie: I moved to Norwich as I studied at NUA, or NUCA as it was back then… It was really cool, we had an SU bar, which is great because they definitely don’t have that now which is a shame. Norwich is really close to my home town and I wanted to be close to my family and didn’t really want to move far away. I’m definitely a home girl. I really love my Dad – my Dad is my hero. You know when you’re younger and you think your Dad can do anything? I still feel like that now, he’s a really wonderful person.  He’s always got my back and is my creative inspiration, he’s always got different projects on the go and I think that’s where I get my different talents from, my Mum is the same. I have been living in Norwich now for around 7 years, I love it. There’s lots of opportunities to collaborate with other creatives and have your own space to be a solo creative – I’m recently single so I’m looking forward to using my free time to push myself further and practice some self love and with my projects and put some energy back into myself.

splint: am I right in thinking you opened up a coffee shop?! How did that go for you and what made you decide to do that?

Sophie: well again, that’s something that kind of just came about and I didn’t do too much thinking about it! I’ve worked in catering since I was 14 so I’ve always loved cooking and food culture. When I want to give something a go I don’t think twice about trying it, it’s after I’ve done it that I wonder what the hell i’m doing!? I loved having my pop up coffee shop, I made friends for life from it and learned SO much, every mistake you can make and more. It’s really a lot of pressure running your own business and especially as a woman – there’s always someone who will question you or belittle you, but at the end of the day you’re giving it a try and that’s the main thing!

splint: tell us a little about your career at Figbar, how long have you been there? What’s your favourite dessert on the menu?!

Sophie: I’ve been here for just over a year and it feels like I was always here! My bosses are now like my family and Steph is a true girl boss. She’s an inspiration! My other boss Jaime is possibly the most annoying person I know, but also wise and a massive creative inspiration. He can make something out of nothing and I’ve learned so much from him! As my role as General Manager I do everything and anything but my favourite thing to do it plating up desserts. I’m really loving plating up our new dessert Snowball – coconut marshmallow, kaffir lime panna cotta, coconut cake, lime cremeux, roasted coconut and calamansi sorbet. It’s so fresh and delicious!

splint: going back to your jewellery, I noticed that you just did a shoot for some upcoming pieces – do you enjoy getting involved in the styling aspects of things?!

Sophie: yes definitely, I really love putting together outfits and styling sets. I’ve got a few projects coming up, one with a lifestyle company and then a lighting company which I’m really excited about. I basically love doing anything with my hands and thing that can quickly come together and are instantly made. I used to love doing visual merchandising for the shoe shop – making props and colour schemes is my jam!

splint: we can see that you’re now represented by Crumb – what do you want from Crumb? It’s a really exciting agency to be a part of…

Sophie: I’ve already met some awesome people through Crumb so I’m looking forward to carrying on in terms of that aspect, I can be really shy so it’s a great way to push myself out of my comfort zone and force myself into different situations.

splint: what would you do differently? Would you do anything differently?

Sophie: this is bloody tough question! I would, hmm, I would. I dunno. This is tough!! Maybe I would be a braver person, in lots of different ways!

splint: what would you personally like from splint?

Sophie: I really would like to do some collaborations with some of the amazing splint members and I’d like to learn from other women and discuss ideas and see our ideas come into fruition.

splint: where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Sophie: I’d like to be happier with myself – I set myself a new years resolution to be kinder to myself ha. I think as you get older you start to care less about what everyone thinks… I think in 5 years time I would have finally done some travelling just because I don’t want to get old and think I haven’t done anything you know? I want to be connected to nature and its energy. I will also be more focused, I think I’d like to figure out what I actually want to do as a career? So I think maybe wanting to be more focused is a great thing… I would love to know exactly what I wanted to do rather than to have a tonne of options and no idea what to choose you know?!

splint: do you think being a woman in the creative industry is important for the modern day feminist movement?

Sophie: being a creative comes with the freedom to express your views, desires and taboos within your work and being a woman only heightens these powers. You can use the oppressive nature of your gender to flip this and be bolder, louder and seen. To form strong bonds with other creative women and groups. I feel that it is more natural now for women’s work to be pushed upfront instead of being held back – obviously theres still bits in the dark but it is exciting to see what us women are achieving and succeeding in.

splint: thanks Soph, love ya.

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