#IMAGELocal is our new series spotlighting Irish makers. Check out our interview with Clare Grennan and Laura Caffrey about NAMES, the jewellery brand they launched last year.
Tory Long is a 32-year-old jewellery designer based in Dublin whose delicate handcrafted pieces we’ve been sighing over since we spied them at a Crafts Council of Ireland press morning some months ago. Originally from Belfast, Long worked as an accessories buyer and visual merchandiser in Dublin after college, before setting up her eponymous label in recent years. When she’s not crafting silver and gold jewellery – we particularly love the dark fairytale vibe of her crescent moon pendants and her fishbone necklaces – she’s buzzing around Ranelagh and Grand Canal Dock.
You used to make earrings and jewellery as a young child, borrowing your dad’s pliers to make some pieces. Can you remember the first item you made that made you proud? Do any of these pieces still survive?
I did an evening course in Silversmithing when I was living in London after college, we were tasked to design and finish a piece, my first attempt ended up as a misshapen pendant, which my mum took a liking to, so I finished it into a necklace for her, which she still wears today. As a girl I always enjoyed turning nothing in something or trying to improvise with whatever resources I had at the time.
How has your aesthetic changed over the years?
As my own personal style has changed over the years so has my taste in jewellery. I was much more colourful and adventurous in my early twenties now I prefer simple structured shapes and a colour palette of black, white or grey.
Can you recall the first piece you sold professionally?
Of course, it was definitely an exciting moment to get notification of the first online sale from a non-family member, it all felt real from that point.
You worked at the coalface of the fashion industry in buying and merchandising for ten years and have a business degree from Trinity college. What was the biggest takeaway from both those experiences which you bring to Tory Long?
My experience has definitely been beneficial in setting up and running a business, it can be hard work and you need to be organised and disciplined to keep going. Working in buying and merchandising has given me the knowledge and understanding of how the retail industry works, best practice and how to be professional. It’s great to be able to combine all three.
Do you have a favourite quote that you call upon when you need to summon confidence/moxie/serenity?
Lately ‘nothing ventured nothing gained’ has been my mantra to keep calm and motivated.
If you could advise any woman with a side passion on turning a business idea into a functioning career, what would it be?
To give it a go, if it’s something that you love then it’s worth working hard for. My advice would be to take your time to do it right.