An interview with Sarah from Geo Heaven.
LL: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your brand Sarah! What inspired you to set up Geo Heaven?
S: The world of Instagram really opened my eyes to the small business world. I watched a number of the people I follow start their own small businesses & it gave me the confidence to jump-in and start my own.
I came up with the idea for Geo Heaven on a long drive up the M1 early last year. I had wanted to set up a jewellery business for a long time but I just couldn’t think of an original idea. On this drive I was thinking about a large geometric sculpture I’d seen at the modern art gallery in Krakow and that’s when Geo Heaven popped into my head. I’d decided that I wanted to make 3D printed geometric jewellery and knew exactly what I wanted the first pieces to look like! Luckily my husband is a computer programmer so when I got home and shared the news with him he taught me how to use a CAD package. I spent the next few months sketching out ideas, getting prototypes made and getting the branding right.
LL: How did you come up with your brand name?
S: I knew that I wanted to make 3D printed geometric jewellery before I came up with the brand name. I wanted to have a name that represented the geometric designs rather than a name associated with me as a person. I brainstormed a whole host of ideas and decided on my top 2. I then asked friends and family for their opinions before settling on Geo Heaven.
LL: You have a really unique design process – can you tell us a bit about it?
S: Initially I sketch ideas in my bullet journal and I then convert these into 3D images using a CAD package on the computer. I use a company within the EU to print my products to ensure good standards and fair working conditions for the company’s employees.
All of my pieces are 3D printed in nylon using a selective laser sintering (SLS) process. In this process lasers are fired at a bed of nylon powder. Wherever the lasers hit, the powder fuses and hardens. The layers are built up a few microns at a time. When the printer has finished the pieces are gathered from the block of nylon powder. They are then blasted with air to remove the excess powder and polished in a vibrating tank of ceramic beads.
I outsource my printed items as the type of SLS printer that I use costs in the region of a quarter of million pounds! The type of 3D printer that is readily available to have at home is an extrusion type printer. I use the SLS method as it gives a much higher quality finish and intricate pieces are much more durable.
When I receive the pieces from the company I dye them by hand and lacquer them to give them a protective coating. They are finished with quality sterling silver chains and fastenings.
LL: Where do you work from?
S: I work from home in Leeds. Geo Heaven is my 6-11 as I work full time. I mainly work in my office and dining room. I work on the computer in my office and this room also acts as storage for all of the Geo heaven stock. I make up all of the jewellery, package items and take product shots in our dining room. It’s definitely a multi-purpose room! Our house isn’t big enough for a dedicated studio but we are planning on building a solid garage that will turn in to a studio space one day.
LL: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
S: I use a lot of mathematical shapes in my current collection. I’ve found inspiration for them in old geometry books. I have also been inspired by gem stones and different cuts used for diamonds. My husband and I went to the Natural History museum recently and I spent hours looking at all the different gems!
LL: What advice would you give to any designer-makers just starting out?
S: My biggest piece of advice is to take your brand seriously, Make sure that you understand your brand identity and vision because if you don’t then others won’t either.
Hang out with other creative people as much as possible. It does wonders for your creativity and really helps with motivation. It’s great to get inspired but also to realise that everyone else is in the same boat as you.
Social media is powerful, particularly for small indie businesses. Try and make your feed look cohesive but overall remember that someone’s feed is not a true reflection of their real life. People tend to only show their highlights so you are viewing everyone’s world through rose-tinted glasses! It’s all too easy to compare yourself to others but remember they probably aren’t sharing the bad bits!
LL: What is your studio playlist?!
S: I have really eclectic music taste. I like indie music, I love Rod Stewart as I grew up listening to him and I really enjoy old swing and soul music. I listen to a lot of Sam Cooke.
If I’m honest though I mainly listen to Podcasts when I’m working. I really enjoy the Blogtacular Podcasts and I’m currently working my way through Desert Island Discs.
LL: What is your favourite social media platform?
S: Instagram, without a shadow of a doubt! I am a very visual person so I love a whole feed of photos. I find it to be a very supportive community and I just love looking at a whole feed of pretty photos!
LL: Who are your favourite designer-makers?
S: This is a tough one as I like and admire so many! I’ll narrow it down to two: Nikki McWilliams – I love Nikki’s classic designs and enjoy that she shares so much of her design process. Jack Laverick – He makes the most beautiful geometric pots and I have quite a few around my home.
LL: What are your plans for the future of your brand?
S: I have another collection I’m planning at the moment. In this collection I’m trying to get the best out of 3D printing by printing items within others. I’ve taken a lot of influence from nature for this and I can’t wait to get some prototypes made!
LL: Thanks Sarah!