It’s said you should never meet the person you admire most in the world – that when you see their true reflection all you will experience is the disappointment of learning that someone can’t really be made from the moon and stars.
Although I have never been lucky enough to meet the woman who I’m writing about today, I can admit that without even mentioning her name I’m made nervous. Meeting someone I can handle, but to try to sum up the totality of her? The reality of who she is and the magnitude of what she has created? That is scary. Her story is a self-made fairytale and having taken a deep dive into her website, reaching out to her customers and watching her presence on social media for years already, I feel like I know her. But for those of you who don’t, This is: Chupi.
Chupi was born and raised in Wicklow in a lonely little village called Hollywood. If you have never been lucky enough to experience Ireland for the truth of it’s heralded worth, growing up in its ‘Garden of Ireland’ translates seamlessly into her work. The ‘wild and free’ force of foraging within nature has sprouted from her very roots. It is who she is and more importantly – how she is. Being homeschooled meant not only did she spend all of her time in the countryside it also lent to what she describes as ‘a lack of respect for playing by the rules’ that I think is clear not only as a catalyst to her career but as a recurring theme throughout.
Chupi’s accomplishments didn’t start with her jewelry brand. She wrote a bestselling cookbook called ‘What to Eat’ in her teens and spent her twenties taking Topshop by storm. By just twenty-one she was the youngest designer to ever work for the international powerhouse fashion brand.
Six years later her desire to explore jewelry out weighed the draw of the fast paced fashion world and in 2013 the Chupi brand was born. With the business starting in her sitting room it is there that she waged war against the industry bureaucracy she had to fight to make her company what it is today. I’m sure if we sat down Chupi herself she will easily have amassed enough stories to see us through more than just the one bottle of rosé. Ultimately she overcame the obstacle that appeared in her path. Though I’m sure it was never easy, nothing worth treasuring ever is.
When I was researching for this piece I reached out on social media to find customer stories; I wanted to find the faces behind the pieces of jewelry. During this journey I was lucky enough to talk to Hazel whose story highlights the raw authenticity that can since be seen sown into every element of the Chupi business and brand. Having fallen in love with one of the ‘Sparkle in the Wild’ rings in store – years ago now, the time became right by pure coincidence for her and her then boyfriend to get engaged. This would be the ring. But it needed some adjustments. This was long before Chupi’s ‘engagement ring’ line existed. Before you could go to her website and read through brochures on how to find the perfect ring. But back then? They didn’t need a brochure. Everything they needed existed in who Chupi was.
Hazel ended up with the ring of her dreams. Years later she – like the company – had outgrown her original design and she decided to upgrade the band to solid gold. When I asked her about the experience she had; she spoke of the day she picked up her ‘new’ ring and described it as being as close to the feeling of getting engaged all over again as she would ever come. I asked – if she could reach out to Chupi now and put the summation of the experience into words what might she say. Her reply was simple. “There is little more precious to me than the bond I share with my husband and the rings she designed for us as a beautiful symbol of that.” That magic, that moment – you can’t put a price on it. You can’t learn it. You can’t find it in faceless, profit-focused corporations. That magic and that moment is exactly why Chupi has managed to re-envision and redefine the level of quality and service you should experience during these moments and now can; because of her.
But Chupi isn’t only about engagement rings. When you visit her website or visit her beautiful store located on the Top Floor, of Powerscourt Townhouse, you will find that the brand has something for everyone. If you follow the brand on social media – which I must note was one of the first footsteps into the company that most customers I talked to had taken – you get so much more. As someone who has worked in Brand Management and Design I can say that it’s very clear that someone under the ever-growing Chupi team has a very strong handle on their platforms. When asking customers what they would say to prospective customers searching for something ‘special’ in the vast and ever-growing jewelry world – 90% of them said ‘I would tell them to check out their social media’. The transparency and humanistic approach to including their customers in the brand is something that will always set them apart.
On their social media you can find everything from morning walks with Poppy and Rufus (the furry faces of Chupi) to hilarious interactions between Chupi and husband Brian as she tries to convince him to take photographs with her. Chupi’s love for her timeless gold glitter nails is clear throughout as is my personal favorite content thread – the insight into how her company runs. With Chupi as the managing director you can instantly spot a youthful and refreshing approach to how she has built her business. From learning about her staff yoga mornings to understanding the importance of the use of ethical gold and conflict free diamonds – as a consumer you really feel a sense of an open door policy. Accessibility isn’t only prefered but a given. It’s a new way of doing business and it’s working.
But don’t be fooled by the sparkling rings that most people identify the ever-growing brand with, brides to be aren’t the only people who can shop in Chupi. There are so many incandescent sparkly things to find and covet. From cufflinks, hair crowns and of course infamous pieces like ‘My Heart is Open’, her astrology ‘We Are All Made Of Stars’ star sign necklaces and ‘I can Fly’ swan feather ring.
I came across Laura during my search for customer testimonials and she spoke of being such a fan of Chupi jewellery that not only did she have a collection herself but had actually inspired a tradition in her girl group for every bride to be to get a piece from Chupi as an engagement gift. She spoke of how important the pieces had become to her, with her husband buying her a custom piece on birthday – a necklace that had engravings of her own initials and the initials of her parents. She spoke of how she cherished the thoughtful gift that had clearly been bought with so much love and sentiment. The piece became ever more treasured after the passing of her mother. She cherishes the memories of how her mom had originally reacted to seeing the piece and how emotional she had gotten seeing her wearing it.
Moments like this – authentic, real feelings like this – are living within these pieces of jewelry. It’s never ‘just’ a necklace. It’s a North Star piece from Megan’s parents symbolising the transitional period of her life; to be worn now as a daily reminder that she can always go ‘home’. It’s never ‘just’ a pair of earrings – it’s two sparkling memories symbolising how wholly happy and filled with love Kate and her husband were with on their wedding day. Chupi was quoted as saying “I want to make precious pieces that mark moments, sparkling pieces that are designed to be future heirlooms & become part of your story” and she has more than achieved that goal.
I could go on for hours. I could discuss how incredible the free worldwide delivery is (from New York To Tokyo they have customers in over 62 countries!), how invested in love stories their staff seem to be, the awards they have won (yes they are now INTERNATIONAL award winners!) and how they generously make you a 100 day return policy standard. I could bore you to death with how many times I’ve gushed over proposals on their instagrams, how wholeheartedly designed their website is. But I will leave you on this note instead;
Not many people are brave enough to follow their dreams. Fewer people are brave enough to show the world who they truly are. Even fewer manage both – spun with gold into an internationally adored business.
I truly believe that gold glitter flows through Chupi’s veins and I know that she has a heart that is embroidered with the moon and the stars. Without ever having met her I’d be willing to swear under oath that every single piece that she designs and produces is fuelled by love, filled with love, cherished and heart-filled. Adorned and adored. Looking through her website, searching through the clear cases in her store – of course your eyes are drawn to the sparkling diamonds; but past that – when you see the other pieces; you see who she is. You see what her dream was and you see the art, drive and passion that tied them together like the beautiful bow that sits proudly on top of her branded packaging.
Chupi spins magic into love we can wear sparkling on our skins to thread from person to person across the world.
Kellyhope is a twenty something year old woman taking on the world, currently residing in Ireland. Her interests include creative writing, brand management, graphic design, reading, travelling and listening to music. The way to her heart is through – donuts, Starbucks, Disney, a Burger, anything Kate Spade or home interior, a trip to IKEA and of course, the old fashioned way; through her her rib cage.
Kellyhope can normally be found; playing with her dogs, not replying to texts, denying her tan addiction, watching documentaries, emailing clients in ten different time zones, on the phone to her bff Sian, scrolling through Instagram or pretending she is as a star as she performs private concerts in her bedroom along with Spotify.