Hackney jeweller to the stars says her MBE is ‘absolutely amazing’
When Rosie Wolfenden graduated from art school and started selling leather cuffs to earn money, she never imagined that within 12 years she would be presiding over a celebrity-favourite jewellery label worth millions.
The 35-year-old, of Stoke Newington, is one half of the cult jewellery label Tatty Devine, which she set up with close friend and business partner Harriet Devine and is worn by the likes of supermodel Claudia Schiffer, pop star Jessie J and business guru Mary Portas.
Both of the founders have been awarded MBEs for their services to the fashion industry in the New Year’s Honours.
“I was absolutely amazed,” said Ms Wolfenden. “I did not think it was real. It’s so nice to be recognised for all the hard work we have put in over the last 12 years.”
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On learning of the honour, she first called Harriet – who had also received an envelope stamped Her Majesty’s Service – and then rang her husband.
“He was so excited,” she said. “He was much more excited than I was! Both our husbands have had to put up with us over the years. It’s 24/7. We talk about it all the time!”
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She’s not yet sure how they will celebrate the MBEs but may have a party in line with the new collection they launch in the next few months.
The success is particularly impressive given that their aim on graduating was to put off getting a traditional job.
“When we left art school we did not want to get proper jobs,” said Ms Wolfenden. “We had studied painting and wanted to do anything that stopped us from finding proper jobs.”
The pair started selling leather cuffs at Spitalfields and Portobello markets in July 1999.
By September, they were receiving commissions from department stores and Vogue wanted to see their collection.
The women, who have never had formal jewellery training, haven’t looked back since.
As well as having shops in Brick Lane and Covent Garden, they had a pop-up store in Selfridges in 2012 and have been invited back this year.
They will also be opening a store in New York and working on a project with make-up brand Illamasqua.
“Next year’s  going to be a really big year,” said Ms Wolfenden. “Even before we got the honours, it was going to be a really big year!”