In celebration of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, we're featuring women who inspire us throughout March. Each of the women we interviewed is a founder of a small business that continues to thrive and inspire our team. We're proud to support them by shining a light on the brands they've created and continue to grow.
Raised by a family of passionate antique collectors, it was inevitable that Susan Caplan would have an eye for detail and quality when she also started professionally collecting. Vintage jewellery went on to become her focus, and in 2008 she founded Susan Caplan, curating hand-picked pieces from designers including Chanel, Givenchy and Dior to name a few. Treating each piece she sources with love to look brand new, Susan aims to challenge the perception of vintage jewellery as 'faded grandeur', just one of the reasons we admire her work and often choose to use her pieces when styling our own Lily and Lionel shoots.
Gemma Breger is her daughter, and one half of This Is Mothership, a fashion and beauty destination for busy Mums. Previously a celebrity stylist, Gemma has an eye for style and is often seen wearing her Mother's vintage pieces.
We spoke to the Mother-Daughter duo about their brands, style and relationship, not only in celebration of female-founded businesses paving the way, but also Mother's Day.
How did you start on your career path and how did Susan Caplan come to be?
As a teenager my hobby was collecting anything old so the natural progression was to start buying to sell. I sold antiques, porcelain, objets d`art and jewellery. After about 15 years I saw a gap in the market for good quality vintage jewellery in great condition, and the rest is history...
What's the biggest obstacle you had to overcome when starting out?
Juggling work with family was tough but my girls came with me to most of my antiques fairs which was fun (they didn't think so at the time mind you!)
How do you both support each other in what you do?
Gemma: I don't wear the jewellery to support the brand, I wear it because I love it (I'm just lucky enough that I don't have to pay for it!) But I'll tag it anytime I wear on Instagram to support my Mum's brand.
Vintage jewellery can be so nostalgic - are there any sentimental memories you both have with vintage treasures?
I love seeing my daughters wearing pieces I bought years ago. They also have some very sentimental pieces from my parents and grandparents. And for me personally, there's never a moment I'm without the silver Danish bracelet I have had since my 21st.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find it in everything - from travel, to my kids, to when I go for walks on Hampstead Heath.
What is your biggest passion in life?
Getting big cuddles from my grandchildren.
When you’re not working, what can we find you doing?
Tucking into a good Netflix film, particularly now as not much else to do!
Where are your favourite places to eat, see, and explore?
Nopi, Soho is a favourite. I love Middle Eastern Food and restaurants with good loos (they won the unofficial prize for best London loos!) I'm always paying a visit to the V&A and my favourite country to explore is Botswana. I had the most wonderful trip there recently and can't wait to go back.
Tell us one woman who inspires you and why?
Princess Diana - her love for everyone and everyone's love for her, a figure head for so many charities around the world. She had genuine compassion she felt for so many of the disadvantaged.
What's the best piece of motherly advice you've given and received?
Gemma: Mum always taught us to do the right thing, and when making a big decision I always hear her in my head saying 'just do the right thing'.
What are your 3 favourite pieces from Lily and Lionel SS20?
IGemma: too many to choose from! The Wild Cat Necktie, Rae Dress Navy Blossom and the shape of the Ford skirts are beautiful and so well cut.