Each week SHE‘SAID’ features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Name and role:
Carmela Cerrone, Designer at Cerrone
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
My role with the Cerrone company is designing for the Carmela Cerrone Collection. I start with an idea and follow through with sketching and, if I’m happy with the sketch, I will start choosing the materials, beads and/or pearls and the colours I would like to work with.
How/when did you know this what you wanted to do as a career?
My passion started while managing (at that time) the city store, where I would be asked to remodel an ageing engagement ring or give fresh inspiration to a piece of jewellery that had been handed down. I realised then that it was a challenge I enjoyed and watching the expression of delight on the faces of my clients made it real, worthwhile and exciting.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I think this goes back to when I was a young girl. I would spend most Saturdays looking and buying end cuts of fabric of different textures and colours and making them up into garments for myself and today is no different. I’m inspired by the beautiful beaded lace and fabrics from overseas and the way colours are blended together. It could also be an amazing architectural design, a colourful garden ornament or anything with unusual shapes and colours.
Did you have a mentor? Who/what helped you to get your career off the ground?
I have admirations, especially women who have struggled with adversity and who have succeeded. Women who are not afraid to stand up for the rights of others who don’t have a voice. These women give me strength and courage. I also love Valentino for his design and colour and the structure and timeless garments. This I try to implement into my pieces.
What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started on your career path, and since then? How did you overcome these?
The stumbling blocks would have been working to build the Cerrone name to international heights and at the same time bringing up a young family. There was no time to focus solely on design – that was a luxury – but at the same time, I was content in retail and designing for others and also new pieces for the store. I really had to wait for my time and as the company grew we were able to employ more staff in the retail sector which allowed me to step out that role and focus on my own identity.
What are your goals for the future?
My Goal for the future is to keep my prêt a porter collection affordable and beautiful, something for every woman for the day wear and into the evening. My dream is to make more opulent pieces with diamonds, gold and semi-precious stones hand crafted in the Cerrone workshop.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
I would say to plant the seed, have a vision find your strengths and work on your weaknesses. It may take time but at the same time you are evolving and improving so when your time does arrive you will be confident and ready to go.