Bright Young Things: Kim Vanessa Kortlepel
She is not even 25 yet and Kim has already graduated in Law, completed a Master Degree in International Public Law and founded her own jewellery brand, KVK73. In a candid interview, this impressive young woman shared with us the memories of her childhood and the dreams for her future.
Q: When did you first show interest in design?
A: Whilst working at prestigious fine jewellers in London for almost 5 years, my interest in design grew on a daily basis. Ever since I was a little girl I was fascinated by the beauty of jewellery. I always admired fine jewellery and I myself was a great fan of fashion jewellery. Yet, I never expected to one day create my own designs.
Q: Who inspired you? Was your family supportive? Anybody in particular?
A: My mother has always been a great inspiration. With her eye for detail and colour combinations she supported the ability to create KVK73’s designs. We regularly sit down at opposite sides of a table, both of us designing a piece based on a vague idea and often we ended up drawing very similar designs. It is fantastic!
I have always been close to my parents and have been very fortunate to have a family who has always supported me and my decisions. My dad is the business mind and my mum is the artist. When I founded KVK73 in April 2016, my parents were the ones who gave me the final push to pursue this dream. Without them I would not have come this far.
Q: Tell me a bit about your childhood. What are your best memories?
A: I grew up in the mountains of Switzerland. My best childhood memories were created whilst studying at two international schools.
The majority of my childhood memories revolve around skiing. This brought me to qualify as a Kids Ski Instructor when I was 17. The schools gave me the opportunity to take part in many sports and outdoor activities; things I would probably not do today like mountain climbing or river rafting but every time I think back to my childhood, they are the memories that come back to me. My friends and I always had the best time. Until today, even being based in London, Switzerland is my home.
Q: Why study law? Do you plan to practice law?
A: From a very early age I knew that I would like to study Business and/or Law. So I conducted a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management – Law. This created a stepping stone into both worlds. I soon realized that International Public Law would be my field of interest so I completed a Master Degree in this area. After having completed an internship at Eurojust in The Hague and completing another Law Degree, I have now decided to embark on a path towards becoming a Barrister. For now I would like to take this route but KVK73 is my heart and my soul so it is very possible that I will not practice law.
Q: Do you have a business plan for KVK73?
A: Yes, of course, but the exact contents have to remain confidential for now (she smiles). Basically we need to understand what our clients want. Many of them own lots of fine jewellery and buy custom jewellery as a seasonal thing.
Q: Which do you think are your next 3 steps?
A: Our first step is to focus on marketing, particularly in the U.K. and in Germany. Secondly, we would like to expand our presence on Social Media. Our final step for the next few years is to gather ideas for new designs from around the world to inspire our clients and to fulfil their dreams.
Q: What inspires you at present? Do you have a muse? An idol?
A: I walk through the world with open eyes. I am inspired by nature, art, architecture, people, and of course, by different brands. I seek to inspire others and this is what gives me the motivation I need. The contrast between the world of law and the world of jewels is what gives some of our designs their strong lines and edges. I do not have a specific idol. However, I admire those who build something; who create something unique and powerful. Hard-working individuals who never give up even though things can be tough. My grandfather used to say: “Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley”.