For our second Designer’s Corner, we sat down with Courtney Chilton, creative director and designer of the inspirational necklace pendants, which incorporates powerful language and meaning. Through our conversation, we found out about her path to enlightenment, and how that became the main inspiration for Speechlust!
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR BRAND, WHAT IS SPEECHLUST’S STORY AND MEANING? HOW DID SPEECHLUST START, AND HOW IS YOUR BRAND DIFFERENT?
Speechlust is a jewelry brand that uses unique words with powerful meanings to remind individuals of their core beliefs, aspirations and favorite memories. The idea behind the brand came from my passion for words that have the power to motivate and inspire. In my last semester of university I fell in love with the word Aristotle used to summarize his theories, “eudaimonia” (definition: to live well and do well). I even considered getting the word tattooed on my wrist but when I was travelling in Southeast Asia I stumbled upon a market where I had it engraved on a piece of jewelry instead. Later, when travelling through South America, I came across the word “fernweh” (a homesickness for distant places and the unexplored). So after I returned home I had another piece engraved and my friends were fascinated by the meanings behind them. After receiving several compliments, I realized that I was onto something and thus Speechlust was born.
YOUR INSPIRATION STORY IS QUITE FASCINATING, WE LOVE YOUR WORD IDEA ON JEWELRY, IT EXPRESSES A STORY OF THE WEARER. WE WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOU, THE DESIGNER. CAN YOU PERHAPS TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT YOURSELF? ALSO, WHICH SPEECHLUST JEWELRY IN YOUR LINEUP BEST EXPRESSES YOURSELF?
It’s always hard to answer questions about yourself. Like most people, I’m a mix of strengths and weaknesses. I love work. I love to travel. I love my friends and family. And I love helping others to overcome their challenges. Finding a way to balance all of this was tough for me. Somehow Speechlust has brought all of these areas together. I feel very grateful.
The word that led me to create the line was “Eudaimonia” (to live well and do well). However, right now I think the word “Meraki” (the result of putting your soul, passion and love into a project thereby leaving a piece of yourself in the work) is the most fitting having created and launched Speechlust this year.
WHAT THEMES DO YOU TRY TO EXPRESS IN YOUR MEN’S LINE? MEN AND WOMEN TYPICALLY HAVE DIFFERENT WANTS, SO WHAT TYPE OF MEN DO YOU THINK SUITS SPEECHLUST’S BRAND?
The themes in the men’s line are rugged and sometimes physical in nature, but still capture the essence of empowerment and motivation. I felt it was important to not only find words with masculine definitions, but also words that have a bolder look and sound. One of my favorite words is ”Strikhedonia” (the power of being able to say “to hell with it”). I truly love the lifestyle it embodies—the word captures a very easy and simple way of letting go of the things holding you back. I think Speechlust fits any type of man, or woman for that matter, because we all need a powerful reminder to keep us on track and wearing it around your neck makes it impossible to forget.
INTERESTING, I ACTUALLY REALLY LIKE THAT WORD, SO WITH ALL THESE DIFFERENT MEANINGS, WHICH PRODUCT ARE YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF, AND WHY?
The collection I am most proud of is our Empowerment Line which includes four words that touch on anxiety, social anxiety, procrastination and addiction. I created it after feeling that there were so many women I was close to who were struggling to find genuine happiness. I then found words that would act as a positive daily reminder for them to focus on during difficult moments.
SO WE’VE BEEN DYING TO ASK THIS QUESTION… THE SPEECHLUST LOGO HAS A ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEEL TO IT, WITH IT’S SIMPLE SHAPES AND EARTHLY TEXTURE. WHAT DOES YOUR LOGO SYMBOLIZE? AND HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE SPEECHLUST NAME?
The logo is one of my favourite aspects of the company. This sounds corny, but I stare at it all the time. Don’t laugh! It’s amazing how much work went into a relatively simple logo. The top triangle represents the power of transcending and the bottom triangle means to explore. When brought together to form the logo, they explain that an openness to exploring all areas in life is what leads us to transcend the limits we often put on ourselves. I knew instantly when I created it that it had to be on every piece.
The Speechlust brand name has a similar story. I sat in front of a whiteboard for weeks and drew a mind map of words that captured all the main themes of the brand. That led me to combining “Speech” and “lust” to symbolize the passionate desire to use words as powerful symbols.
IT IS AMAZING HOW EVERYTHING YOU DO IS SO WELL THOUGHT OUT. CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS FOR US?
I follow a relatively straightforward creative process. I visualize pieces that I would want to wear everyday in order to keep my word as a constant reminder. The part of the creative process people are always most interested in is the choosing of the words. For that I spend incredible amounts of time surfing through Pinterest, Tumblr and online dictionaries trying to spot words that I think strongly correlate to areas people want to focus on—travel, relationships, positivity and anything else that can bring fulfillment to their lives.
DO YOU HAVE A PARTNER WORKING WITH YOU ON THIS IDEA? IF NOT, IT’S VERY IMPRESSIVE YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF! WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES BEING A SOLO DESIGNER?
I am running the company all by myself. While that makes me very proud, I will admit that some days it overwhelms me and there have been a few tears! It is incredibly busy and challenging. Staying on top of everything from word selection to design to marketing to fulfillment to customer relationships is certainly not easy but I LOVE it. I have never worked so hard but I have never been so happy. I honestly can’t wait to get into the office in the morning. The best part of the job has been the consumer feedback—no matter how hard the work gets the response to the products keeps me motivated. Frankly, I didn’t have great organizational skills before I started Speechlust, but I’ve been forced to improve that in a hurry! Interestingly, I would never farm out the design work. These designs, from the words to the logo to even the choice of the chains are my passion. I think one of the reasons that the line is going over so well is that people can tell I truly want these pieces to make a difference. There’s an authenticity there that seems to be resonating with the site’s visitors.
WE LOVE THE IDEA OF USING DOG TAGS AS THE CANVAS FOR THESE WORDS, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT PUTTING THESE BEAUTIFUL WORDS ON ANYTHING ELSE?
Absolutely! Speechlust just launched in mid-August and so this is only the beginning for us. We hope to launch bracelets later this year and I am in the process of creating a new line of pendants. Consumers have loved the dog tags because of the power and strength that the shape holds, but the words are the true focus of the jewelry.
WOW, thank you for sharing so much with us about your brand, your inspiration, and yourself. We definitely have learned a lot, and have fallen in love with your accessories and personal identity. We hope that the readers felt the same way, and that you will continue on your path to success. Best of luck and hope to talk soon!
For anyone interested to learn more about Speechlust Jewelry, please visit the website below, and you can get 10% off all products using the code BRENMI10: