After a trip to India, Charlotte Howarth found the beauty of Rajasthan, the Land of Maharajas, intoxicating. It was here, in the Pink City of Jaipur that she forged friendships with skilled local artisans and gemstone experts, with whom she consciously created a collection of jewellery inspired by ancient Tibetan traditions and symbolic Hindu practices. Spinning precious metals with chakra gemstones to balance life energies, and celestial symbols to soothe the soul, Charlotte’s Web was born.
The Charlotte’s Web Brand
Tell us a little more about your background and the inspiration behind the brand
The brand itself was not planned, but it all started on a trip to India. I first made a solo trip at the age of 21.
Captivated by the vibrant colours, charmed by the gentle spirits of the local people, and empowered by a world of possibilities, I fell in love with the spirit of India, and when I returned to the country just a few years later, creating a spiritual jewellery and bohemian clothing line became a reality.
It was in a back room of a small Indian shop where, with my newly established team, we created a capsule collection of handmade silver jewellery and vibrant, colourful clothing inspired by Tibetan prayer wheels, India’s melting pot of colours, and my own sense of style and individuality. My background in fashion and my passion for travel and adventure is present in every piece.
I return to India every year to ethically source new semi-precious stones, discuss new designs with my team, and check every process to ensure each piece is consciously created and made with love.
What instigated your solo trip to India at 21, and how have you found navigating solo travel as a female?
My brother had been before and it sounded really amazing and fun, and he had met lots of cool and interesting people so it inspired me to want to go too. I have always found traveling as a solo female traveller, great, I have always felt very safe especially in India. I don’t see it any different from a man travelling solo. As long as you act with respect in the country you are in. Especially with what you wear especially in the more modest countries.
What draws you towards Tibetan and Hindu traditions in particular?
I consider myself a spiritual person and I have a daily spiritual practice. I follow some of the Hindu and Tibetan ways in my everyday routines – such as mantra singing, meditations and yoga. I find a lot of aspects of these religions very peaceful and calming.
Tell us a little more about your background in fashion
I never had any formal fashion training. I was always interested in fashion when I was younger and used to love to get dressed up… I always dressed quite differently from my school friends and liked to look a bit different. I liked to stand out.
I worked on and off in retail for Karen Millen (in its heyday) and I worked for Jigsaw when I lived in Sydney, Australia. I worked in a super cute boutique in Ibiza when I first came here, and that gave me the idea to start my own business.
What is life in Ibiza like and do you miss the UK?
Ibiza is great, I love it. The sun shines most of the time, I love the alternative vibe here, it is my spiritual home, I have lots of lovely likeminded friends. I find life calm and peaceful here, I like to go with the flow and this island is perfect for that. I don’t miss much about the UK – maybe just M &S food haha!
What are your some of your favourite products from the range right now, and what’s yet to come?
I Love our new Peace, Love and Freedom collection. I am currently wearing the charm bracelet. I have always loved our chakra necklaces, and now we have bracelets too. I am currently wearing our Root Chakra necklace. My tarot reader told me I needed to put more roots down! I am also really loving our new Pure Soul Spinning Ring, it has a beautiful combination of gemstones. There are so many gorgeous new products in our collection it is hard to choose.
How did you choose the materials for the pieces and what was the process of setting up the entire supply chain?
I literally went on the street and found companies to work with – I never attended any trade fairs. It was searching and word of mouth. I source stones and choose myself in Jaipur. I have always worked with sterling silver from the start, more recently we now also work with gold plating on sterling silver.
Where does the name Charlotte’s Web come from?
I was in Delhi and I needed to get some packaging printed and I needed a name and logo. I always liked the name Charlotte’s Web from the famous children’s book and it just felt like it fit. Charlotte and my Web of goodies. Back then I sold more than just jewellery – I sold clothing, bags, accessories etc.
What is your personal take on ‘alternative’ modalities for health and healing, including ayurveda and the chakra system?
I am a big fan of alternative therapies, especially when they can be used instead of pharmaceutical medicine. Ibiza is full of people doing lots of different type of healing work. I have recently been doing some quantum healing which works with the chakra system.
What is the overarching mission of the brand in 1 sentence?
Affordable, unique, good quality jewellery that not only looks good and gets noticed but also has added wellbeing and spiritual benefits too – especially our signature spinning rings that help with anxiety.
The Business Of Fashion
How was the business fundraising process for you?
I have never done any fundraising, I started the business with £1000 about 17 years ago and built the business organically from that.
What unforeseen challenges and opportunities have arisen?
I think staffing is one of the biggest challenges in a business. Finding a good team who stay with you for a while.
When you first launched, what brought the most traction and momentum for you? And what hasn’t worked so well?
The biggest traction has been our spinning rings, we’re very successful with these, especially on the notonthehighstreet shopping platform. Clothing worked for some years and online but that was the early days of online shopping – before lots of the cheaper, bigger companies took over.
What’s the smallest change that’s given the biggest return?
Giving a warranty on our products.
Do any customers use or benefit from the products in ways you didn’t expect?
Lots of customers like the personalised jewellery as it reminds them of loved ones, they sometimes choose stones in memorial of someone.
What motivates you?
When the products that I have poured my heart and soul into sell well and resonate with customers.
What has been your biggest lesson, fear, or failure?
In terms of failure – I am pretty fearless and am happy to take risks
Do you have a mentor or people you ask for advice?
I don’t have a mentor for my business, no. I do talk to other friends who run their own businesses too though. Aways good to swing things past them!
If you did not have your own company, what would you be doing?
Haha, I have had my own business for so long! I can’t imagine working for someone else. Maybe I’d be a dive instructor in some exotic location..?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I am very determined, confident, resilient… I can be impulsive, and I am not a big planner!
How has what you do changed you as a person?
It hasn’t really changed me, but it has made me who I am. I can’t list all of the things I have learnt through my business and working with India… it would take me too long. It has made me very resilient and very determined. Working with partners based in India is a challenge in and of itself.
What is your opinion on plant medicines (cannabis, ayahuasca, psilocybin) as tools for living in alignment?
I am absolutely in favour of most alternative medicines especially plant medicines – cannabis being one of the most amazing plants there is, with a multitude of uses and healing abilities. It is underplayed due to the sway of governments and lobbying pharmaceutical companies.
Ayahuasca – I have not personally taken it, and I think it depends on how it is used, but I know for some people it has had major benefits and for others it has been more complicated. Psilocybin again I know has lot of healing abilities for many too. I am generally a fan of using hallucinogenics for healing purposes.
What does spirituality mean to you?
Seeing magic daily. Finding reasons and meaning in everything – both the good and bad, a set of beliefs that I follow daily. Healing, even if you don’t think you need to be healed. Being connected to something greater than oneself.
If time and money were no object – what would be on your to do and to see list?
I’d like to drive my camper van on a mega trip down to Morocco. I’d also like to go on safari in Africa!