TGF Staff Introductions: Jess

Name: Jess
Title: Customer Care & Logistics Manager
Time at The Great Frog: 10 years

Before I left the sunny shores of Durban and immigrated to London, I said out loud: “I just want to wear black clothes and silver jewellery, and work in sales….” (true story) I had never heard of The Great Frog, but once I found them, I walked in without a CV when they weren’t even hiring and said “I’m here now!”  That was 10 years ago. I walked in looking for a job, but since then I have gained a family. Sure the faces have changed over the years, but the inner message always remains the same:  “be good and be true to one another”

When I started in 2008, our company directer Reino had taken over the business from his father Paterson and had started implementing changes for about a year. Back then when you entered the store you were automatically submerged in another era, another feeling altogether compared to the buzz and brightness of Carnaby Street. The shop floor was small and intimate, with black walls and a black ceiling that enclosed you in this old rock ‘n roll, bohemian, albeit dusty boutique. The shelves were glowing in rows and rows of garnets, amethysts, moonstones, all systematically displayed together in endless varieties. Paterson played his records from the basement. His office was compact, dark and dimly lit. The walls were filled with an incomparable vinyl collection, and this was the beating heart of the shop.

This was before Great Frog had a social presence online, and our customers knew us either by word of mouth, or had simply stumbled upon us after venturing left onto Ganton Street. The shop was quiet, and I aimed to make each person feel like they were at home and at ease, because this was my home. This was my new family. 

But, something was missing, and soon Reino (aka “BossFace” as I call him) started to make all the difference.

We streamlined and focussed on a direction that has led us to where we are today. Our family has grown, we have planted roots in other locations, and Great Frog has become a name heard proudly by thousands of people just like me, looking for something and gaining much more. 

Over the years my role has changed as much as TGF has grown. I started on the shop floor, became shop manager, ran all the behind the scene errands, co-ordinated our shipping and began our online customer care. If you have shopped with us, chances are I have personally sold you jewellery, sung and danced with you in the shop, shipped out your beloved TGF treasure, or been your point of contact online or over the phone. I’m loud, you can’t miss me!

Well, that’s my introduction to how I started working at The Great Frog, but what drew me to this store and how I identify myself is my everlasting love of SKULLS! Call it curiosity, a morbid fascination, even an obsession! It seeps into all aspects from art and photography, tattoos, jewellery, even the love of my life just so happens to be a skull maker and has his own skull shoppe! I’ve been surrounded by death and orphaned from a young age, maybe that’s how it started for me? All I know is that my love of skulls has improved my life and I have found myself with a career, a home, a frog family and now love. Walking into Great Frog everyday, I am greeted not only by my family members and captivating customers, but also my well loved friends grinning at me from the glass cabinets. They have always inspired me, and are often seen in my images on my instagram account @thescreamingskull

So here are a few of my favourite rings – keep smiling and join the Hat Party with this crew!

It’s all about having a giggle and not taking it all so seriously. I can’t help but smile whenever I have these favourites on my fingers. The Desperado and Biker skull rings are more recent designs carved by Reino, and are a great addition to the gang. These guys are anatomically accurate with the scale of their teeth vs the size of their skulls. Ghost WarriorDeath From Above and Mike Rodent are old time favourites that have stood the test of time, and are as popular today as they were since the start of TGF. The scale of their teeth is slightly exaggerated, but the bigger the grin the better!

Next up is the Large Skull Cuff. I worked so much over time to afford this beauty but it was so worth the sacrifices made! This cuff has been around for so many years and is my most coveted Great Frog piece. I have seen this skull adorn the arms of big burly men and even the most delicately refined ladies, which just goes to show its not about the size of the skull, but how you rock it!

The Frame ring deserves a mention next. Perfect for tattooed fingers, or even as an abstract sort of design.  My finger tattoo was actually used as the model for the placement of this piece, so I’m not biased at all. A favourite customer of mine once had a miniature Mona Lisa tattooed on his finger and framed it with this ring!

And the best for last would be the Anatomical Skull rings! Modelled off of one of my favourite in house skulls. The accuracy and precision of these rings speak for themselves. The smooth gleaming surface and bulky thick design makes the large anatomical the king of skull rings. Also available in a medium size, and both sizes can be found in a jawless version. 

Behind each piece that The Great Frog sells, there is a whole team of us, from our head designer hunched over his work bench, carving with great care and thoroughness, to the many jewellers with tender blackened fingers personalising the fit of each ring. These are the people that make this company, this is my family, and I can’t wait for you to meet them all!