Who is Cornwall: El Camino
We sat down and had a chat with Candace Kellough, one of the founders of jewellery brand El Camino. She shares the travel concept behind the bracelets, her favourite spots in Cornwall and her fondest memories from living in the Duchy.
Great to chat to you Candace! Tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m Candace Kellough, one of the founders of El Camino Bracelets. I’m originally from Bolton in Caledon, Ontario but I now live Cornwall. I set up El Camino at the end of 2013 with my friend and now business partner Tom Lane. Tom grew up in a cute little village called Lower Brailes which is just outside of Banbury. When we first launched El Camino, we were based at Tom’s parent’s house in Oxfordshire. The business operated from a spare room above the garage. It was surrounded by trees and had steps leading up to it at the back. We called it our treehouse.
In the early days of El Camino we covered all aspects of the business ourselves, and this included the majority of the production. We both made the bracelets for the first 10 months but we soon realised that we needed help. Hand weaving the bracelets is a time-consuming process and so once El Camino started taking off, there just wasn’t enough hours in the day for us to be making the bracelets and running the business. It was such a relief to find our first helper and we are pleased to say that she is still with us today.
In 2015, we both decided that it was time to make the move from Oxfordshire and agreed that Cornwall would be the perfect place to set up base. We both missed the beach and wanted to spend any free time we had by the sea. Initially we were in Padstow but now we are both in Newquay.
El Camino is a unique travel bracelet concept that captures travel experiences and reminds the wearer of special moments they have encountered across the globe.
An El Camino Bracelet can be purchased online via our website and we ship orders across the globe. It’s amazing to see the variety of people that purchase our products.
Where do you get your inspiration for the jewellery?
The inspiration for El Camino came from travelling and the different characters we would meet along the way. We both love going on adventures, meeting new people and hearing their unique stories. Bracelets are very common in the traveller community. They have a special meaning and enable people to bring back memories from around the world. I’ve been making bracelets since I was a kid. I used to love learning how to incorporate new knots into my designs and developing different items of jewellery that I could give to my family and friends. As I began to travel more in my late teens, the love for making bracelets was reignited once again. I started making them for travellers that would pass through the hostel I worked at in Barcelona. I spent two years there so I picked up many new bracelet making skills.
I met Tom in Meribel during my ski season. We both spent lots of time skiing/snowboarding together and our friendship developed from there. On leaving the mountains, we decided to hike around Europe. One day we were trying to remember all the different places we travelled to and from that conversation we came up with the idea of El Camino. We wanted to create a bracelet that would remind us of the wonderful travel memories we had both created around the world. We also wanted something that would be robust, and that we could take with us everywhere. My bracelet making skills quickly came into play. I knew exactly how we could develop a product that would last.
Since launching El Camino, we have both continued to brainstorm ideas and create new products. We have two really exciting new product categories launching this Autumn which we cannot wait to share with customers both old and new.
Where did the idea of El Camino originate from?
We came up with the El Camino concept when hiking the beautiful coastal route between Barcelona and Monaco. We were sitting outside our tent one night struggling to remember which countries we had previously travelled to and decided we would do something about it. We wanted to create something that would help document people’s travels and we knew that bracelets were a popular purchase for travellers so it made sense to create a product around this trend. We sketched a few rough ideas of how we imagined the bracelets to look but nothing too detailed. We had a little journal that we would write in before going to sleep. We jotted down ideas and hand drew some mock ups of a bracelet that could represent travel memories from around the world. We decided to cut our travels short and use the money we had left to fund the start-up of El Camino.
What are your thoughts about Cornwall?
Cornwall is an amazing place with lots to see and do. We both believe in taking time out to fully appreciate the surroundings. It certainly helps us to work harder and be more productive. What I love the most about living and working in Cornwall is that I get to surf with my friends, explore beautiful beaches and eat fresh seafood regularly.
Do you have your own special memories there?
Padstow will always be a special place for me. It was my first real taste of living in Cornwall. Tom and I loved working on our laptops overlooking the estuary, watching the boats come and go. We would also spend hours walking the coastal path and exploring the surrounding fields.
Where are your favourite places in Cornwall?
Fistral Beach, Newquay.
Fistral Beach is approximately a one minute walk from my apartment so I always take full advantage of that fact. I try to get in for a surf as often as possible, and I particularly love strolling along the beach at sunset. It’s also the perfect place to have a BBQ with friends and watch the sun go down.
Kynance Cove is simply stunning. It’s a fantastic place to hang out and have a picnic with friends. The white sandy beach and turquoise water make it the perfect location for a day at the beach. The rock islands and caves are fun for exploring too.
This has got to be one of my favourite beaches. The walk to get there is beautiful, and it is also a great spot for foraging. If you want peace and quiet, it’s a great place to escape.
The River Gannel, Newquay
I spend a considerable amount of time exploring The River Gannel in Newquay. It’s the perfect place to paddleboard or swim at high tide, and I also enjoying taking a walk there at low tide.
I love to go to the Watergate Bay Hotel with Tom my business partner. We will often have our business meetings there. There is nothing better than discussing the future of El Camino whilst watching the waves.