Sample sale coming up !

Last year when I closed the shop, I organized a huge sale on my jewelry from past collections. It was supposed to last 3 days but we sold out in one day. It was such a great success I thought I should repeat the experience again. And there it is : May 1st-2nd, run to my pop-up shop at 122 Bernard O. (Montreal) for big savings, big time !

L’an dernier, quand j’ai fermé ma boutique, j’ai organisé une grande vente de bijoux de collections antérieures. La vente devait durer trois jours mais à ma grande surprise, nous avons tout vendu en une journée. J’ai tellement aimé l’expérience que je me suis promis de la renouveler. Et le moment est enfin arrivé ! Les 1er-2 mai, venez nous voir à mon ancienne boutique pour profiter de généreux rabais sur beaucoup de bijoux !

jewelry sample sale montreal

 

This little world of mine

When I was a child, a teenager and even a young adult, I was very concerned with getting people’s approval. I spent a lot of time trying to please people. I didn’t have much self confidence and worried people didn’t like me. I was a very anxious kid that often felt unworthy and “not enough”. I could barely spend time on my own : being alone felt painful and scary.

As a young adult, with time (and a lot of therapy) I gradually learned to know and love my true self. I learned to make the difference between what I wanted to do and what I was doing to get people to like me. And on that path, what really helped me heal my wounds and grow a sense of self is jewelry.

atelier de bijoux montréal

Sitting for long hours in my studio, making necklaces, playing with beads and fabrics slowly taught me to spend time on my own. It became fun. It felt good. I didn’t need to be with people all the time anymore. I wasn’t running away from solitude anymore : I was enjoying it. In fact, I often think that I still spend a lot of time alone because I have to make up for all the years I spent running away from myself.

jewelry studio montreal

Jewelry showed me intimacy. My studio became this little world of mine, this secret intimate universe where everything was possible. I learned that the journey was more important than the destination as I embraced the long hours it could take me to make a necklace.

Making jewelry taught me hard work and to take pride in what I do. I had never been fully dedicated to anything before. I began to look for inspiration everywhere around me. I would hunt beautiful color combinations and interesting material textures. I spent entire evenings embroidering beads and crystals to fabric to build a necklace, with  “Project Runway” playing on my computer, its young designers giving me a sense of community.

JEWELRY DESIGNER WORKING WITH FABRIC

My first big fabric necklaces were kept secret for a while. I loved them so much : not only because of what they looked like but mostly because of the deep joy I felt when I was making them. For a while, they all hung on a coat rack in my studio, hidden under a big sheet. At first, I didn’t want to show them to anyone, not even my flatmate who was a close friend.

collier jaune montreal

I had finally learned to respect myself, my process, my need for intimacy and secrets. I had found my voice, my passion and what would become my work. For the first time in my life I was dedicated to doing something that came from inside and not from an outside pressure or a desire to please.

And that is how making jewelry became a huge part of my life…

giacometti-quote-about-art

Wedding inspiration : beautiful wedding dresses

When I was shopping for my wedding dress, I realized how heavy and uncomfortable a wedding gown can be : staring at myself in the mirror, I looked like a princess but felt like a prisoner. I thought : how can I have fun at my wedding if I am wearing this tight fitting heavy thing ? And with my wedding being in august, I could also picture myself sweating like crazy in those dresses.

So I decided to look for a lighter, simpler dress. I ended up picking a dress from Grace loves lace, an Australian brand that sells exclusively online. All I had to make my decision were a fabric swatch and pictures and testimonials from brides wearing the dress. Having a pretty standard shape, I am confident that the fit will be perfect. And I was happy to order a dress made by a small company with local workers.

For obvious reasons, I won’t be showing you my dress until after my wedding but here are some of my favorite inspirations from my weddding dresses Pinterest board :

Bohemian long sleeve lace wedding dress from grace loves lace

Grace loves lace dress

simple white wedding gown with open front

unknown source

white maxi dress with crocheted detail boho bride

Life with Emily blog

lace top by wedding dress brand laure de sagazan

Laure de Sagazan

simple wedding dress for a summer wedding by j.mendel

J.Mendel dress, photo by Xavier Navarro

lihi hod wedding dress with lace

Lihi Hod wedding dress

grace loves lace avril dress, skirt and top for bride

Grace loves lace Avril dress

truvelle wedding dress with black belt

Truvelle wedding dress

robe de mariée laure de sagazan

Laure de Sagazan wedding dress

I could go on and on with more pictures because there are so many dresses out there that I absolutely love. You can see more of my wedding inspirations on my Pinterest.

And if you are in the process of shopping for your wedding dress, here is my advice. List the things you want to find in your dress and stick to it. Don’t settle for something that looks great but that is totally not you. You will be getting a lot of different opinions from different people and that can make you lose sight of what you like and need : comfort ? style ? sleeves ? no sleeves ? light ? princess style ? simple ? over the top ? long ? short ? Most importantly, trust yourself, be patient and keep it fun !

How about you, any advice you would like to share ? xox

Bling it for the ball

vintage earrings with crystals montreal

Jessica reached out to me some time ago because she had to pick accessories for a Ball she was going to, in France (lucky her). She had chosen the beautiful Flora, a pair of one-of-a-kind vintage earrings and asked me if I could customize the Panaji bracelet and add more elegance to it.

I suggested to add a row of crystals to the bracelet. I was very happy with the result : the crystals make a beautiful addition to the bracelet. Here is the before and after of the Panaji bracelet :

blue freshwater pearls bracelet

It was just the right amount of bling to make the bracelet more elegant. Aside from the crystals, the Panaji bracelet is made of dark blue freshwater pearls, rhinestones, raw african metal beads, agate and glass. I like its combination of different shades of blue and textures.

crystal and blue bracelet

I am always happy to customize my jewelry to make it fit your needs : get in touch if you have a project in mind so we can start brainstorming about it xx

How I learned to let my clients inspire my work

Years ago, before I began to make custom-made jewelry for clients, I thought it would be a very uncomfortable and boring thing to do. The idea of having to deal with someone else’s desires and ideas when I make jewelry horrified be : I would perceive it as pressure and dominance. I was very attached to the freedom I experienced in my studio.

My memory is not always reliable but I think the first client who ordered a custom design from me was Carrie. She had this gorgeous family quilt she wanted me to use, as well as some old Scottish medals. I could not say no to such an exciting challenge. And that is exactly what changed my perception of making custom-made jewelry : the challenge and the surprising excitement I felt for it.

What I thought would be uncomfortable pressure actually turned out to be inspiring and exciting constraint. I would have never thought of using a Scottish quilt for a necklace : but Carrie took me there. My work inspired her that idea. And her idea inspired my work. And that’s how I learned that the clients who come to me for a custom design stimulate my creativity and sometimes take me out of my comfort zone. Ever since, every time I get an email or a phone call for a custom design, I get very excited (and a little nervous because let’s face it, a challenge is always a little stressful).

scottish inspired necklace with quilt fabric and war medals

I recently told you about Cateline and the Bagala necklace I made for her. Well in addition to the bagala necklace, she also asked me to design her a necklace inspired by the Kali but with pink, earthy tones, yellow and some neon. She liked the Cesaria necklace for its neon details and the Kali for its shape. She wanted something summery she could wear everyday so I began with showing her different stones, crystals, chains and beads I could use for her necklace.

When brainstorming with a client, I like to throw a selection of different materials on the table and get a feel of how the necklace would look. This is the palette we both liked :

pink freshwater pearls and neon beads

And this is the necklace I made :

peach and yellow statement necklace with gold chains

Sending a picture of my design to a client always makes me feel vulnerable and a little insecure so when Cateline told me she loved it, I was very happy.  I think I might design a necklace inspired by this one for my collection. I love its fresh colors and all the little details in there. Thank you Cateline for trusting me and allowing me to design this necklace for you :)

Have a great week-end xx

 

Say hello to my new website

I think I have been talking about my new website for years. Since Day 1 of my previous website, I knew that I would eventually replace it with a gorgeous e-commerce platform. It took way more time, work and patience then I thought it would but I am now the proud and happy owner of a professional website. shop costume jewelry online The design is the work of Akufen and I hired a freelance programmer who worked with an e-commerce platform to build the website. shop statement jewelry online What I like about the design of my website is that it’s all about the pictures and therefore, all about the products. shop statement necklaces online There is also a portfolio section called Archives where you will find a selection of my favorite pictures and jewelry designs from the past five years. This section is there to inspire you and give you ideas when you wish to order a custom made necklace or a bespoke wedding headpiece. shop beautiful wedding accessories online

Like I said, building a new website is a lot of work so I thought I would share some advice I wish I had before the project started :

Don’t rush into making the website : the Internet is full of useful information about making a great website. Spend time looking for inspiration, steal good ideas from websites you love, read about smart web design, online customer service and efficient checkout. Ask yourself what you like and dislike when you shop online and ask questions to people who went through the process of building a website. costume jewelry website

Keep it clean : small companies or independent designers can rarely afford to pay someone to design a sophisticated branding for their line. If it is your case, I suggest you keep things neat, clean and white. Black and white is always good. You don’t want your potential customers to be distracted by what is around the product they are looking at.

Don’t split the work : the more different people you have working on your website, the harder it is to coordinate everything. Even if everyone did great work, I think it would have been easier if all the work had been done by the agency I hired for the design. Or if the designer I hired was someone always working with the programmer I worked with.

Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved : products descriptions, information pages, return policy, shipping options, photos in the right size,… A lot of things will have to come from you. And all those things take a lot of time and require some research : read about good product descriptions, smart returning policies, how to take good pictures and anything that can be useful.

statement jewelry online with colorful necklaces

It doesn’t have to be perfect to go online : Of course it is better if you have an absolutely perfect website to launch. But if you are a one-person-team working with limited resources (that’s me !), you can keep some tasks for after the launch. As long as your checkout is good, your products pages look great and the website works perfectly, it is okay if it still needs some fine tuning. For example, I chose to launch my website even if I am not done with writing great product descriptions. In the meantime, my less inspiring but still useful descriptions will do just fine.

Make sure once the website is done, you can update it yourself : you don’t want to have to pay someone every time there is a picture to upload or a comma to remove. There are a lot of very good affordable e-commerce platforms you can use such as Lemonstand or Shopify. They are easy to work with and very reliable.

Most importantly, make sure you love your website and believe in it. The more advice you seek, the more you will get and the more confusing it can become. So remember : focus on what you believe in and what you can make time for. At the end of the day, it is your website and you are the one who will use it to promote and sell your work. So trust yourself and keep moving.

How about you ? Any advice you wish to share ?

I am getting married !

Last week-end, my boyfriend officially asked me to marry him. I say officially because we had already decided we wanted to get married last december. But we thought it would be nice if he proposed to me anyway. He did it while we were having coffee in the coffee place where we met. Well we didn’t exactly meet there but that’s where we got to know each other.

We actually went to the same schools when we were 10-12 years old and in Cégep (17-18 years old). We had only talked to each other once or twice at the time. So when I walked in the café “Deux Marie” on Saint-Denis to grab a coffee to go on November 18, 2008, and we saw each other, we immediately recognized one another and started talking. Four days later, we kissed. And we have been together ever since.

We are getting married next august and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that I get to marry my favorite person on this planet and live with him for the rest of my life.

The ring he got me is exactly what I had been dreaming of : delicate, light, gold with a tiny diamond. I didn’t want a diamond sticking out of the ring or anything too bulky (says the girl who makes statement jewelry). Here it is :

ginette ny engagement ring with diamond

I can’t wait to share with you all the wedding inspiration I have been gathering on my Pinterest : the best tool for any bride-to-be. The amount of ideas you can get from there is almost overwhelming.

Now let me get back to my favorite activity these days : staring at my left hand :)