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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Maëla: Crafting Uniqueness Through Challenges, Versatility, and Ethical Elegance

We have the pleasure of diving into the captivating journey of a creative force who turned a challenging year into the birthplace of a dream. The founder of a unique jewellery label, our guest has navigated the complexities of starting a business during the pandemic, crafting pieces that not only reflect her passion for creativity but also convey a powerful message of individuality. Let's welcome her and unravel the story behind Maëla, the brand that stands as a testament to the celebration of uniqueness.

Maëla Jewellery

What inspired and motivated you to establish your own jewellery label during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite facing scepticism from those who doubted your capabilities, and how did the experience contribute to your sense of pride and creativity?

The idea of founding my own jewellery label was always floating around. It  was the appeal of working completely creatively and a good dose of pride  that led to me deciding to breathe life into the dream in the first year of  Corona. The fact that people around me told me that I wasn't capable of  starting a jewellery label "just like that" was a huge blow to my pride. I don't  like it when other people try to impose limits on me that I haven't even  defined for myself yet!  

And unlike most people around me, I didn't find living in isolation stressful  during these months, apart from a very serious personal loss in a very private  environment. I more than welcomed the distraction and the challenge that  came with it.  

I have always been creative and I think I was painting before I could speak or  even walk. I am convinced that people who work creatively and create something with  their own hands are always a step closer to happiness than people in other  professions.  

What inspired the creation of your first jewellery collection, "The Precious Souls Collection," and how did your passion for fashion and concern for practicality lead to the development of versatile pieces that seamlessly transition from fun and casual daytime wear to elegant and classic evening accessories?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an absolute fashion addict.  I change my clothes up to 3 times a day and my holiday luggage would be in  no way inferior to that of a large family.

Much to the chagrin of my husband, who doesn't know how to fit everything  in the car and has already been in need of an explanation at the airport. The luggage problem and my greatest passion in life - namely animals - gave  me the idea for my first collection: The Precious Souls Collection.  

As I often have to wear festive outfits both professionally and privately, I  wanted to create jewellery that is versatile. Jewellery that is fun, cheeky and  charming for everyday wear and can be transformed into an elegant, classic  accessory in the evening with a single click. That's exactly what my Precious Souls collection can do. Thanks to the  add-ons in the practical magnetic clasps, the cute porcelain animals can be  exchanged for a gemstone pendant or a pearl pendant in a second only. This  has the advantage for me and all my customers that they don't have to take  a huge jewellery box with them when they travel. Some of the necklaces in  the Mojo Man collection can also be changed using the add-ons.  

Maëla Jewellery

What were the major challenges you faced during the first year of establishing your jewellery label, particularly in terms of navigating the industry, sourcing materials, and adapting to a new field of expertise? How did your background in fashion knowledge help or differ when delving into the world of jewellery design, and what strategies did you employ to overcome the hurdles and build a successful brand?

The first year of setting up my label was really difficult, there were no trade  fairs and I didn't know anyone in the industry and at the beginning I had no  idea how difficult it would be to buy materials in this sector. Even today, 3  years later, I still have to shake my head at the fact that I had to literally beg  to be supplied with gemstones, veneers and chains by certain companies.  But it was also interesting, a challenge. 

I know a lot about fashion. I know fabrics, cuts, designers, collections.  Jewellery was something new. It excited me, but I really didn't have a plan at  all. I bought mountains of books and took every online course that money  could buy. A lot of effort, a lot of work and a lot of fun!  

And here I am today and you are writing about me.

How did the challenges of acquiring raw materials during the COVID-19 pandemic lead to the development of meaningful and personal connections with gemstone and pearl suppliers, particularly the gemstone trader from Pakistan and the pearl dealer from Hong Kong?

As I mentioned before, getting my raw materials during Corona was really  hard.  But as the months went by, new paths and doors opened up . Among other  things, I got to know a young gemstone trader from Pakistan, a loyal, honest  skin, whose knowledge I learned to appreciate more and more and also his  patience in sharing his knowledge with me.  

My pearl dealer, a young man from Hong Kong, has also really grown on me  over the years and our business relationships have developed into real  friendships. We exchange ideas about our home country, our culture, the  things that we love and that keep us busy. I think it's great to work like this. I  don't want impersonal purchasing through umpteen middlemen. I want to  see where my goods come from, how they are made and who was involved  in sourcing the materials.  

I've met some really nice people over the last 3 years and of course a few  scoundrels - but most of them were really nice and helpful!  

Maëla Jewellery

What is it about pearls that captivates you, and how does your appreciation for the intricate process of pearl cultivation influence your choices in sourcing these gems? Additionally, considering your preference for pearls over gemstones, how do you balance customer preferences for larger stones, and how does this reflect in the design of your jewellery pieces, particularly in ensuring the stones can be removed without any damage?

I think you can see from my jewellery that I have a great fondness for pearls.  Just between you and me - I like pearls better than gemstones. I am touched  by the idea that they are created in water by another living being. I like to see when Cultivators in French Polynesia treat their mussels with respect and  care , when removing the pearls, and I am shocked when I see that in other  farming areas, large, rough knives are used that would look good on a  butcher - and the mussels are then simply disposed of like rubbish. I don't  want to support something like that!  

I mainly buy gemstones because of my customers. Many of them like large  stones. If you look closely at my designs, you will also see that I set the  stones in such a way that they can be removed out of the pieces without  any blemishes - just in case the customer also wants the stone as an  investment.  

But my heart beats for large baroque pearls and South Sea beauties! There  is something delicate and enchanting about pearls, don't you think so? 

How does your unique design process unfold, from selecting the raw materials that and how do the colours / shapes of pearls and where do you find your inspiration for your jewellery pieces?

If you ask me what inspires my designs - most designers always say it's  nature that inspires them. I would really be lying if I said that about myself.  Don't get me wrong, I love nature and I really enjoy being outdoors, whether  it's by the sea or in the mountains or even in our meadows here - but my  design process doesn't usually start before I buy the raw materials. 

I buy raw materials that appeal to me and then start with the designs. And  usually the colours and shapes of the pearls and gems remind me of  something from my everyday life or of a person... and that's how the ideas  are born in my head.  

Or customers call or write to me and already have a certain idea. That's  actually what excites me the most. I like it when customers come and share  their dreams of a perfect Jewellery piece with me.  

I then usually create 3-5 designs for them and hope that one of them meets  their requirements and ideas. Sometimes I design something completely  different for them because I think there is something that suits them better,  that emphasises their type better. And then I'm delighted when they agree  with me.

Of course, these commissioned pieces never end up in my online shop  because they are one-offs and I guarantee this to the customer. Sometimes  it's a shame because they are missing from my portfolio, but of course I  understand if the customer wants to have them for themselves exclusively. 

How do you approach the creation of jewellery for men at Maëla, given that the selection for men is smaller, and what challenges or interesting experiences arise when crafting one-of-a-kind pieces for them?

At this point it should be mentioned that Maëla is not a women-only label! I  don't make jewellery for women only. The selection for men in my shop is  admittedly much smaller than that for women, but funnily enough men often  have more stubborn ideas when it comes to design. These pieces are almost  exclusively one-offs.