Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your brand Mona Jewelry in New York…
My major at university was initially oil painting. During my golden years as a student, I discovered my acuity to art and aesthetics. The things I enjoyed doing the most were artisanal and detail oriented.
I was eager to explore my full creative visions and started learning traditional jewelry making techniques in France. After I graduated, one of the top jewelry studios in Paris offered me an internship. Then I made the decision to study at GIA and obtain the certificate. After years of gaining knowledge and experience in jewelry design, I launched my brand Mona Jewelry in New York.
What’s been the biggest challenge in business you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult challenge for me, as well as for other entrepreneurs, is the pandemic. The industry has been faced with problems of production lines shutting down and orders being lost during transit. Many retail stores we’ve worked closely with were forced to shut down too.
Our team has lost excellent partners, but it also left us plenty of time to think. We took the challenge and brought our fine-jewelry sales to our customers online. We were lucky to have survived the Covid-19 crisis with the raise of new sales online. I am very grateful to the partners who stayed with me for pulling through this difficult period of time.
If you were to describe your business mantra in three words, what would they be?
Constancy… Hardwork… Luck…
Constancy, means the quality of having a resolute mind, purpose, or affection. In the early stages of a new brand, it will encounter various unexpected problems. Only if the goal is clearly pictured in the mind, it will last.
Hardworking, is a very important part. It sounds easy but it need lots of effort. Working with energy and commitment make us perfect.
Luck, hardworking people are always lucky while holding on to the opportunity that brings you there, which is essential for running your own brand. And, always be prepared for the momentary opportunity.
What advice would you offer anyone interested in venturing into the world of bespoke jewelry design?
If you have a good idea, act on it right away because there is always a difference between what you expect to do and what you need to do. You never know exactly what will happen if you don’t try. I would suggest don’t spend too much time ruminating on how to get there.
It is critical to have a thorough understanding of oneself. Some of us have been fortunate enough to discover our strengths while also recognizing areas traditionally referred to as weaknesses, and we have always kept the passion for life. This, I believe, is the source of creation and the driving force behind the brand’s long-term development. Try a variety of art-related careers or emerging technologies, be totally and utterly passionate about your career, and be prepared to face a variety of challenges, because this will not be an easy journey.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
All of my designs are inspired by nature and my personal experiences. Given my love of nature and life, I am eager to share the objects and emotions that move me with my audience through the jewelry I create.
You started out producing handmade pieces of jewelry do you still continue to hand make all your items?
Yes, I’ve always been obsessed with handicrafts and thoroughly enjoy the process. Each piece of handcrafted jewelry has its own distinct charm and texture. Handmade jewelry provides warmth and happiness, which is exactly what we are looking for. I am aware that modern jewelry is being enhanced by a plethora of new technical materials. We are not opposed to new technology or commercial production. The joy that hand-made jewelry brings us, on the other hand, is more meaningful.
What reaction do you usually get when people see your pieces of jewelry?
It gives me a sense of accomplishment, and I’m more confident about trying things I’ve never done before. When customers or friends order customized wedding rings from me, the feeling of making diamond rings to commemorate their life’s most memorable moments makes me feel honored. This is best moment for anyone who creates jewelry.
Business can be an upward struggle at times, what do you do to stay positive?
Sometimes, when facing difficulties, talking to experienced people who are more successful and experienced will lead to a breakthrough. Meanwhile, don’t stay in your comfort zone and keep innovating.
What is your go to quote when lacking motivation?
I wake up every morning and think to myself, ‘how far can I push this company in the next 24 hours
Do you work better in a team or do you prefer to go it alone from a business perspective?
I enjoy both. I can work both in a team, and work alone. Depending on the project that needs to be done, I can work independently to complete my tasks on time, but I also enjoy brainstorming and collaborating with my colleagues.
How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?
I would say less than 50%. Social media accounts for a large portion of a successful brand operation, which is likely to grow in importance. However, I believe that jewelry is an unique industry. People could only feel the texture after touching and seeing the rich colour of the pieces in person, that experience is unique and irreplaceable.
Is there a specific country that would you like to see have Mona Jewelry store?
France, as I once spent two years studying there. Everything I know about jewelry design and traditional craftsmanship I learned there. Everything in France has had a profound impact on me. So, if I had to pick a place, it would undoubtedly be Paris. I’m hoping to return there with my accomplished business.
What’s next for your brand?
We’re hoping to reintegrate and expand our team, and I’d like to seek more buyer stores and bring a variety of our jewelry lines to more customers. This year, we’d like to focus on the opportunities in the European accessories market and more. A personal wish of mine is to participate in more offline philanthropy and brand exhibitions.
Where can people find out more about Mona Jewelry?
We also have two offline collection stores; one is in Macle Jewel, Lebanon, the other one is the Canvas, New York. Both of them are great designer collection stores that gather designers from all over the world.