Meet Ileana Djujic, the creative force behind Foxy Pearl Jewelry, a brand that dares to redefine the conventions of jewelry with a perfect blend of authenticity, elegance, and a touch of rock ‘n’ roll spirit.
Ileana’s journey into the world of jewelry design is not just a tale of crafting stunning accessories but a narrative of passion, resilience, and a commitment to authenticity.
Explore the influences that shape Ileana’s designs, from the legacy of rock icons like Jimi Hendrix to diverse art forms, cultures, and historical periods. Join us as Ileana reveals her aspirations for the future of Foxy Pearl Jewelry, upcoming collaborations, and the exciting projects that lie ahead.
Get ready for an inspiring journey into the world of Foxy Pearl Jewelry, where each piece tells a unique story, and authenticity is not just a design choice but a way of life…
Your passion for pearls and the idea of authenticity is at the heart of Foxy Pearl Jewelry. Could you share a specific moment or experience that ignited this passion and led you to start your jewelry brand?
I don’t think it was a specific moment, but rather a series of little moments and a steady, burning passion for jewelry. It began with my interest in jewelry as far back as I can remember.
Slowly, I discovered the appeal of pearls in my adolescence, wearing them as a young teen to various events and non-events. This led to a reputation for having a style “too old for my age.” As my curiosity for jewelry art form grew, I delved into its background, exploring its origin, history, and evolution.
Educating myself on jewelry and pearls became a journey, discovering different authentic brands in local shops, jewelry fairs, road shows, and during my travels. Once armed with enough knowledge, I felt the need to share it, leading me to start blogging about jewelry.
However, in my naivety, I decided to build a website without even writing a single blog post. I hadn’t realized you could blog without a website, a humorous oversight. People began assuming I was creating my own brand, sparking the idea that eventually led me to Foxy Pearl Jewelry. It was a turning point.
Although I initially hesitated, citing a lack of time, the COVID-19 pandemic provided the opportunity to reassess, leading me to draw, create, and research potential partners who believed in my vision during those challenging times.
Pearls are often associated with tradition and elegance, but you describe them as enigmatic, playful, and striking. How do you incorporate these unconventional qualities into your designs, challenging the traditional notions of pearl jewelry?
Beyond their traditional associations with tradition and elegance, pearls are sometimes unfairly labeled as “boring,” “outdated,” or “old-fashioned.” This is far from the truth.
Pearls, with their diverse colors and shapes, including round, semi-round, drop, baroque, and circle-baroque, offer endless possibilities. Keshi pearls, flat and with a cornflake shape, exemplify pure nacre and fascinating luster.
The value of pearls, determined primarily by their luster, extends to considerations of their origin, whether freshwater or saltwater, and regional denominations like Tahitian or South Seas. Their vulnerability to environmental conditions adds to their appeal, reminding us of the immeasurable value of passing beauty.
To me, pearls are playful due to their versatility, enigmatic as they exude appeal without being imposing, and striking not through extravagance but impenetrability. While other gemstones require labor to achieve maximum effect, pearls achieve it naturally.
The vulnerability of pearls, easily altered by various factors, highlights their immeasurable value. I incorporate pearls into my designs by combining them with other materials, symbolic elements, and creatures, creating contrasts and highlighting their unique qualities.
The concept of authenticity is central to Foxy Pearl Jewelry. In a world driven by trends, how do you maintain authenticity in your designs, and what steps do you take to ensure that your creations stand out as genuine and unique?
Authenticity is crucial, keeping me true to myself and reflecting the belief that authenticity is beauty. While it’s easy to follow trends, it requires no imagination or creative thought. Authenticity, on the other hand, involves understanding what you like, why you like it, and expressing it courageously.
Jewelry, as a form of communication, becomes a reflection of oneself without words. Trends are rules; style is freedom. In my designs, I maintain authenticity by seeking what is aesthetically pleasing to me and determining what I want to communicate. I find beauty in contrast, combining elements of femininity with masculinity, light and shadow, fragility, and strength.
For example, I mix pearls with chains, highlighting the contrast between feminine and masculine energies. In the Naga collection, I use pearls on snakeskin, symbolizing shedding and renewal, as snakes shed their skin, representing rebirth and longevity. The contrast between the fragile nature of pearls and the symbolism of snakeskin showcases authenticity.
The name “Foxy Pearl” pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix and his song “Foxy Lady.” How does music, especially the legacy of rock icons like Hendrix, influence your creative process, and how do you translate musical emotions into jewelry designs?
Music, as the highest form of art, embodies pure emotion that cannot be touched or defined. It is a transformative journey that touches the deepest corners of the soul. Jimi Hendrix’s influence on my creative process stems from his groundbreaking entry into the music industry without formal training, inability to read or write music, yet achieving the highest peaks in electric guitar sounds at a young age.
Beyond his guitar skills, Hendrix’s authentic style, marked by mystery and uniqueness, serves as an inspiration. Music has the power to change moods, transport individuals, and evoke emotions. The connection between music and jewelry lies in the transformative, imaginative, and emotional aspects shared by both art forms.
Sustainability and ethical practices are becoming increasingly important in the fashion industry. How does Foxy Pearl Jewelry contribute to sustainable fashion, and what initiatives do you undertake to ensure your jewelry is environmentally conscious?
Foxy Pearl Jewelry contributes to sustainable fashion by using recycled silver for its designs. All pieces are responsibly crafted in a small production studio, exclusively handmade, avoiding mass production.
The business follows a small batch, slow-fashion model, focusing on quality over quantity. By utilizing recycled materials and adopting ethical production practices, Foxy Pearl Jewelry aligns with environmentally conscious principles.
Creativity often blossoms from diverse sources of inspiration. Are there any other art forms, cultures, or historical periods that influence your jewelry designs, and if so, how do you incorporate these influences into your creations?
Various art forms, cultures, historical periods, and personal interests influence my jewelry designs. Performing arts, such as opera and theater, history, geography, mythology, and nature elements all play a role.
Although not all influences are incorporated into current designs, they provide a foundation for future collections. For instance, mythology aspects are evident in the Naga collection, nature elements in the Sunflower collection, and geometry and symbolism in the Infinity Link collection. Each collection represents a unique combination of influences, creating diverse and meaningful jewelry pieces.
Each piece of jewelry tells a story. Can you share the story behind one of your favourite creations, detailing the inspiration, materials used, and the emotions you aimed to convey through the design?
A notable creation is the Infinity Link collection. This collection reflects my appreciation for contrast, combining opposites that meet and unify in a circle. Pearls, fragile and alterable, are paired with the everlasting circle, representing continuity and infinity.
The mysterious nature of both elements adds depth to the design. The choice of using brass instead of silver imparts an ancient feel, while hammered brass provides dimension, richness, and sparkle.
The lightness and ease of wearing the necklace and earrings, despite their grand appearance, demonstrate that boldness need not compromise practicality. The design aims to convey the idea that, while life as we know it ends, it never ceases, symbolized by the enduring circle.
As the founder of Foxy Pearl Jewelry, what do you consider your proudest moment or achievement in your journey so far, and how has it shaped the direction of your brand?
My proudest moment has been starting a business and taking risks. Conquering fear and embracing vulnerability have defined my journey. With no background in entrepreneurship or formal jewelry training, my passion and determination became the driving force.
Learning through reading, watching, asking, and attending small classes shaped my approach. The variety in my designs, ranging from bold to raw to detailed, reflects the diverse experiences and challenges encountered along the way.
Building a successful jewelry brand requires a balance between creativity and business acumen. How do you manage the creative aspects of designing jewelry while also handling the business side of running a brand, such as marketing and sales?
Balancing creativity and business is challenging, and I’m still navigating the process. Creativity requires isolation and dedicated time and space for thinking and imagining. On the business side, I’m continually learning about marketing and sales through courses, reading, consultations, and industry peers’ advice. Juggling both aspects simultaneously is demanding, with one often taking priority depending on the situation. Managing the dynamic between creativity and business remains an ongoing effort, and I strive to find the right balance.
Personal style often evolves over time. How do you envision Foxy Pearl Jewelry evolving to cater to the changing tastes and preferences of your customers while staying true to the brand’s essence?
Customer feedback is essential in guiding the evolution of Foxy Pearl Jewelry. I value suggestions and recently received useful insights that will be considered in future designs.
While pearls remain a focal point, I envision incorporating more gemstones into Foxy Pearl. I appreciate colourful, mixed, and experimental designs. The focus will remain on keeping the designs elegant, bold, and authentic, reflecting the essence of the brand.
Collaboration can lead to innovative and exciting projects. Are there any artists, designers, or creatives you dream of collaborating with, and what kind of unique pieces do you think such collaborations could produce?
In the process of creating Foxy Pearl Jewelry, what valuable lessons have you learned that you believe aspiring entrepreneurs, especially in the creative field, should be aware of?
I’ve learned that making mistakes is inevitable and should be embraced. The journey of running a business is often a trial-and-error process rather than a straight line. Strategic aspects of running a business may involve setbacks, but overcoming them contributes to growth.
From a creative perspective, I’ve realized the importance of narrowing focus and starting small. Instead of attempting too much simultaneously, selecting a collection or two establishes recognition and familiarity with customers. This has been a personal challenge, given my tendency to be consumed with various ideas. Recognizing the need to learn from mistakes, narrow focus, and start small can guide aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly in the creative field.
Looking into the future, what are your aspirations for Foxy Pearl Jewelry? Are there any upcoming collections or projects that you are particularly excited about and would like to share with your audience?
I appreciate collaborations and have recently partnered with a clean skincare brand, Jasmina Beauty, for a holiday campaign featuring unique gift sets. Both brands share values of sustainability and ethics, making the collaboration meaningful.
Additionally, there is a potential collaboration with a New York-based clothing company in discussions. These ventures align with Foxy Pearl’s commitment to sustainability and authenticity. As for upcoming collections, I envision incorporating more gemstones while maintaining the brand’s focus on elegance, boldness, and authenticity.
Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?
Two destinations top my bucket list. Alaska, with its secluded, unspoiled nature, fascinating wildlife, and the allure of the Northern Lights, appeals to my sense of adventure.
The dream of being pulled on sledges by Siberian Huskies in a mystic and cozy setting makes it a fairytale destination. Madagascar, with its unique flora and fauna, particularly lemurs, captures my imagination.
The desire to experience an uncommercialized island escape, coupled with childhood memories of watching a travel channel episode about Madagascar, makes it a long-cherished dream.
When lacking motivation, what is your go-to quote?
“You do what you can for as long as you can, and then when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up, but you never give up.” – Chuck Yeager
This quote emphasises the importance of perseverance in business. Acknowledging that mistakes and setbacks are part of the journey, the quote encourages accepting, embracing, and internalising challenges. It underscores the notion that success often results from accumulated hard work and determination over time.