Welcome to an exclusive interview with House of Sól founder, Nazlican Yoney, a jewellery brand that celebrates unapologetic women and empowers them with elegant armor for every occasion.
In this interview, we delve into the inspirations and vision behind House of Sól, exploring how their unique pieces serve as a suit of armor for modern women, whether they're attending a dinner or taking charge in the boardroom. Get ready to discover the captivating story and empowering designs of House of Sól...
Can you provide more details on the inspiration behind the establishment of House of Sól and how your academic background in political science and professional experience influenced its creation?
As the Founder, CEO, and Creative Director of House of Sól (HoS), I draw inspiration from my Russian and Arabic heritage, taking pride in being the great-granddaughter of a late-Ottoman grand vizier. With a background in political science and an MBA degree, along with years of managerial experience at Google, my passion for porcelain and gold forming developed in my home studio, which served as my sanctuary amidst a busy professional life. Every weekend, I immersed myself in the craft at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, learning from masters about metalworking, gemstone sourcing, and designing timeless pieces.
As a political scientist, I believe that what we wear tells our story, reflecting our values, aspirations, and place in society. This belief forms the foundation of House of Sól's creations, which blend feminism, politics, contemporary art, and Turquerie. Each piece, named 'Untitled' followed by a description, captures the ever-changing meanings of objects across time and space.
Could you explain the significance of the name "House of Sól," its reflection of the brand's values and vision, and what inspired your focus on traditional craftsmanship in creating your jewellery pieces?
House of Sól, meaning "Dynasty of the Sun," was born from the captivating stories and precious stones of Asia Minor. Each handcrafted piece we create, shaped by age-old artisanal techniques, transforms into 'wearable contemporary art' within the hidden tunnels of the Grand Bazaar. The brand's motto, "Ex Oriente Lux," translates to "the Sun rises from the East," symbolising the unique culture and creativity originating from this ancient civilisation.
House of Sól pays homage to Turquerie, a post-modern interpretation of Orientalist fashion that imitates Ottoman art and culture from the 16th to 18th centuries. Western Europe's fascination with the exotic and unknown Ottoman culture, particularly the ruling class, led to the popularity of this trend. Our brand honours the Orient, incorporating its precious stones, metals, and artisanship. Through our one-of-a-kind lock design, necklaces can be mixed and matched, allowing for personalised combinations and even serving as interior design elements.
In what way do you envision House of Sól pieces acting as a suit of armour for women and conveying specific messages through their designs, especially in terms of empowering women and promoting individual expression? Additionally, how do you hope to reshape the perception of fine jewellery through your brand?
House of Sól is a tribute to independent women and the sun, serving as a suit of armour for those who unapologetically embrace their true selves. Our jewellery is not merely an accessory but an indispensable part of a woman's wardrobe, providing a shield she can wear to a steering committee meeting, a dinner party, or even during significant life transitions like divorcing a dull husband. Moreover, our brand encourages women to purchase jewellery for themselves rather than relying on gifts from men. These pieces are designed to empower women in their everyday battles, celebrating their strength, pride, and womanhood. We aim to challenge the outdated culture of men purchasing jewellery for women and empower women to buy their own House of Sól pieces.
Our goal is not to sell a wide variety of models to a small group of women, but rather to become a woman's most cherished jewel, worn during important moments like giving a presentation or leaving an expired relationship. All our jewellery is made by women for women, with meticulous care.
Could you elaborate on the significance of collaborating with indigenous artisans and using natural materials in your jewellery? How does this align with House of Sól's sustainability efforts? Additionally, how do you ensure the uniqueness and limited-edition status of each House of Sól piece?
At House of Sól, our commitment to working with indigenous artisans and utilising natural materials is at the heart of our brand ethos. We believe that jewellery should tell a story, and the artisans who craft our pieces are an integral part of that narrative, just like the natural materials we use. Collaborating with indigenous artisans from Istanbul's historic Grand Bazaar allows us to preserve and honour ancient cultures and techniques. Our artisans are master craftspeople, bringing generations of skill and knowledge to every piece they create. Operating on a handmade-to-order basis, our production process takes two weeks, reflecting our slow luxury approach. This not only ensures passionate design and ethical craftsmanship but also minimises waste by avoiding excess stock. By handcrafting each piece upon order, we use only the necessary resources, protecting the planet's limited resources and embodying true sustainable luxury.
Additionally, our commitment to using natural materials adds to the uniqueness of our brand. Our jewellery is not mass-produced; it consists of limited editions, with each piece numbered like artwork. If we obtain enough exquisite gemstones for ten necklaces, there won't be an eleventh. This approach promotes sustainability and guarantees the individuality of each House of Sól piece.
How do you see House of Sól evolving in the future? Do you have plans for expansion or collaborations?
House of Sól's journey begins with meticulously crafted jewellery, but our vision extends far beyond that. We aim to revitalise Turquerie, a historical fascination with Turkish art and culture that influenced Western Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries. We want to introduce the world to the rich craft traditions of Asia Minor, which hold centuries of artisanal knowledge and skills. In the near future, we plan to expand into other craft areas such as handmade quilting and Turkish needle embroidery. These traditional crafts align with the spirit of Turquerie, keeping cultural heritage alive in a contemporary context.
Furthermore, we are excited to announce plans for a new line of luxury home wear, including silk kimonos and luxury pyjamas adorned with pearl buttons, featuring post-modern patterns inspired by Turkish tiles. These designs are not just meant to be worn but also intended to serve as crowns.
Our aspiration is to become an all-encompassing lifestyle brand that embodies the essence of artisanship and the grandeur of slow luxury. By merging traditional craft techniques with modern design elements, we aim to create a brand narrative that beautifully captures the diversity and richness of artisanal heritage. House of Sól stands as a testament to timeless beauty, refined elegance, and the celebration of the art of living well.
Could you provide more details about the unique lock you have developed for your brand? What motivated you to create this lock, and what were your design goals?
From the beginning, the signature lock mechanism has been a cherished element of House of Sól's design philosophy. The lock is not merely a functional component; it represents a key principle of our brand values, transcending the conventional boundaries of jewellery. Our designs are intended to be more than accessories; they also serve as decorative objects for our homes and tables. Our mission is to liberate majestic three-dimensional corals, turquoise, pearls, and diamonds from their traditional role as jewellery, giving them new spheres of influence and purpose.
The lock plays a crucial role in this transformation, acting as the linchpin that allows each necklace to transition into different forms and functions. Designed to detach completely from the necklaces, our unique locks provide owners with the flexibility to explore new ways of usage. This vision was ingrained in our brand ethos from the start but required an intensive 1.5-year research and development process. I invested countless hours in creating drawings, crafting moulds, engaging in discussions with artisans, and producing prototypes. After a six-month trial period, I secured intellectual property rights for the design, making it a distinctive trademark of House of Sól. Thanks to this effort, any woman can enter the world of House of Sól with a single lock and unlock the rest of the jewellery collection. The magical lock allows for the creation of a personalised House of Sól style, combining pearls, corals, and woods from Tahiti, Africa, India, and Egypt according to each individual's aesthetic. It's like jewellery with the versatility of Lego.
Could you share a memorable moment or success story in House of Sól's journey that stands out to you?
One particular achievement that comes to mind is our success in our first year. We were fortunate to be discovered and invited to showcase our collection in two prominent design stores in Manhattan. Shortly after, we participated in a trunk show at a prestigious art and jewellery gallery in the Hamptons. It was a tremendously proud summer for us to see that our vision and dedication to craftsmanship paid off in such a short time. Now, our greatest joy comes from receiving photos on Instagram featuring our HoS necklaces being worn by doctors in the ER and pilots in the cockpit.
How do you engage with your customers and build a community around House of Sól? Are there any unique initiatives or events that you organise?
House of Sól has established a strong presence and engaged community among thousands of active women worldwide. We maintain a vibrant daily conversation on social media with these unapologetically authentic HoS women. Our slogan, "Jewellery for Unapologetic Women," represents those who know their worth and are not afraid to fight for it.
Among our community are successful professionals such as pilots, surgeons, nurses, academics, students, and entrepreneurs. Their commitment to giving back is noteworthy. At House of Sól, we regularly raise funds to provide scholarships for female students' university fees, particularly in underprivileged areas.
We also include a different feminist book each year with every purchase of HoS jewellery, and donate these books to public libraries in disadvantaged regions. The dedication of our HoS women to the cause is evident, with some even tattooing "Unapologetic" on themselves.
Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?
I find myself continually drawn back to Marrakech, no matter how many times I've visited. A stay at El Fenn is my idea of a perfect experience. While I have explored the Middle East and North Africa extensively, immersing myself in their rich cultures and marvelling at their wonders, I have yet to discover the beauties of India in person. It's a chapter in my travel diary that remains unwritten. Jaipur, with its blush-coloured architecture and regal history, is calling out to me. After India, I have my sights set on exploring the vibrant cultures and historic wonders of Oaxaca and Mexico City.
What does self-care mean to you?
For me, self-care isn't about sipping kale-infused green juice shots or contorting into pretzel-like poses in a Bikram yoga class. Instead, my self-care routine revolves around simpler things. A silent morning is non-negotiable for me. Those first 2-3 hours of each day are reserved for myself. Sometimes, I indulge in the luxury of a long shower, turning my bathroom into a makeshift spa with flickering candlelight. However, I'm not immune to new trends. Recently, I've explored gua sha and Japanese face yoga, and I've been pleasantly surprised by the results. Currently, my favourite self-care ritual involves a daily gua sha massage using my preferred oils. Who would have thought that a small jade tool could work such wonders?
Where can people find more information about House of Sol?
Our online store, https://thehouseofsol.com/, is the main source of information about House of Sol. We also showcase our designs on real women, not just polished models from fashion photoshoots.
Our Instagram page features unique styles, professional lives, and stories of authentic House of Sól women every day. We encourage you to follow us to stay updated. You can also subscribe to our newsletter, which we use exclusively to announce new model launches, offering early access to our members: https://thehouseofsol.com/pages/subscribe