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Unveiling the Soul of Mikou: An Interview with Meriem Oukil

Introducing Meriem Oukil, the visionary founder behind Mikou, a distinguished name in the realm of handmade jewelry. With two decades of experience in the industry, Meriem’s journey embodies a profound passion for crafting unique pieces that resonate with the emotions and stories of her clientele.

Renowned for her fusion of traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design sensibilities, Meriem’s creations exude warmth, elegance, and individuality.

As we delve into her world, Meriem shares insights into her creative process, ethical practices, and aspirations for the future of Mikou, offering a glimpse into the soul behind the shimmering gems and precious metals…

What inspired you to start Mikou and delve into the world of handmade jewelry?

The thrill of designing unique pieces of precious metals and gemstones. I find inspiration every day in buildings, landscapes, and animals, incorporating their shapes into my handmade jewelry.

Can you share a memorable experience or story from your 20 years in the jewelry business?

Working closely with people on a very personal level, I’ve learned that jewelry holds immense emotional value for individuals. Customers share stories of love, heartbreak, birth, heritage, and more, attaching these narratives to their jewelry. I cherish these moments.

How do you source your gemstones and pearls to ensure they meet your high standards?

I buy them from certified gemstone dealers in Antwerp who adhere strictly to regulations and standards.

What does the process of alloying gold entail, and how does it affect the final product?

Alloying involves mixing gold with other metals to enhance its properties such as hardness, strength, color, and workability. This process is fundamental to creating unique jewelry pieces in gold or silver.

What are some of the challenges you face in creating custom pieces for your clients?

One challenge is ensuring that clients understand the technical aspects of jewelry making, such as securing gemstones properly. Additionally, different gemstones have varying hardness levels, requiring careful consideration in design.

Do you have a favorite gemstone or type of jewelry to work with? If so, what makes it special to you?

I love combining yellow gold with colorful gemstones for warmth, and cold-colored gemstones with silver tones. However, all gemstones hold a special place in my heart, and I don’t have a favorite.

How do you balance traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design trends in your creations?

Craftsmanship forms the foundation, while contemporary trends provide inspiration. My signature style merges modern, wearable, feminine jewelry with organic shapes and colors.

Can you describe the feeling of seeing a customer’s face light up when they receive a piece of Mikou jewelry?

The joy reflected in their eyes is like little stars of happiness.

What role does sustainability play in your business, and how do you ensure your practices are eco-friendly?

I recycle old jewelry from clients, reuse gemstones, and save gold dust for new pieces. Sustainability is integral to my practice; nothing goes to waste.

Have you ever had a particularly unusual or unique request from a customer? If so, how did you fulfill it?

I once crafted a large cigar box from 18k gold, an unusual request that brought immense satisfaction to the client.

How do you keep up with evolving customer preferences and adapt your designs accordingly?

I collaborate with clients, finding a middle ground between their ideas and my expertise.

What advice would you give to someone looking to invest in their first piece of fine jewelry?

Consider whether you want an everyday piece or a statement piece, as each serves different purposes and requires different care.

Can you share any upcoming trends or innovations we can expect to see in the world of jewelry design?

Expect to see trends like ethical design, bold colored gemstones, bulky jewelry designs, oversized earrings, and an increase in lab diamond usage.

What is your favorite part of the creative process when designing a new piece of jewelry?

Choosing gemstones and envisioning the technical process while translating ideas onto paper through drawings.

How do you maintain the balance between Mikou’s brand identity and exploring new design possibilities?

While I continuously explore new designs, I stay true to Mikou’s identity, infusing my signature style into each creation.

Are there any cultural or historical influences that inspire your designs?

My North African roots influence my designs, characterized by bright colors and organic shapes.

How do you ensure the ethical sourcing of your diamonds, and what criteria do you use to determine their authenticity and quality?

I source diamonds from certified companies that adhere to ethical sourcing practices and stringent quality criteria.

Can you walk us through the journey of turning a customer’s vision into a reality, from initial consultation to final product?

The process involves an initial consultation, design conceptualization, stone selection, crafting, and finally, fitting and delivery of the unique piece.

What role do customer feedback and satisfaction play in shaping the direction of your business?

Customer feedback is paramount; many clients become lifelong patrons, and their satisfaction guides the evolution of Mikou.

Looking towards the future, what are your aspirations for Mikou, both creatively and in terms of impact within the jewelry industry?

I aim to infuse more color and ethnicity into jewelry designs, offering soulful creations that depart from conventional norms.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Indonesia, for its landscapes, flora, fauna, traditional designs, and architecture, offering boundless inspiration for jewelry.

What’s your go-to quote when lacking motivation?

“Go outside and look around you; you can find inspiration everywhere.”

Where can people find out more about follow you?

Website: www.mikou-dor.com

Instagram: @mikoudor