June 28, 2015 12:00 AM | by The Fustany Team
A Quick Chat with Jude Benhalim of J's Designs
You've probably seen the funky accessories by J's Designs around town. So we decided to have a quick chat with the woman behind J's Designs, Jude Benhalim. From starting up her label to where she derives her inspiration from, Jude Benhalim of J's Designs shares her story and insights on being a jewelry designer.
Your jewelry pieces are very bold and unique. Where do you derive your inspiration from?
I was raised in a family of creative and artistic people, so I was always exposed to different kinds of arts and talents. My father, who is an architect and interior designer, has always been a great source of inspiration. My jewelry is inspired by geometric shapes and Nubian architecture. The symmetrical and linear constructions of the Nubian architecture are highly noticeable in my work. J’s key point of uniqueness is that it provides customers with a mixture of a bold modern style with oriental infusions.
You managed to transform J’s Designs from a small start up to a successful jewelry brand. Tell us a little about the process?
This success wouldn’t have occurred if it wasn't
for my mother, who is my business partner and advisor and really helped to guide
me throughout the journey. In general, it was difficult having the confidence
to start a business. But what fueled my confidence is the people who liked my
admired the fact that I’m a very young designer (starting at the age of 18) and
really wanted to encourage me. What made my business stand out among other
start up businesses, is that it has an edge; the trendy, modern designs
accentuated with the Arab oriental feel that everybody appreciates. Also, the
theme of women empowerment that has long been incorporated in my work helped
differentiate J's from other designers.
What is one piece of advice you can give to people starting up their own business?
I would advise them to always accept suggestions and criticism, and to jump into whatever opportunities that are presented to them. They should believe in themselves and in their talent and to always be confident with what they provide to the market. Love what you do and have fun with it, and always stay different to stand out.
What type of women do you target with J's Designs?
Not all women would like wearing J’s Designs’ bold and bulky jewelry. My pieces are big and protruding, and a lot of women like to stay classic. My jewelry targets the girls that like to be daring and edgy. I do, however, make pieces that are classic and simple. So I would say J’s targets all women that appreciate unusual kind of jewelry and art.Would you say your jewelry pieces follow the current trends?
Definitely, my jewelry pieces follow the current trends to a great extent, in terms of designs and colors especially. But I always stay careful to stick to the timeless traditional, oriental feel that I incorporate in my jewelry.
Is it true that most of your jewelry pieces
have their very own story behind them?
Most of them do, yes. I like to think that when a woman wears a piece of my jewelry it also serves as a literal and a figurative armor. For example, the bestseller bullets collection. The bullet is a symbol of strength and it represents my strong feminist side. It is bold and edgy and sharp in the literal sense, and it has empowering, feminist calligraphy written on it as well.
How did you balance between being a student and a jewelry designer?
I work after university hours and during my weekends , having my mom as my partner made it a lot easier because we get to define the roles of management of the business. It gets stressful at times but I managed. Now that I am graduating, I will have a chance to focus all my attention on developing and expanding J’s.You recently started making bags along with your jewelry. What made you decide to branch out?
It was actually my partner’s idea (Rana, my mom) to
branch out and start designing a bag’s line that incorporates the same theme
and Nubian inspirational. So far, it has been doing great!
A one-way ticket to success.
What is next for J’s Designs?
To open J’s first showroom, but we’re still looking for the right time and the right location. We also aim to grow on an international level, by taking part in international trade-show exhibitions as we previously have. We took part in two big international trade-show exhibtions: Bijhorca, Eclat De Mode, in Paris, and Pure London show in London. They were both truly great and inspiring experiences.