Laila Wahba is a jewelry designer who was born and raised in Egypt, and she graduated from the American University in Cairo with a bachelor's degree in marketing and a minor in art. She's the founder of Laila Wahba Jewelry, and she has always loved art, since she can ever remember. Some of her passions are painting, making collages, and collecting vintage pieces.
We had the chance to sit with Laila Wahba, to tell us about her start in the world of jewelry-making, and why she specially loves to create statement pieces.
Laila, you worked at the Ministry of State for Family and Population with UNICEF! How did you find courage to turn your back on your job, and head to jewelry design?
I gained very good experience working for three years at UNICEF, but since the beginning I knew that this wasn't my passion. Right after the revolution, everything was just very unstable. So leaving a stable job for a startup business was just crazy to the eyes of many. I was aware that it was going to be a struggle, but that challenge made me more persistent to pursue my dream.
Tell us the story behind your bold jewelry pieces?
All my designs are handpicked and handmade by myself. I use a lot of different materials, but mostly semi-precious stones. I also spend time hunting for vintage pieces from different places in Egypt, and abroad. Most of my designs are very bold, and they stand out and you can wear them with anything and anywhere.
The kind of girl who would wear Laila Wahba jewelry is…
The girl that would wear Laila Wahba Jewelry is confident and daring. A woman that is not afraid to try something new.
What’s the perfect way to style a Laila Wahba jewelry piece?
My jewelry is very versatile, so you can wear it with different styles; from jeans and casual outfits to a dressy one.
How do you find inspiration to design your collections?
I’m inspired by everything around me, and especially by my exposure and observations of the different cultures and arts when I travel. I also get inspired by meeting new people and listening to different types of music
A jewelry piece that’s the closest to your heart is…
My first stitched bib necklace is the closest to my heart. I am a self-taught designer, and I remember the time I stitched my first necklace together, it was made of vintage pieces I got from my grandmother's closet and a couple of buttons. And then I remember how I was able to put it together in a beautiful way. It was that same moment when I realized I want to be a jewelry designer.
When it comes to accessorizing, the more the merrier or less is more?
It all depends on every person's style and mood, but I must say that with the right accessories, you can make any outfit work, and then leave an unforgettable impression.
Working with semi-precious, are you planning on going head-to-head with fine jewelry designers?
In three years, I have managed to build a database of loyal customers who trust my quality and admire my designs. The brand Laila Wahba Jewelry has its own signature, so I have a huge client base for my current jewelry line, so I wont change that. However, I'm planning on launching a totally different line in the near future. Something that keeps my essence, but will for sure surprise my customers. I am very excited about this new step.
Who’s the one celebrity you wish they would flaunt your designs?
Rihanna would be someone that I would love to see wearing one of my statement pieces.
Many local brands are heading to international fashion events to get international recognition, are you planning to do so?
Yes, it's in the near future plan.