“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” – Harry Winston.
For me, the selection of jewellery has always been a very intimate and personal experience. Over the years, I have been gifted jewellery to mark special occasions and have given similar gifts to loved ones. I believe that gemstones can represent personality and emotion and for this reason, I attach sentiment and memories to every single piece in my jewellery box. The goal is to build a high-quality collection which can be passed down through future generations. Diamonds are forever, after all.
For this reason, I was determined to find an Irish woman working within the jewellery design industry to participate in Rouge Writing Hood’s “Irish Girl Boss Series”. I was absolutely delighted when Julie Danz of Juvi Designs agreed to participate in an interview, giving us an insight into the industry and her life as a female entrepreneur.
Julie, together with her husband, Vincent Tynan, founded Juvi Designs. In doing so, they have created a brand that aims to provide women with exquisite jewellery which is both luxurious and affordable. Julie is inspired by travel and the world around us, communicating this through the creation of pieces which are stunning, yet practical enough for everyday wear. I cannot wait to share her interview with you!
1) Can you describe to us how your background in interior design has influenced where you are now?
Colour, colour, colour! I had the privilege of working for the adventurous, colourful interior designer Carlton Varney in New York in the early 00s – a time when beige was ‘in’ and colour and pattern were less popular. He was renowned for his large prints, flamboyant colours and gold pineapple lamps! I worked on many bright and beautiful projects which, on reflection, have totally inspired my desire to work with gold and silver as well as colourful gemstones which are both bold and delicate.
2) Tell me about your design style. What makes your jewellery unique to the fashion industry?
I’m not sure if our jewellery is unique but it is definitely our own style. Our love of travelling and colour have inspired our collections. Each collection is named after a place we have visited which in turn has influenced the design and gemstones we used in each collection. The ‘Egadi’ collection was inspired by the beautiful laid back islands of the same name located just off the coast of Sicily. The ‘Boho’ collection was inspired by travelling in general and our love for discovering unspoiled places and the feeling of being away, free and adventurous. The ‘Antibes’ collection was inspired by the beautiful, colourful landscapes of the south of France as well as the little provincial villages and is a little more sophisticated than other collections. The ‘Shooting Star Collection’ was inspired by the night’s sky in the Ballinskelligs in Co. Kerry (one of the top 3 spots in the world for star gazing) where we camped under the stars. Our latest collection features a cocoa pod and was inspired by travels through magical Mexico and visiting a cocoa plantation there.
We use so many beautiful gemstones including, but not limited to: rubies, aqua chalcedony, green onyx, coral, turquoise, amethyst, citrine, tourmaline – our workshop is often referred to as ‘Aladdin’s cave’.
“Gold Cocoa Pod Tulum Pendant” – available here.
3) I adore the fact that every piece designed by Juvi is luxurious, yet affordable. When you were creating your company, how important was the ethos of the brand — the idea of providing everyday, working women with an opportunity to spoil themselves without the feeling of guilt which is often associated with a very large price tag?
It was very important. We wanted to make beautiful pieces of jewellery for every day and for those special days so that everyone could treat themselves, without breaking the bank! Juvi is a brand that is made accessible to everyone, no matter what your budget is. There is also a certain sentimental value attached to the Juvi brand. We wanted people to be able to afford to mark the big occasions in their lives without compromising on quality.
4) Do you take inspiration from other women in business and if so, who?
Yes I do. Style wise, I take inspiration from the stylist and socialite Iris Apfel in New York. I admire the designers Alice Temperley , Diane Von Furstenberg and Helen Steele for their use of colour, pattern, texture and embellishment. The jewellery designers Monica Vinader and Astley Clarke have been inspiring in their career journeys because they have an international presence and stand alone stores worldwide.
5) Personally, I am drawn to jewellery that has personality and sentimentality attached to it. I love to find meaning in gemstones, purchasing them to remind myself of anniversaries or important milestones. If you had to choose one gemstone to reflect your own personality which one would you choose and why?
I would have to include ruby as it is such a beautiful, vibrant gemstone. It is also the gemstone that we named our daughter after. However, the stone I think that reflects my personality best is labradorite. It is my favourite gemstone as it is subtle and appears one colour when you first look at it, but it has a hidden magical quality so when it catches the light it has a beautiful, vibrant, petrol-coloured sheen with blue, green and gold hues.
“Egadi Labradorite Drop Earring” – available here.
6) Who would you most like to see wearing your designs?
I love seeing people of all ages and styles wearing our pieces. Seeing someone out and about wearing a piece always gives me a thrill and I love to see how they style their Juvi. If I had to name a celebrity, I’d love to see Kate Hudson, Sienna Miller, Angela Scanlon or Amy Huberman wearing Juvi designs. They all have great relaxed style yet also look fabulous when they dress up. You have the opportunity to wear Juvi pieces from day through to night, on an every day basis and on a glam night out.
7) How would you describe your own personal style?
I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl with Converse being a staple for day-time wear but, I also love getting dressed up for a party. Our collections reflect my personal style, with understated, simple pieces for every day to more glamorous, sparkly gems for a night out on the town!
8) Do you have a most treasured item in your own jewellery collection?
I am fortunate to have lots of jewellery, but if I had to choose my favourite it would be a set of hammered gold stacking rings that Vincent made for me with different coloured tourmaline and diamonds set into each one, which I never take off. Otherwise, I would have to say our original ‘Little Bean’ pendant which I also wear nearly every day, our ‘Lucky Star’ studs and my chunky, statement gold and labradorite ‘Egadi’ ring. I also love our new ‘Cenote’ bangles, which I wear when dressing up to go out.
“Boho Little Bean Pendant” – available here.
9) To date, what is your favourite piece that you have ever created and why?
I would have to say the entire ‘Cocoa Pod’ collection. It was inspired by our many travels through magical Mexico and the beautiful shape of the cocoa pod itself, which we discovered when visiting a cocoa plantation. It is a very cohesive collection and although I generally do not tend to wear matching sets I would wear all of this collection together.
“Cocoa Pod Lago Ring” – available here.
10) What are your top entrepreneurship tips for those interested in getting into the design business?
Accepting criticism when it comes is hugely important especially in design. The best way to improve is to learn from your mistakes. I think this applies to business in general as well. It’s important to be adaptable and work hard, but don’t forget the important things in life are friends and family.
For more information about Juvi Designs, and a better look at their beautiful designs, you can check out their website here.
For those of you wondering, it’s my birthday this month – and yes, I want it all! I also want to hear all about your thoughts on the brand and their designs, so let us know in the comment section or on social media.