Have you always been a designer? If not, what was your previous profession? Why did you choose accessories?
I trained and practised as a corporate lawyer until 2002 when my second son was born. I decided then to focus on my family full-time. However, things changed around 2009 when my third child, Kaitlyn, was 3 years old. As a full time SAHM (stay at home mum) with a daughter, I wanted to introduce some art and craft to her. So I went to Toys “R” Us and bought a box of beads with the intent of making necklaces and bracelets with her. But when I opened the box, I had no idea what all the little bits in there were.
And because I love learning everything in detail, I proceeded to sign up for a 40 hour class on how to make beaded jewellery. By the end of the course, I had totally fallen for the craft!
But jewellery making stayed as a hobby until around 2012 when a friend of mine approached me and asked me to make something for her to wear to her company’s dinner and dance. From then on, I started to design and make jewellery for other people.
A little known fact is that I trained in designing and making wedding cakes before I trained in jewellery design and fabrication. But the more I studied jewellery design and especially metal jewellery fabrication, the more I was drawn into the jewellery profession. Metalsmithing involves having to hand-cut, melt, anneal, solder, file, polish, shape and hammer the metal repeatedly and in stages. I can sometimes be at my workbench for several days and nights working on just one piece. However, the more I work with the pieces and with the metal, the more I understand its behaviour and appreciate how much work, love and effort goes into traditional handcrafting of jewellery.
What is your personal favorite piece from your entire collection?
I love all my pieces but I’d say that the Toast Rings are my rings-of-the-moment. These are stacking rings of different shapes and colours and you can stack from 1 to 5 rings on the same finger and even more across fingers! So the permutations and combinations are infinite! These rings are truly for the confident sophisticate looking for the edgy look!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Anything. Everything. My inspirations are limitless and I am blessed to be able to see designs and ideas come to life from even the most random of items and situations, but especially from nature, geometry and architecture.
What are your plans for the brand in the future?
Hopefully I’ll be well on the international scene – a great brand flying the Singapore flag high!
How have you/your brand benefited from Taff’s membership programmes?
Other than great training and networking programmes, Taff has helped with opening up opportunities for local designers to venture abroad and also increased awareness of local designers amongst local and overseas buyers. They have also been a conduit for helping local designers get funding.
Do visit Joanne L.‘s website to view her latest collection!