By Hadeel Hegazi
In recent years jewellery making has become one of the more popular start-up businesses among young women in Egypt. However, many have failed to firmly establish themselves in the market. After all, the competition is fierce and customers often try out different styles and designers until they find the one vendor that meets their expectations.
J’s Design was a one of the smaller jewellery businesses, but it was able to quickly attract many customers to its brand. This was largely due to presenting clients with intriguing collections of handmade accessories that actually have stories behind them. J’s Designs blend both the oriental and the western cultures, creating something entirely new.
J’s Designs project is run by designer and jewellery maker Jude Benhalim and her mother Rana Azm. “I started the business three years ago when I was 17 with the support of my mother,” Benhalim said, “I make the jewellery myself at home, and I sell them on the J’s Designs Facebook page.” Benhalim said she had involved her mother in the business since, at the time, she had been too young to run a business without guidance.
J’s Designs additionally exhibited at Eclat de Mode Bijorhca in Paris. Bijorhca Paris is an international event dedicated to the world of jewellery and accessories. For four days the exhibition becomes a platform for buyers and designers alike to share knowledge and products at the capital of fashion, Paris. According to Eclat de Mode Bijorhca’s Facebook page: “The event allows buyers of all types, whether those of department stores or corporations to discover 400 designers of fine and fashion jewellery from around the world.”
“Eclat de Mode Bijorhca at Paris contacted us last year and invited us to exhibit our collections at the show,” Azm explained. She recounted how successful the experience was, saying that “they chose ours amongst the best collections.”
Azm said the project began as a hobby for her daughter. “Jude loves making accessories by hand, and she started exhibiting the products among her friends,” she said. “It was met with admiration as they found that the accessories had a different style [than what was commonly available in the market].”
Benhalim, 20, is a college student, and continues to balance her studies with her jewellery-making career. “Jude has this special artistic sense; she studies filmmaking which is not far away from what she does in terms of art,” Azm explained. She expects Jude to continue with her jewellery business after she is done with college since she was able to create a successful brand.
For inspiration, Benhalim likes to mould popular trends with her own personal touch. “I flip through the different fashion trends, draw them down, and see how I can add the final touch, and an oriental flavour,” she said.
Benhalim currently makes her jewellery using silver and brass, and has started making bags alongside the jewellery.