In this Lunch Break Chat, we paid a visit to Olivia Yao‘s Jewellery Studio in Taipei and discovered the in’s and out’s of her creative business.
Why did you decide to launch your eponymous label versus working for an established jewelry brand?
I created a new brand to give it a character that represents my vision and thoughts. As a designer, my job is to create the look according to the main core of the brand, so the consumers of the brand can recognize it-even though it may change from time to time like a real person- but they know it and like it as if they’re seeing an old friend.
What was the hardest and your favorite part when starting your own business?
The hardest part is always the management of people. My favorite part is making jewellery that I like to wear.
Tell me a little about your design process- where do you draw inspirations from and how do you make those dreams and stories, a reality?
I draw shapes whenever I see or think of something beautiful; I collect ideas of mechanic parts that I think may be interesting to jewellery making. When I have enough sources of shapes and ideas, I combine them into a story to make these loose ends become a collection.
How do you balance business decisions with creative ones?
For collections, 30%-50% are usually market forward pieces, 10% statement pieces and the rest somewhere in between. I also make seasonal pieces (sale pieces) to balance the product portfolio for discount season.
What’s the state of the jewelry market now and where do you see it going?
The fashion jewellery market in Asia has become more and more diverse in the past 3 years. There are more individual designers starting to run their own brands and doing online businesses, instead of working for a big design house. I think unisex design well become more and more popular in the fashion jewellery design field, since jewellery goes with outfits. Therefore the market will definitely be affected by fashion trends.
What can we expect next from OYJ?
We have 6 collections now, they all represent a different prospect of potential core value of OYJ. Based on the feedback of consumers and each collections’ performance I will start narrowing down the design language so that we will start see OYJ’s main character more clearly.
Quick Fire questions:
Favorite gem? Labradorite
Silver or gold? Gold
Favorite accessory type? Earrings
Most precious thing to you? Freedom
Dream travel destination? Buenos Aires
Entrepreneurial role model? Walt Disney
or stores if ever in Taiwan