Q&A: Leyla Abdollahi

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The fine jeweller reveals a new collaboration with Gemfields.

Leyla Abdollahi was named a Tresor Paris Trendsetter in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, making the impressive leap from NexGem in just a year. She took time out from travelling the world and designing bespoke jewels to talk about how she has developed her brand so successfully in little more than a year.

Professional Jeweller: Your trajectory from unknown designer to a designer that is becoming very well known and respected has been pretty steep how have you managed to elevate yourself so quickly?
Leyla Abdollahi: I believe that once you have a specific goal you should always believe in yourself. You ought to always stay genuine and original to your talent, be dedicated to your work and you will indeed achieve what you are aiming for. I am extremely ambitious, determined and like to have a positive outlook on life. I believe I have managed to turn my passion for jewellery into a profession that I am proud of. I have always had a real fascination and a keen eye for good designs. I like to think of my designs as more than just jewellery.

PJ: How would you describe your approach to work?
LA: As a creative mind your work is a reflection of you and it becomes a part of you. I don’t see work as a cliché routine. I enjoy the industry that I’m engaged in, it’s innovative, resourceful and it gives me the motivation I need to reach my goals.

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PJ: What have been your highlights of the past 12 months?
L:A: Since launching in 2011, Leyla Abdollahi London has had a great deal of interest from the public, media and retail sectors alike which has included being featured in a variety of media including print, online and broadcast through editorials, TV interviews and photo shoots. Professional highlights include the following successes, being nominated for UK designer of the year, honoured in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 for second year around, selected by the Houlden Group as a Designer of Excellence, shortlisted for the Treasure Designer of the Year and winning the Lonmin Design Innovation Award for the second year in row. Other achievements include being invited to collaborate with Swarovski. The finished piece is currently exhibiting in New York, followed by Asia. Currently, I am collaborating with Gemfields Company on a new project due to launch at the end of 2012.

PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way, working in the jewellery industry?
LA: My main challenge was to successfully introduce a new fine jewellery brand to the market. It was a challenge that I welcomed with open arms because I was quietly confident that my passion for what I was creating would assist me in overcoming any stumbling blocks that might come across. Lastly, I do believe that without the challenges we won’t be able to truly appreciate our accomplishments.

PJ: Tell us more about winning the Lonmin award?
LA: I would describe winning the award for the second year running as an amazing accomplishment, made even more so as the Lonmin Award celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. I look forward to being part of ceremony celebration.

PJ: How do you manage your work-life balance and how do you relax off the job?
LA: I am privileged to have a job that I miss when I am not doing it and love when I am in it. It is that passion that naturally balances work-life. When it comes to relaxing, I travel and take a few days off whenever I get a chance; otherwise I’m hanging out with friends enjoying good food and good wine!! Other times I enjoy cultural activities, exploring London town, movies, music and theatre and all other fantastic things happening around town! Most importantly spending some quality time with my little furball – my Persian cat! In general my philosophy is just go with the flow do what you want and enjoy your life while you can. This is my life motto!

PJ: What are your plans for your brand for the next year?
LA: In terms of developing and growing my business, my immediate plan is to launch a silver range towards the end of this year. The design aesthetics will be in the vein of fine jewellery, but make them a lot more accessible and open up a bigger market for my designs. I am also looking to expand internationally, particularly in the Middle East and Asia, as well as the United States. I shall be travelling later this year to meet potential stockists and to arrange launch exhibitions. I will also be continuing the bespoke commission side of the business, since it has consistently proved to work well for me. So I’ll continue playing an active role in producing the designs and final products for my private clients and a number of various companies in the UK & abroad.

 

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