“I would say having to run our jewellery business entirely from our kitchen table and the living room – just likes 10 years ago when it all started as a hobby.” Johan Vandamme of JUVELAN on the strangest thing that’s happened during lockdown…
Threaded with a graceful modern femininity and an innate sense of cool elegance, jewellery label, JUVELAN is fast becoming a bridal go-to for timeless jewellery pieces just perfect for the aisle (and beyond). At the helm of the brand is designer, Johan Vandamme who’s eye for beautiful stones (think: glimmering freshwater pearls, unqiue baroque pearls, glittering Swarovski jewels and fine zirconia crystals) has led to many a bridal SWOON. The label’s latest collection, Simplicity arrived recently – debuting an effortless fusion of refined elegance, glossy, glittering jewels and modern clean lines. I caught up with Johan (digitally, of course) to get the lowdown on his lockdown…
#1 Provide us with three words that sum-up how you were feeling about lockdown when it first started, and then three words about how you feel now:
Before: “Optimistic, slightly confused and relaxed.”
After: “Creative (with up’s and down’s), optimistic and too rested :-D.”
#2 What time do you get up? Has this changed? Is life a little slower? Talk to us about your new daily routine…
“I usually wake up before my alarm (between 7-8am). After breakfast, I start the day by answering emails (this sometimes also happens at night) and prepare orders that came in through our online shop for shipment. I then spend some time on social media as well as being on our customer support chat on the online shop for the entire day to answer any questions our visitors have when browsing. The afternoon is mostly spent making jewellery for our customers, and working on new ideas.”
#3 How is lockdown impacting your business, and how can people support you?
“Since 80-90% of our business is bridal and wedding-related, it definitely has impacted us. We’re very grateful for all our loyal customers who decide to buy jewellery for themselves in our online shop, and our retailers who are not letting this situation scare them and still deciding to order our latest collection. This means more than words can say to us.”
#4 Name three local businesses you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “Our favourite Italian restaurant where we order food once in a while.”
No.2 “Corso Cinema (my husband’s business which has been closed since day one).”
No.3 “Our local cupcake and bagel shop.”
#5 What’s your favourite isolation snack?
“The homemade burgers we started making.”
#6 What’s your most recommended quarantine pick-me-up when you’re feeling down?
“Sitting on the terrace of our new apartment – we moved into it a couple of months ago and enjoy the beautiful weather we have at the moment here in the south of Germany.”
#7 What’s the item you can now NEVER find in the supermarket (and consequently dream continuously about)…
“So far, there hasn’t been anything I can’t find. I have to admit it is strange seeing empty shelves from things that are usually never sold out.”
#8 What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during your lockdown period…
“Since we recently moved from one side of the country to the other and don’t have an office space yet, I would say having to run our jewellery business entirely from our kitchen table and the living room – just likes 10 years ago when it all started as a hobby.”
#9 Favourite app for keeping in touch digitally with friends and family?
“Skype and WhatsApp.”
#10 Name your lockdown hate:
“I’m not a very hateful person, so to be honest there’s nothing I hate at the moment. The whole situation might be uncomfortable from time to time, but since I’m healthy, all I think is that if I “survived” the past weeks, everything will be fine.”
#11 Name your lockdown love:
“All the time I get to spend with my husband, as we’re so used to working ridiculous hours and most of the time we work in different cities or even countries. I can’t remember the last time we saw each other every day for two months in a row.”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
“My parents and all my siblings who all live in Belgium.”
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated?
“My youngest brother – who decided to make a face mask for everyone in our family – asked us to pick our fabrics. When we asked what he wanted in return, he simply answered; “Just give me a big hug when all of this is over.””
#14 Talk to us about what’s new at your brand?
“We’ve been busy with our latest collection Simplicity and love seeing that brides and non-brides love it. I’m starting to put ideas together for the next collection. And, since we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary this year, we’re working on some special (non-bridal) collections – coming September/October – if all goes well.”
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “My health.”
No.3 “Homecooked meals.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted?
“Probably our favourite Italian restaurant.”
#17 What series have you now completed on Netflix? Any recommendations?
“Not on Netflix, but I finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon and also Making the cut (Amazon as well).
On Netflix I finished Grace and Frankie and Workin’ moms.”
#18 What would be your quarantine book list?
“Can’t remember the last time I actually read a book, to be honest.”
#19 And, finally, your quarantine cocktail/tipple of choice?