Here at IMAGE, we are passionate about both business and jewellery. This is why we decided to sit down and chat with Julie Danz, the co-creator of Juvi Designs
Jewellery is a form of wearable art. Behind that art are stories. And behind those stories are the people who are passionate about little pieces of beauty.
Two of these people include Julie Danz and Vincent Tynan, the minds behind Juvi Designs and now DA:YT, a new designer watch concession in Arnotts which has been open since September. With over 25-years experience, they know a lot about jewellery and through their work, they understand the world of business.
From inspiration to challenges, and to working alongside your husband, Julie reveals it all.
What's the story behind Juvi Designs?
"Juvi is the story of my husband, Vincent and I. I am the Ju, he is the Vi. My background is in interior design, having worked under Carlton Varney in New York; whereas Vincent honed his craft as a silversmith in Mexico.
"After meeting at a blind date in Slane in 2005, we started travelling the world together. We both have a huge passion for travel, so when visiting countries like Mexico, India and the Philippines we were so inspired by the natural gemstones, stunning coastlines and beautiful landscapes."
"Juvi was born naturally from this feeling of awe – we wanted to bring a sense of this feeling back to Ireland."
Where do you get your inspiration from?
"Travel will always be at the heart of everything we do. Visiting new places, seeing new sights and experiencing different cultures. We are lucky that we now get to share our travels with our children, so our trips are a family affair.
"Over the years, we have built fantastic relationships with the same gemstone hand cutters, so when it comes to sourcing our gemstones, we go to Jaipur and immerse ourselves in the experience."
You have just launched DA:YT in Arnotts, was this a natural progression for the business? And why did you think it was the right move?
"DA:YT is actually a new venture for us – we have always worked in the jewellery industry, so taking the step into working with designer watch brands is a new departure for us. It’s exciting to work with international fashion brands. We felt that there was space in the market for our new concept in watch buying – all of the brands we stock are featured on one key wall, in a similar style to how you might see sunglasses.
"We have curated a really tight collection from six designer brands, including Emporio Armani, Cluse, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger and Daniel Wellington."
What is the biggest difficulty you have faced in business?
"Our biggest hurdle to date came on what should have been the most exciting day for us. Opening our concession in House Of Fraser Dundrum was a huge milestone for us as a small business. We signed terms and conditions and then, on the actual day we went instore in Dublin, Lehman Brothers collapsed.
"It was a risky time as if we didn’t hit the sales, we still had to cough up the money. We were lucky that we have a loyal customer base and that even through this scary time, we went from strength to strength."
What is your favourite part of the job?
"For me, I think I am at my best when I am designing. When we are travelling, I am always sketching, keeping little mementoes like flower petals, shells and leaves. One of our bestselling collections is called Cocoa Pod, named after the cocoa pod plantations, we visited in Mexico – I found myself picking up these beautiful little pods, fascinated by their organic shape and texture.
"I usually spend our return flights scribbling and getting my ideas down on paper, so when we arrive home to our workshop in Dublin, myself and Vincent get to work on bringing my ideas to life. I thrive on this process and seeing something go from a pencil sketch in a notepad to a finished piece that someone will treasure and create their own memories with. It’s the reason we do what we do."
Is it difficult being in business with your husband?
"We have learned to get our balance right working together over the years. It took a bit of time, but we learned quickly that something as simple as being in separate offices, with doors, makes a huge difference. Working together is great, but so is having our own space in our small workshop. It’s great to know that there is always someone who gets my ideas and backs me up 100%, and likewise, for Vincent. We are a team."
How do you balance your home and work life?
"We are lucky to work close to our home, so our home and work-life blend pretty easy. Our dogs are usually in our workshop with us all day and our children pop in and out. But as we work together all day, we make a point of not talking shop when we are home in the evening and on the weekend – that’s family time."
What is the biggest challenge facing the Irish market and your business right now?
"I think fast fashion is a challenge, especially for craftspeople and designers. So much care and consideration go into creating special pieces and they are made slow to last longer. Being aware of what we make and the impact we have on the Earth is so important to us, so we are working towards ensuring that all of our packagings are eco-friendly by 2021."
"Currently, we work with recycled gold and silver from jewellery, giftware and electronic industries. Using recycled materials means our impact on the Earth is lessened and we are working to meet the expectations of our earth-conscious customers as well as our social conscience."
What's next for Juvi Designs?
"We have so many amazing projects on the horizon... I have to keep them under my hat at the moment, but we are in the throes of developing one major new concept for us and also a new concession in a very prestigious department store.
"It’s a really exciting time for us – it’s all go – so watch this space!"
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