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The past, the present and the future.




As some of you might remember I have started Nallik in 2010/11. The idea was first received in London, and I quit my high flying job as art director in Soho to move to NYC and start the brand and explore more with stones from all over the world. I quickly received my first wholesale order from Anthropologie, over 2000 pieces for the US market, only a few months later.


Later I moved the brand to Berlin and opened a concept store in Mitte, as well as a pop up in Bikini Berlin.


It was a busy time: the store was featured in WGSN's website as a hot tip for Berlin, so people from Tokyo, London, LA, Sydney and so on came visit and had us wondering, until I asked one of the customers and she showed me a screenshot. The yearly premium subscription fee for WGSN as a leading trend website was about $20,000, not sure if it still is, so a place for trend leaders, big brands and agencies.


I also distributed all over the world to stores, mostly concept, some department. In fact, from the beginning of founding Nallik, people have loved the pieces I made and the demand was crazy.


So much so, that after a while I needed to employ people to help me. And here was when it became difficult. To grow that rapidly I needed either to change the product or let go of my connection to the stones.

Why?


Because the way I do it, I choose the rough stones as a part of a design process already. It sounds weird, but I touch them, turn them in my hands and only when I feel yes, I buy it. And I then do not do anything to its shape anymore. When I hold it initially I can see the right setting and where to place the metal and how to wrap it around the shape in my head like a vision.


So what I discovered is, when I hired people to help me make the settings, they didn't do it how I would do it. And that's completely natural, because the concept of what is beautiful is deeply personal. It's also a detailed process, more like sculpting than just "making jewelry".


People who have advised me to scale up, use the momentum, and hire more and more people never understood my dilemma. They saw only the demand which is unusual for a new small brand. Strictly from a business standpoint, it would have been right to do so.


I went to Jaipur, India, the gemstone capital, for four weeks to work with jewelers there, I went to Morocco and showed them exactly how I wanted it, and I worked with people directly in Berlin. For me the results were mostly not how I would have done it, and I felt the connection to the pieces slip away. Since we needed to make huge amounts for wholesale I had to sign off pieces I didn't feel any connection to. I made it a point to at least touch them at least once.

The other option, to not use rough stones but polished ones which you then can a fast process for, I discarded early.


I loved the idea of one of a kind pieces for each individual and the aspect of using stones that in the gemstone industry are usually considered B or C as they have little flaws in them - flaws that I wanted to transform into something unique and I loved the idea of using something that others cannot see at first glance.


So in 2016/17 I noticed my energy disappearing which was also coinciding with my doctor diagnosing a severe depression because of burnout. She advised me to change something "soon!" and I didn't know how. I closed the shops first and went into e-commerce only. Parallel I stopped doing wholesale and didn't re-new contracts which wasn't great financially (most fashion and accessory brands are not profitable). It was a somehow curious move because at that time everyone wanted to be in the best stores, but it wasn't easy for me to work with them as they were only used to their order systems, huge mark ups, and article numbers.


How do you give a one of a kind piece product SKU's?


One of the last stores I worked with was MERCI in Paris and just because I adore the store and always wanted to be in it. Such an honor too because I believe I was the only non french jewelry brand - they are very selective. But after a year or so, I pulled my pieces and said goodbye as well.


Bringing myself back out of that burn out was not great. I moved back to London started to ask myself what I really wanted to do. I really am happiest when I can dig for stones for hours, like the time I went to the desert around Death Valley, got up at 4 am (like the locals, because of the heat) and went looking for opals.


Many of you who have followed me for a long time and own several necklaces (and I know so many of you love them and were great fans) might remember that time.


I went to Namibia to speak to stone sellers and to look for a possibility to maybe film a documentary, and I went with a Namibian filmmaker who has shot lots for National Geographic. Sadly we didn't find the funding. At the same time the Namibian government used Nallik as a campaign to bring more modernity to designing with gemstones without consulting with me first... I even had a meeting with the Namibian Department of Commerce to discuss copyright, but then decided to take it as a compliment and let it go.


So here we are! After the past years in senior management corporate at Swarovski HQ and working as a consultant for several other brand marketing projects I miss the process of creating something with my hands.


I've been told on several occasions about my healing powers - it's like when you create something with your hands, all the healing and power goes into that piece'. In combination to the stones' own healing qualities.


Maybe because I always felt when touching stones like I touch the essence of this earth and have drawn to it since I was a child - and act like a channel. Who knows. It certainly would be an explanation why I have so many customers who have told me very unusual and precious stories about what their pieces "did" for them and why we hardly ever had any returns, even when doing e-commerce and people couldn't touch them beforehand. I believe it is the pure state of alignment that is required when creating something beautiful just for the sake of it. It carries all the good vibes.


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