Kalà Bijoux Designs... How it all began
How I turned my hobby into a full time job which I love !
Thanks to the lock down and all the spare time I had, I got to learn a new skill and discover a passion for jewellery designing
I first signed up for jewellery making classes for beginners at Rathmines College at the beginning of 2020.
I didn’t know what to expect but I needed a new hobby and jewellery making sounded fun. From the very first class, I was hooked. I had an amazing teacher, Fiona who is also the owner of dinkdesign.ie. She was patient and she explained everything so well. The Wednesday evening jewellery making classes quickly became the highlights of my weeks.
After about four classes, news of Covid hit and the possibility of schools shutting down. At our last class Fiona gave me a loan of some tools along with material and she told me to practice at home and to send her photos of my work. (This was back when we all thought the lock down would only last a few weeks.) So I did. I had no work for the next six months, roughly and making jewellery became the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
I had been suffering from anxiety for a long time at this point and was trying to numb the pain and still my mind as best I could. Discovering jewellery making and unleashing my creative side brought me serenity and peace of mind that I hadn’t experienced before. It made me happy to put it simply. It was like when I started creating pieces, all my worries and anxiety didn’t seem quite so heavy.
I quickly ran out of material and luckily Fiona also provides very affordable jewellery supplies on her website and she happens to live a couple kilometers away. So, I became a very loyal customer during lockdown.
I would think of designs while trying to fall asleep at night and I’d force myself to remember them in the morning.... Which I usually managed.
I’d wake up and start drawing my ideas from the night before and shortly after my morning coffee I would start designing new pieces. It did not take long before the kitchen table was no longer big enough to be my workspace. I was commited enough to jewellery to decide to make my own workspace in the bedroom.
Combining beads and chain and creating absolutely anything I wanted became my passion. I knew this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to design jewellelry. It became like a sort of therapy for me. Audiobooks and jewellery filled my days.
I needed a brand name. Something short, catchy, easy to say in different languages. I wanted something exotic and fun but that had meaning too. After a lot of research, I came across the word Kalà
Meaning and Origin of the word Kalà:
There was no hesitation, that was the beginning of Kalà Bijoux Designs...
I spent about seven hours a day, seven days a week for the first two months of lockdown working in my studio with a plastic bust as a model, who I named Tina ( short for Quarantina).
I started making all sorts of summer jewellery which I was hoping would be a hit for the summer festival season which was unfortunately non existent in 2020.
Fiona was so supportive during this whole time and encouraged me to start my online shop on Etsy, which I did by March.
I didn’t make a lot of sales but I kept creating and learning thanks to Youtube videos and Pinterest and by May 2020, I had made my first promotional video.
It had been a tough few months for everyone in lockdown and while people are not buying a lot of jewellery at this time. However, creating and designing our own jewellery is completely different. Its relaxing, fun and rewarding so I decided that I wanted to organise socially distanced jewellery workshops for beginners as a fun an safe activity to transition out of confinement.
I ordered the tools and materials in bulk, I got a webcam and a HDMI cable which would connect to a TV through my laptop so the students could see what I was doing on the TV. I contacted a few schools and found a classroom to rent in Seda College and by August I held my first and very successful workshop. It is now a monthly event. I love watching people design and learn and mainly seeing their joy when they realise what they were able to create.
As I am writing this, I am in the middle of building my own website and I am very grateful to have had all this free time during lockdown to discover this hobby, which quickly became a passion and now a business.
Once again, a huge thank you to Fiona. I would not have found my passion if it was not for your classes.
I would also like to thank my partner Oly, who supported me from the start. Who never complained about the array of tools, broken bits of metal, countless beads, plastic limbs or jewellery scattered around the house. Who gave me his free monthly Audiobook credits when I ran out of mine. Who believed in me from the moment I came back from my very first class with a smile on my face and the crazy idea that I would one day be designing my own jewellery.