At times, it’s all about luck and being in the right place at the right time. Connections don’t hurt either, the “you know someone who knows someone” has always been a get-ahead factor for many. (Ahemmm, just ask Olivia Jade). Neither of these notions applies to jeweller Josanne Mark.
How else to explain how a girl from Fyzabad with a degree in psychology ends up being a selected jeweller for British Vogue’s showcase. Josanne’s talent is undeniable, ever since her decision to pursue her fascination and obvious gift with jewellery design she has made some bold choices with little money, luck or connections all of which have led the right people in the business to take note. And if you can get better than the pages of Vogue, Josanne Mark is determined to find it.
Today we are thrilled to talk with the Fyzabad based jeweller about her love for good design, her scary jump into that world, her time in NYC and getting her brand into the pages of an international magazine all the while maintaining her small town, country girl roots. We also chat with her about her use of social media to build her brand.
I am humbled and appreciative. Thank you!
My career path was definitely unplanned. Some say it was destiny, some say it was my tenacity and diligence, others say it was due to my almost childlike sense of open-mindedness to possibilities. I graduated from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Jewelry Design but I didn’t’ start there. My first degree is in Psychology and Human Resource Management and I got that right here at home at the University of The West Indies. But after graduating and looking for a job in my field for months, my zeal began to waver and I began creating beaded jewellery, it was just for me and it was just a way to pass the time. It was just a hobby then.
You’re right. It became my passion, I took a small loan to fund a trip to New York City with the intention of vending on the streets of Soho. My jewellery was a hit and that’s actually when I began taking my hobby seriously and really developing my craft. I returned home and began building my name in the local luxury market but I still didn’t have any training in the field. One Sunday, I came across an article in the newspaper about a young female Trinidadian handbag designer who was doing big things in NYC. In the article, the designer talked about getting her foundation at a college called FIT. I didn’t even know a university like that existed but less than 20 minutes into my research, I knew that whatever the sacrifice I had to make, I would do it. It is where I wanted to be.
I like to think of it in the way Oprah defines it: “where preparation meets opportunity”. A few years ago, during one of the frequent conversations I often have with myself I knew I had to have a website, something that was not just good, but something that was spectacular, one that compared to the big ticket designers. I decided to build it myself.
I am certainly not a tech-savvy person. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my lifetime but the self-talk that fueled my drive. Fast forward to two years later, I received an email from someone at British Vogue who found my website and thought that I was a good fit for their designer’s feature.
Oh no, I didn’t scream! I wined (hehe). My Mom was the first to know. Then we both wined!
I’m unwilling to take no for an answer and I believe I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to. We are all capable; tenacity and discipline are all it takes. Staying grounded and maintaining your sense of honesty, fairness and integrity is also important to success.
Yes. I am heavily inspired by the natural world; I suppose I’m a true “country girl”. Through the eyes of a designer, there is so much to notice in nature by way colour, lines and texture and there is also such richness and beauty in cut gems. My design philosophy is a truly panoptic one. I harmonize organic and geometric elements with bold textures, which results in a diverse design style. It’s unpredictable yet identifiable when you see a piece you know it’s mine.
I struggle with planning. I typically put up content as I feel it. This feels most organic to me. I pay attention to my captions and I post what I “feel” at the time. For me, it’s difficult to write captions in advance.
I really wish I could be better at planning my content in advance. I am sure it will save me time. It’s one of the conversations I intend to keep having and I’ll keep trying
I really just go with the flow. As an independent designer, I’m involved with every aspect of my product, from the concept to the creation/production so I’m able to give my audience a glimpse into what happens behind the scene, at my workbench. This is all very organic. I’d stop in the middle of what I’m doing (dirty hands and all) take a picture and I’d either post it right away or save it or post at the end of the day. Then, there are the more commercial type product photos that I also shoot myself. I sometimes pair these with another image to add the right emotion to the post. This entails more in-depth thought. I use online tools such as Canva to compose these visuals.
I have a playful mind and I often see my work as play. There’s no shortage of ideas when you allow your mind to wander freely. However, I do stay on top of my game with regard to new advances in my industry. The jewellery industry is constantly evolving and new technology means greater possibilities from a creative standpoint.
Never! I find that it’s harder to be creative when I’m in a big city atmosphere.
Only with a lot of positive self-talk.
I’m finally fully involved in the bridal and wedding market. It began with a few individual orders for customised pieces but the demand has increased. I’ve added a new section to my website (Engagement/Bridal and Commissions gallery). With this service, I really get to connect with customers and participate in making dreams come true; a deeply fulfilling process from start to finish.
Internationally it will have to be Monique Pean and locally, Rachael Ross.
You can contact Josanne Mark here.