JAMusic: What would you say the premise of the accessory line is built upon? The ideology behind it all.
SJ: The line was conceptualized based upon the idea that African culture should be embraced. Our mission is to celebrate love, African culture and creativity through beautiful handmade jewelry.
JAMusic: What gave you the nudge to take this daring step, from training to becoming Navigational Officers, to create such a line?
SJ: We enjoyed our training to become Navigational Officers. However, after returning from separate 6month sea voyages, it became obvious to us that this career path was not ideal for us and the vision we had for our future. We wanted to do something that would positively affect our family for generations to come. Growing up, Ashenafi observed his father operating multiple businesses, knowing that one day he would do the same. My parents are both artists and like Ashenafi’s parents, they raised me to appreciate my African heritage, so it was only natural that whatever business we started would be related to Art and African culture.
JAMusic: Siwatu Jewelry will be seen as redefining preconceived notions of ‘statement pieces’, how do you see the vision of the line evolving over the years?
SJ: We have so much more to learn about jewelry making techniques and even more to learn about African Culture. As we personally grow, it will be reflected in our pieces. We see the line becoming more abstract while still maintaining a sense of simplicity.
JAMusic: What is the ultimate aim for the brand?
SJ: To ignite a passion for African Culture within those who are unaware of it.
JAMusic: Being authentically Jamaican with an affinity for African culture and heritage will be the important notion behind the brand. How best do you see the pieces accentuating a sense of individuality?
SJ: We create pieces that we love and are quite meaningful. It’s just a happy accident that they are unique.
JAMusic: If you don’t mind us asking, how are you utilising social media and digital influence to market your brand? I note where you don’t have a physical store and mainly market through your website.
SJ: We advertise on social media platforms and have had positive results. It is more feasible to operate completely online. Having a physical store in Jamaica would limit us as our aim is to focus on the international marketplace.
JAMusic: What do you think of the new era of accessories and ushering a new sense of beauty without boundaries?
SJ: It’s inspiring to see the limitless creativity that is expressed through this new era of accessories and the positive influence it has on the wearer; allowing them to express themselves freely without having to say a word.
JAMusic: How do you view the present state of the fashion industry?
SJ: We don’t really pay close attention to the fashion industry.
JAMusic: Consumers are so smart today and they can easily read through the lines; anything that feels manufactured will easily be transparent. How does Siwatu Jewelry maintain that idea of authenticity with each piece handmade?
SJ: Actually, we have found that quite a number of consumers (especially Jamaicans) are unaware of the value of handmade pieces versus manufactured pieces. Often times we show the jewelry making process on our social media accounts to let our customers understand the time and effort that goes into each piece.
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