Savanah Al Badri is a London based jewellery designer whose creations combine sophisticated glamour with delicate femininity through her designs and choice of materials.
Her statement pieces are inspired by the ancient Arabian and Indo Persian cultures. Her items of jewellery feature numerous traditional designs adapted by her for the modern woman. Each piece is handmade using colourful semi-precious gemstones and natural pearls as the core of her designs.
She believes that “only the best piece of jewellery can show your personality and taste and present you as a unique individual to others.”
Savanah started embroideries, jewellery and accessory designs during her time as a student. She later worked in both London and the Middle East as a beauty and fashion editor for various high profile Arabic lifestyle magazines such as Al Jamila, L’Official and Zahrat Al Khaleej. During this time she continued her passion in jewellery design. Her job took her to many different countries and gave her the opportunity to meet numerous famous designers from different disciplines. This gave her a unique experience and perspective on design.
Her unique collections are currently available online from www.savanahjewellery.com
Savanah, what motivated you to be a jewelry designer?
I like beauty in all its kind, my passion for gorgeous jewellery motivated me to design distinctive and exclusive pieces that I could wear but couldn’t find anywhere else. For me jewellery complements every style and gives an edge to any outfit and makes it stands out. A piece that reflects my very taste and personality is what I strive for in my designs. For me, it is less about the outfit and more about the wearer, I believe that jewellery is very personal, it could tell a lot about the person wearing it, even if she wants to project a simple, outgoing and subtle image.
Can you tell us how did this all start?
This all goes back to my childhood, I used to have that instinct & taste for choosing the right outfit & accessories. During my graduation year I started doing hair accessories and not long after my graduation I pursued my dream by designing outfits and establishing a line of hair accessories in Iraq, my country of origin. I later moved to the UK and before starting my current jewellery line, I spent many years working as Fashion and Beauty Editor for various high end fashion and lifestyle magazines such as Al Jamila, L’Officiel & Zahrat Al Khaleej magazine and also as a PR manager for beauty and fashion brands in the UAE and UK. These jobs helped me to refine my taste and be inspired by the many designers and entrepreneurs that I met. I had the chance to meet leading fashion and jewellery designers and organizations, to name a few, Sir Paul Smith, Bobbi Brown, Fendi, Gucci and Chumet, and others, at their workshop and had the chance to have a closer look at their design process and work ethics. All this just made me more determined to one day start my own handmade jewellery brand.
Does one go to a proper school to become who you are? Where did you acquire this expertise?
I am a self-learner. In my opinion, it is not necessary to go to school to be a jewellery designer, if you have the passion and acquire the knowledge and skills then the creativity will fellow. Of course, school and related courses are required to be aware for the latest techniques and expose the learner to the craftsmanship in making the jewellery.
Who was your inspiration to go into this line of business? What made you wake up one day and say, “This is what I am going to do”?
I wanted to create something unique in an area that I enjoyed and had a lot of passion for. It takes years of dedication and effort to be in this field. It was not a sudden decision but one that developed over the years and became a natural choice.
Did you ever think you will be one day? What would you have been had you not been a jewelry designer.
I hoped and longed always to have my own business. And since I worked in fashion and beauty from the beginning of my career it was always a natural choice to make it a reality. I would have set up my own PR and media related business, since I have a good background in the subject, if I was not doing this.
What was the most challenging part in this line of business?
To put the idea together and bringing it to reality, and see the material bond together and become unique pieces. On the business side of things, you need to get your designs out there and give a full background on your creation so that people can relate to them.
Tell us a very unforgettable moment in the business that makes you look back and laugh about it. A learning curve or a defining moment in your line of business.
It may have to be the first time I saw a finished product all those years back and later completing a whole collection based on that design. I’d needed rework a few times to make sure it was comfortable, functional and attractive. When it was finally completed, it was such an amazing feeling to see something that had started in my head comes to life. I still get that feeling every time I see a piece transform from idea to reality.
The market is tough on the blade when it comes to jewelry designs, how do you keep in being competitive in this line of business.
By bringing new ideas, and operating in a niche market. Being distinctive with the items I produce and target specific clients who would appreciate the value of the piece.
Why UAE? Do you think there is a UAE market that is ready for you? How will you convince the unforgiving market like the UAE who only wants top of the line products?
I feel it is very important step in as an Arab designer to introduce my brand to the Middle East market. I have the right design for the region as my creations have all been inspired by Arabic culture and the fact that they are of high quality handmade with craftsmanship which make for perfect products for this market.
What makes you different from all others?
My design style is unique, I am inspired by Persian and Arabic cultures but I make my designs more appealing to the modern woman by giving it an urban touch. What is also unique about my jewellery is that I do exclusive pieces, never more than a few pieces of each design. They are simple yet elegant; there is harmony even though the colors clash. I use semi-precious stones and pearls to give it a rich feel as colour is a definitive part of my design style. Also craftsmanship is noticeably present in every piece I design. These are really what differentiate my collection, and something I never compromise on.
Who inspires you to keep going in this line of business?
The nature in its vibrant color, and our ancient Arabian and Mesopotamia culture has big influence on my design, that rich culture where jewellery is symbol of beauty, elegance & power. Also, I draw inspiration from fashion trends as jewellery and fashion complement each other. And a lot of the time, I just come up with designs by experimenting with the materials and following my instinct to create a unique piece. Once the passion and creativity meets then this work provides unlimited joy to me.
What advice would you give to aspiring jewelry designers like you?
Never give up, no matter how many obstacles you face. And always believe in yourself. A one thousand mile journey starts with one mile.
What business lessons would you like to share?
Believe in yourself, be confident in what you are doing. Have a business plan and be prepared for hard work.
Tell us your future plans.
I am working to expand my collection, by injecting different kind of semi -precious stone with vibrant colors, and introducing more unique statement pieces influenced by our Mesopotamian culture, as well as participating in international jewellery events. It is important to me that each piece I design is beautiful, wearable and makes the wearer feel special
Anything you might want to add?
Happiness can be in different forms, if you work hard, you can be happy doing something you love. That will be the most rewarding gift.