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In Behind The Scenes/ Things We Love

Our Interview with Bridal Editor | JUVELAN: behind the brand

You think you knew everything about us already? I’m sure you will get to know one or two things you absolutely didn’t know yet when you keep on reading.

Last year we discovered Bridal Editor, a blog for unique brides looking to break the rules and take to the aisle as truly themselves. When founder and editor Sarah Tippett asked us if we had the time to sit down for an interview with her we were thrilled. Answering her refreshing questions about JUVELAN, our background and of course some bridal related toppics was so much fun. When the interview went online we knew that we had to share this with you as well since it reveals so much about Fredrik and I and what goes on behind the scenes. Let’s not wait any longer, here comes our interview with Bridal Editor.

Paving the way for timeless, enchantingly delicate bridal jewellery – that’s created to be handed down through generations to come (or sooner if your daughter or niece spies them beforehand) – up-and-coming jewellery label, Juvelan is causing waves with their beguiling bridal creations, not to mention the arrival of their latest two-part bridal collection…

The driving force behind the brand? The dynamic pairing: Johan Vandamme and Fredrik Andersson. This sparkling, distinguished duo have built a carefully curated brand with a truly creative spirit that they should be incredibly proud of. Threaded with a unique understanding of what women want, their designs will instantly inspire and seduce brides, whichever gown they’ve decided to wear.

Read on to learn about everything from how the label began, to which French bridal brand they’d love to collaborate with…

1. Tell us a little about how Juvelan started. When and how did the brand begin and launch?

Fredrik: “Almost a decade ago, without a plan, just with some finished designs from Johan and me having too much time to kill. The idea of turning Johan’s hobby into a business thrilled me and led us to found the company in 2010 and launch our website with online shop back in 2011. Our motto has always been slowly but surely. Because we always had the bigger picture in mind, we never wanted to rush things and grow too fast too soon.”

Johan: “For the first years, we launched a bunch of everyday collections that were colourful but we still had no real plan. All we wanted to do was make beautiful jewellery that put a smile on everyone’s face. At the end of 2014, we launched our very first bridal jewellery collection. And that was the start of something we could never have dreamt of. We still make everyday jewellery collections because everyone needs some colour in their daily life, but the core of our label is definitely our bridal collections.”

2. Who is Johan Vandamme and Fredrik Andersson? I heard that designer Johan used to work as a professional ballet dancer and Fredrik took to stages across Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and even in China and Japan? Such expressive and skilful backgrounds!

Fredrik: “I know Johan grew up in a creative family. I, on the other hand, was more of an outsider in my family always on the lookout to join any possible choir, theatre groups and dancing classes. I had my first private singing lessons at 13 and started studying acting at the age of 15. In 2006, when I was 21, I left my home country for Germany to study musical theatre performing arts and landed my first job on stage in 2008. After that, I was hooked on earning my living by working on stage and thanks to that profession, I got to see and work in so many beautiful theatres and cities around the world.”

Johan: “I’m born and raised in Belgium in a city called Turnhout, which is close to Antwerp. At a young age, I decided I wanted to dance, and years later, I graduated from the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp as a classically trained ballet dancer. My first job straight out of school brought me to Germany, and a couple of years later, I decided to make a career shift change and landed in the beautiful world of musical theatre. That’s where Fredrik and I met over a decade ago. Our on-stage jobs are mostly in bigger cities across Europe, and rarely in the city we call home. This splendid profession allowed both of us to work around different cities as well as China and Japan.” 

3. How do you work as a team? The duo that drives this beautiful label?

Fredrik: “Since Johan is the creative and visual director, I am trying to manage all other areas such as sales, customer relationships, accounting and finances. I’ve learned during the years, that reaching out for help and outsourcing things is the best way to thrive as a business.” 

Johan: “I’m the creative director and designer of JUVELAN. Every time we shoot a new collection, I’m in charge of the creative direction and the look and feel of it. I’m the one who mainly takes care of our social media and our blog. I’ve also been manufacturing every single piece of jewellery with my own hands so far, but due to the high demand and growth of our brand that is about to change as we are in the process of training people to help out in the production.”

4. Tell us about your latest bridal collection unveiled for 2019. What’s the inspiration behind the two parts of the line (Modern Bride and Bridal Classic)? What type of bride is it aimed at?

Johan: “The “Modern Bride” collection pays homage to the strong women in our lives – our mothers, sisters and friends, and the “Bridal Classic” collection is timelessly elegant and was created to expand the existing collection and can be combined with existing pieces.

The women who wear our jewellery, be it on their wedding day or any other day in life, are modern, strong and confident with a great sense of style and know what they want in life. She also has an excellent eye for detail, loves quality and has a very romantic side.”

5. If Juvelan and the latest bridal collection could have a particular celebrity or person to be the face of the brand, who would it be? Who embodies the label in their style and personality?

Johan: “I think it would be a mixture between Carrie Bradshaw, Audrey Hepburn and Michelle Obama.”

6. What type of materials and stones does the label like to include? And why? What do these stones or material palette mean to you?

Johan: “For our Bridal collections, we’ve always used freshwater pearls and Swarovski ® crystals in all shapes and sizes with sterling silver and high quality 18-karat gold plating. For the first time, I introduced gemstones, moonstone, crystal quartz and rose quartz into our bridal collection. The fact that, just like pearls, every gemstone is unique makes every single piece of jewellery a one of a kind piece. All of those materials give me the possibility to design pieces that become a statement for the bride, without distracting from her own beauty. It is more about letting each jewel highlight the beauty of the bride in an exciting way.”

7. Tell us about the design process for a new piece or collection. Where does it begin? Where does the inspiration for a new piece or line often emerge from?

Johan: “My inspiration comes from many places. Sometimes it’s a shape that inspires me, like the circular shape that inspired me to create our “Circle of Love” collection in 2018, but most of the time it is the material that gets my creativity going. I source materials that appeal to me, and then I play around to see how I can combine them. 

During my time as a professional ballet dancer, I have learned that the big picture is made up of tiny details and the importance of paying close attention to even the smallest of things. Maybe this is where the great love for detail comes from that is reflected in my jewellery today. I have always been inspired by the individual beauty and elegance of women, and I have made it my mission to design detail-loving accessories that complement the personality and natural beauty of the woman wearing my pieces.”

8. From your experience, when it comes to brides searching for their wedding accessories – particularly their jewellery – where should they start? What should they be thinking about?

Johan: “First and foremost, they should start by staying true to their personal style. Choose accessories that reflect your personality and highlight your natural beauty. On top of that, the accessories should compliment each other, because you don’t want to end up looking like a Christmas tree. 

If you’ve found your wedding dress already (which 95% of our brides have when they come to us) have a look at what jewellery goes well with the cut/neckline of your dress. For example, a high cut dress is perfect for a pair of statement earrings and maybe a bracelet and perhaps, depending on your hairstyle, a small hair accessory like a comb. A dress with a V-neck can be perfect for a necklace. If you go for a bigger headpiece, keep the rest of your jewellery small and subtle. But in my opinion, a woman is never fully dressed without a great pair of earrings.

And when in doubt, just get in touch with us. We love to help our brides to find the perfect piece(s) of jewellery. Many of our brides send us photos from them and the dress they’ll be wearing and I love being their jewellery stylist: helping them to find the perfect jewellery for their look.”

9. Where would you like to see Juvelan as a brand in 10 years time?

Johan: “I’d love to see women all over the world wear our jewellery. It would be a real honour if our brand would be recognized internationally and to be found in stores across the globe. And, maybe have a flagship store where we can serve our costumers in person.”

Fredrik: “In 10 years I will already be 44 years old (!) and only have about 20 more years before I’m “officially “retired. Because of that, I’d like to see Juvelan being at a point where it’s a well-known brand worldwide with a strong bridal jewellery line as well as a fine jewellery line for non-brides. I would want to have a well-structured company where we have a great team working for us in all kind of areas whether it’s production, packaging, sales department, accounting and so on.”

10. Talk us through a regular work day, what does Johan and Fredrik get up to?

Fredrik: “I am an early bird, so my office time usually starts no later than 8 am. First thing I do, is having a look in the calendar to see what I have on my plate that day. The second thing is to answer the latest emails which usually takes between 1-2 hours, depending of course. It continues with opening up the production list where I first put in all the newest orders and then I look into the orders Johan finished so that I can prepare the packing and shipment. This also usually takes 1-2 hours depending on what has to go out that day. After all of this, it’s time to check up on the finances. Did all bills get paid, did we pay all bills? Thankfully, most of the transactions are all going automatically, so there’s mostly not so much to do. When all of this is done, usually Johan and I are sitting down to brief each other with what’s new and to plan the future.”

Johan: “Let’s be honest, there’s no real regular working day cause there’s always something new that comes up. After (or during) breakfast, Fredrik and I usually have a talk to see what’s on the table at the moment. We’ll decide who takes care of what task and then go our separate ways and start our day. 

I prefer to start by taking care of custom projects since they need my full and clear brain to be creative. I source the right materials, put ideas on paper and then communicate it with the bride. Then I’ll spend some time making jewellery and when orders are finished I pack them up so they can be shipped out on time, so our brides receive their jewellery on time for their wedding day. I also love to take time to photograph styled shots from our jewellery, which are photos we use for our social media and our website. I’ll then do some social media planning and prepare upcoming blog posts.

I feel like there are at least another 100 things I do during the day, but these pretty much sum up a regular workday.”

11. Name a celebrity wedding you loved…and why?

Johan: “Except for looking at the photos in the media, I’ve never been into celebrity or Royal weddings. I can tell you I loved Meghan Markle, Olivia Palermo and Solange Knowles’ wedding dresses because they were so modern and sleek. 

But I can tell you my favourite wedding-related scene in a movie is Carrie’s Vogue wedding dress photo shoot in the Sex and the City movie. ☺”

12 If you could create a bespoke piece of jewellery for any celebrity (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you create?

Johan: “There are so many women I would love to design jewellery for, but I’ll tell you two of them.

The first one is one of my absolute favourite singers Sara Bareilles and the second one is Melissa McCarthy, who’s one of my favourite and funniest actresses. I would love to design both of them a stunning pair of earrings.”

13. If you could collaborate with another brand, be it another accessory brand or a bridal dress label, who would it be and why?

Johan: “I would love to collaborate with the French label Rime Arodaky. Her work is so incredibly elegant, very feminine, romantic and yet very modern.”

14 Name a designer or brand that inspires you with their work, and why?

Johan: “I cannot just name one. Ellie Saab, Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa just to name a few cause the there are a lot of designer who’s work I admire. In my opinion all of these brilliant designers know how to dress a woman by making the most elegant and romantic designs for the modern woman.”

THE QUICK FIRE ROUND: JOHAN

  1. Summer or Winter? “Summer.”
  2. Pet hate? “People who make noise when they eat.”
  3. Favourite wine? “Still water.”
  4. Fill in the following sentence: ‘I can’t live without “my husband – sounds cheesy but its true.”
  5. Pearls or diamonds? “Pearls.”
  6. Coffee or tea? “Fresh Milk :-D.”
  7. Favourite destination and why? “Any place where I can see my family and friends. And, a warm tropical designation for a relaxing holiday.”
  8. Early rise or lie in? “Lie in, but I can’t remember the last time that happened.”
  9. Finish the following sentence: ‘I’d love to meet “Meryl Streep”
  10. Favourite book? “Can’t remember the last time I read one…”
  11. Favourite way to relax? “Listening to music, cook, watch a movie.”

THE QUICK FIRE ROUND: FREDRIK

  1. Summer or Winter? “Summer.”
  2. Pet hate? “Annoying people.”
  3. Favourite wine? “Merlot.”
  4. Fill in the following sentence: ‘I can’t live without “coffee.”
  5. Pearls or diamonds? “Diamonds.”
  6. Coffee or tea? “Coffee.”
  7. Favourite destination and why? “Sweden. Because it always makes me calm and leaves me thinking the world is a good place.”
  8. Early rise or lie in? “Early rise. Always and every day.”
  9. Finish the following sentence: ‘I’d love to meet “Oprah Winfrey”
  10. Favourite book? “The Millennium series about Lisbeth Salander.”
  11. Favourite way to relax? “Sitting in the garden early in the morning with a coffee before the world is waking up.”

Discover more about our latest bridal collection here.

Discover more about Juvelan on Bridal Editor here.