ViJouX – Setting off

I was born in a small (not so small anymore), seaside town in Cameroon, West Africa. With both English and French as its national languages, I wanted to choose a name for my business, that reflected my roots and also transmitted the style I was aiming for.

ViJouX is a portmanteau of Victoria and bijoux, the french word for jewel. French is, to me, one of the sexiest languages in the world. As complex as it is to learn (mimicking complex inspiration), it can be simplified rather easily in everyday conversation – You’ll hopefully get the connection once you read the ‘Vijoux Products’ half of this post. Other names I considered, included Mijoux, Manet (from my names) and Jmanei (pronounced Imani).

A few friends and family agreed that Vijoux sounded unusual but not so crazy that it would put people off. I hope we were right! 🙂

Continuing from my first post, starting the business has not been an easy process. My skill as a hobbyist were, and in many, many ways still are, desperately lacking when put up against my ideas. Since those early days, I have invested a lot more through research, better tools, better quality materials and learning new skills.

In the beginning, crafting was hard for me as wire wrap did not, in my mind, allow me the freedom to create the shapes my mind conjured. As my skill repertoire grows, I find that the images come faster than ever before. Nothing would give me more pleasure than being locked up in a room all day, playing with wire and sheet, torches, pliers and cutters but there is much more to life and business. Over the last 18 months, I have experimented with wire, clay, PMC (precious metal clay) and now sheet metal (copper). It is thoroughly amazing and entertaining, how one can get materials to do the most amazing things, if you tease them just right! Silver sheet is next on my list and eventually, gold, finances allowing.

Finally, here we are. A website, facebook page, google+ profile, blog and heaven knows what else.
It is one heck of a grind, setting up!!
Any creative person will tell you, that the administrative work involved in setting up a business is more intense than crafting. THAT is no lie!! But for those who need inspiration, I recently read on google+, that marketing is just another way of being creative. If we all thought of it that way, it would be much less stressful and infinitely more rewarding. We are doing nothing more than sharing our passion for what we do, in the hope that someone somewhere, agrees.

ViJouX Products

Vijoux jewellery includes a range of styles influenced by a vast catalogue of ideas, images and experiences.
Generally, I would describe my pieces as ranging from folksy/boho inspired, through to glamourous but with a concurrent thread of exquisite simplicity. Influenced by plants, engineering, geography, animals and science, Vijoux jewellery aims to transmit the beautiful complexity of these vehicles in clean simple lines.

Take for example, the crochet (not to be confused with knitting) jewellery. Many fans and customers comment that the pieces are delicate and complicated looking but much of the jewellery is made using the easiest stitches in crochet. The complexity arises from the materials used and the skill required to form pleasurable but durable styles. Working with 0.4mm and 0.2mm wire presents many challenges, none more problematic than breakage, but also allows me to form the most amazing shapes thanks to the malleability of the high gauge wires. It is also one of the most demanding to create. Using a thimble decreases my sensitivity and makes me less responsive to the wire. Conversely, the increased sensitivity and control is accompanied by sometimes intense pain, as the wire rubs against and irritates the fingers, which can last for days.

With time, the jewellery has evolved naturally from gilt plated (thin gold film) wire and glass beads to natural gemstone beads, pearls, crystals and gold-plated wire, with a view to 14k gold filled, and vermeil (sterling silver plated with gold – pronounced ver-may).

Future collections will feature sheet metal creations, enamel and resin. Leather and cord also present a myriad of possibilities and it will be an exciting journey, learning to work with these materials. Wherever possible, materials are sourced locally, helping in my own small way to keep British businesses operational. This also means we are able to guarantee standards of quality control and offer customers the best product possible. An ever-increasing number of new and recycled materials available to craft makers also presents no end to the innovation that can be brought to the market.

It would be impossible (or rather, a Thesis-long project) to tell you all you may need or want to know about me and Vijoux but I am only an email away (Phone calls are not always best because I may be in the middle of a project or in a meeting). Drop me a line or leave a comment and I will be glad to get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

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