New Year, New Projects.

Hi everybody.

It’s great to be back on here. It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a chance to.

Quite a bit has gone on behind the scenes. Unfortunately,  the girl who helped me with social media left suddenly and that put paid to a lot of plans. Particularly sad about the Vijoux Newsletter but that will be fixed soon.

Anyhoo, got some exciting new projects on the go. My new endeavour, supplying  custom shapes to other makers via Tags & Blanks, has taken off and is keeping me super busy.

I also got back into painting and have already managed to complete two commisions this year. I’ll share them in another post but you can take a peek at my work at MANYI TAKOR.

And finally, what I’m most excited about. A new collection of stamp engraved jewellery via my new facebook page Lush ‘n Mine. Hundreds of shapes which can be personalised with text and images. Fabulousity indeed 🙂

So, I’d love it if you stopped by to chat and check them out, like the page and tell your friends.

Just got pinged for another order. Apparently,  I’m not the only one who works best at night.

Got to go but I’ll see you again in about 5 mins.

🙂 xx

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Merry Christmas

It’s 8 pm and in my head was a write up about my journey since launching ViJouX in March of this year. The body has other ideas. You know that feeling you get once you reach the end of an epic journey, that one; yes! Months of late nights followed by early mornings and busy days have suddenly caught up with me; I feel physically sick with exhaustion so we’ll forget that.

It’s been a great 10 months and I am thankful for all that I have learned and achieved. There have been some huge challenges along the way but the lessons learned will no doubt serve me well in the years to come. New skills, loyal customers and planned collections until Autumn 2015 are but a few of the highlights, and the philosophy I started with and departed from has now been re-established. I feel excited about the new year and the plans for ViJouX but I’ll tell you all about that later.

For now what I really want to do is say THANK YOU. To everyone who has made this year what is has been. Lovely people I have met and gotten to know along the way, the customers whose business keeps me going and whose kind words inspired me, friends who let me cry on their shoulders and pushed me forward when it seemed all hope was lost, and complete strangers who have smiled just when I needed a human connection; you have all contributed to making this a great year for me. Ok, that’s about as much mush as I can manage 🙂

Have yourself a very merry Christmas and a fabulously, successful new year.

Manyi 😀 xx

Last-minute Christmas gift guide

Mine’s a huge circle of family and friends so the rule is to buy gifts for the kids only and that makes things a heck of a lot easier. It also means every year, I leave all of my shopping until the week before.

If you, like me, wait until the last minute to get gifts together, our last-minute guide may be just what you need. A great selection of jewellery, accessories and festive decor, you’ll be sure to find some great last-minute gifts and stocking fillers.

And what’s more? We’ve made it easier to shop from the list by creating a dedicated page of gift ideas so you don’t have to flit from page to page, looking for what you want. Sound interesting?

Shop our last-minute gift guide here

last minute guide

Facebook Christmas mega sale night

It’s the week before Christmas and if you’re anything like me, you’ve left the bulk of your shopping until the very last minute.

If that’s the case, then join me on the facebook page ViJouXfrom 8pm until 11pm tomorrow Monday 16th, for a chat and some last-minute shopping. Everything will be priced £15 and under with flat rate postage of £3.

Some of the funds raised – 50% of the profit – will be donated to St Mary’s Hospital Charity as a thank you for their fantastic work and in a bid to do my bit to keep them running all of their services.

A little under two years ago, I was a patient at St Mary’s when I went into pre-term labour. My son did not survive but the treatment and care I received made the situation a lot easier to bear. It wasn’t my first time at St Mary’s either. I had been countless times during the preceding five years – my first son was born there after a difficult pregnancy and I also received treatment during and after a second pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage and an ectopic. So as you can imagine, they have seen quite a bit of me,
and the fantastic work by the midwives on the wards and in the EGU have stayed with me.

It would be great to give something back that helps them to continue to help others like me, so I hope you join me tomorrow evening.

See you there xx

Style Concept – Crystal Rope Necklace

For the last post of the year, inspiration comes from my first lady of fashion. Her husband’s iconic animal prints and floaty kaftans are in my opinion, to die for.

But with style seemingly as removed from her husband’s designs as possible, Eva Cavalli’s strong, simple and stylish classics are just up my street.

There is an exquisite elegance to simple statement jewellery that will always come up trumps and this is exactly where the Crystal Rope Necklace falls.

image

Crystal Rooe Necklace

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Eva Cavalli via the Roberto Cavalli blog

At 136cm long and with 130 Swarovski crystals, this is one über cool and affordable rope necklace which can aldo be worn layered or wrapped around the wrist for some serious arm bling.

Check out the vijoux statement collection here

Commercial success v Integrity

I participate in a craft fair tomorrow and I haven’t made a single thing for it. Between the hustle for festive business, nursing a sick child and being bunged up with a cold, it all feels like I am waaaayyyy off tangent. It’s almost Christmas, I should be wired, exhausted and happy but mostly I feel deflated.

There was a fair bit of research involved in the planning and decision to set up this business, and one article I read has stayed with me. It was a piece on how to build a successful creative business and one of the methods was to ‘copy, copy, copy!’

ViJouX is a niche business but quickly discovered that the only time I made any impact was when I created something that in someway or other conformed to trends created by someone else’s idea. That frustrates me. 

Big companies with large advertising budgets set trends, and a deap seated need in society to be conformist keeps them in business. And that is great for them. But what about the little guys?

I have examined both sides of the coin and wondered if my creations were just not good enough but have you seen some of what sells out there??? No, that’s not it… Am I setting the bar too high? Expecting too much, too soon? Am I ahead of my time?

What ever happened to individuality? How did society become so drone-like that we fail to seek, recognise, appreciate or even love individuality? Can commercial success only be achieved by conforming to and riding the crests of trends? And what if like me, commercial success was not a driver?

It would be a bare-faced lie to say I do not crave commercial success.
I do, I do, I do!!

I want commercial success, not for the money, but for the pure egotistical satisfaction from the knowledge that something created by me adorns homes and is worn by millions around the world. I also need to impact the lives of unfortunate children around the world.

But at what cost?

If the last 9 months in business have taught me anything, it’s that I am not built to conform. My enthusiasm and energy have been slowly eroded by a world that is seemingly impervious to my efforts, leaving me on the fringes as I watch it consume cheap but expensive artificiality forced down its throat.

I wonder how many other people, convinced they have a great idea and niche, find themselves in the same position. Or worse still, in conscious denial of it.

Working to make an indelible mark on the expanse that is the world is no mean feat. The world pushes you and you have to push back. Sometimes you move back, at other times you remain immobile and rarely, you move forward. And then there are those times when you get blown completely off course.

For me, the end of my rope is here. Come the new year, there will be changes. When I wake up every morning, I will do what my soul wants to do. It will be fed by the creation of works that express its depth and breadth. And I will do what I do best. Like the cogs of the wheels that move the joints that move the piston, I will slowly but aggressively move forward.

My soul is my integrity and that is the only mark I can leave; to live a life full of nourishment for my soul.

And commercial success will not elude me because I choose my own path.
My soul will not allow it.

Style Concept – Niềm vui (JOY) pendant

copyright unknown

copyright unknown

For this week’s style concept, inspiration comes in the form of gorgeous, hazel-eyed, Hollywood actor, Terrence Howard. In the picture above, Mr Howard combines casual chic with rugged outdoorsy style, in his leather thong necklace, seen peeping past his collar.

Love his style? Then you’ll love the Niềm vui (JOY) pendant necklace which is available with blue or black leather cord necklace with adjustable Maori knots.

Buy the pendant here

JOY pendant

From Vietnam to Manchester: The THAM THEU story.

BELOVED tassel necklace

BELOVED tassel necklace

I had just returned from a Christmas trip to Cameroon and we all (we are a group of four women I affectionately call ‘Hulme Mummies’) decided to meet up. It was our first catch up since the holidays and we were keen to find out what everyone had been up to. Several hours of chat, food and drink later, my friend, Lien, owner of HairbowsWonderworld, dug out the goodies she had returned with. Amongst them, some PROPER green tea – Of course, I asked for some – and a beautiful red piece of tapestry.

Lien, like me, had returned home keen to find inspiration for her expanding wedding accessories business. Deep in the mountains of Vietnam, far off the beaten path, lie small but enterprising villages known locally for their master weavers and embroiderers and it was during one of her walks through the mountain villages that an old rug being used as a foot mat caught her eye. Beneath the layers of mud and dust, the unusual design and pristine condition of the piece beckoned to her. After convincing the rug’s owner to part with it, the 80-year-old masterpiece received a thorough wash and boarded a flight to Manchester.

I fell in love instantly. I asked Lien if it would be okay for me to take a few pictures and use the design for my jewellery and she said yes. It was late when we got home but for the first time in a long time, I couldn’t wait for morning to put my designs on paper. It took 48 hours to design the first draft of the entire collection which included other Eastern symbols.

Then it was time to choose what materials would be best for showing off the design and the palette to work with. Originally, I wanted gold-plated jewellery but for some reason, it just didn’t feel right. A little research into metals ended with two standing head and shoulder above the rest.

The THAM THEU collection was a celebration of family, love, hope, wealth and longevity. Underlying these emotions and dreams were two very important factors, health and strength, a fitting continuum to the design series.

Copper, with its warm red glow was a perfect vehicle for transmitting the subliminal passion and warmth of the calm, sure love that exists within the bond of family. Added to this, was copper’s antimicrobial properties which meant the wearer wasn’t just connected to the designs and emotions they celebrated and evoked; there was also a very direct link to the ability to remain present and healthy during this celebration.

Stainless steel is one of the strongest metals we know. It’s ability to withstand abuse is unmatched, and in many ways, humans are the same. It never ceases to amaze me, the human capacity for pain and the resilience to come out on top, against all odds. Steel was therefore another excellent choice of material with which to celebrate strength, one of the core philosophies of the collection.

Once the materials had been chosen, it was time to figure out what designs were best suited to each material and get hunting. It took a few weeks of searching and tweaking the designs to make them suitable for production – ideas are not always cost/technique/material friendly – and then it was all done! Three months from start to finish!

What I love best about this collection is that it is as dynamic as the relationships we have. Having all these loose elements means I can continue to play around with the designs and come up with different uses and combinations. A the collection continues to evolve, you will notice some designs being retired and new ones coming in on the website. Probably not this side of Christmas though… And for those who are interested, attached below is a clip from Lien’s visit (made by her cousin) and list of all my designs and what they mean.

So, now you know what was going on in my mind as I designed the collection 🙂
I guess that’s it. Enjoy!

Manyi xx

PS: If you do have any questions or requests, do drop me a line. I’d be more than happy to help.

Shop the Current THAM THEU collection here

Check out Lien’s upcoming range here

Video:

Thu cong from Nam Ngo on Vimeo.

Tham Theu; the story

Tham Theu; the story