[7 MINUTE READ]
Happy Friday everyone and welcome back for another interview! It’s July... how did that happen? With the summer months officially upon us, we are switching up our looks in favour of a beachy, carefree style. And where to begin but with some effortless jewellery?
This week we interviewed the fabulous Lin Johnson; founder, designer and CEO of Lustrous Jewellery. Lustrous Jewellery is a luxurious (obviously) demi-fine pearl jewellery brand that makes stunning fashion-forward jewellery.
We love this brand’s mix of timeless elegance and quirky nuances; they truly have some gorgeous pieces that we’re obsessed with for summer! So grab your morning coffee and keep reading to hear all about how the brand was born and how Lin finds time for jewellery while taking care of her young family...
Hi Lin! Welcome to CAROLINA GMX! Could you start by telling me a bit about your childhood and how you feel it has influenced you today?
I grew up in Shanghai, China. It is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities on the planet, where East meets West and where traditional heritage and the modern world fuse into one! Women in the city are modern and elegant, and they always try to look their best. Although I was unaware of it at the time, I think that environment has influenced me greatly.
I can definitely see that influence in Lustrous Jewellery. So, how did you get started in the jewellery industry?
I worked at a few different jobs after finishing my Masters in Marketing, but none of them satisfied me completely. I finally worked out that I needed to use my creativity to make beautiful things, so I decided to start working with jewellery!
That’s lovely. So when did you decide to start up Lustrous and why? Was the timing important?
I started Lustrous in 2015, after my youngest was born. I was looking for a new career and decided to take the leap into jewellery.
Wow! That must have been a crazy time for you with so many huge changes! Does your brand consider issues relating to sensitive skin/allergies?
Lustrous Jewellery works with natural pearls, sterling silver and karat gold, so all of our materials are friendly to sensitive skins.
"Lustrous Jewellery works with natural pearls, sterling silver and karat gold, so all of our materials are friendly to sensitive skins."
I love pearls so much and love that you use natural pearls in your pieces. Is sustainability part of Lustrous Jewellery’s brand values?
I love pearls too and it is important to note that pearls are the organic gem and sustainable on their own. Secondly, we design each piece of our jewellery to be worn for a long time! Finally, we are a direct-to-customer jewellery brand, which means we work directly with pearl farms and a small group of local craftsmen to produce our pearl jewellery. This means we have a small supply chain and in turn, a small carbon footprint.
That is really great to hear. Do you think people are more conscious of the materials in their jewellery nowadays? If so, why?
Customers are definitely more conscious of materials used in the jewellery, and they are more aware of the environmental impact our society is causing. Apart from the simple reason that I always loved pearls, another reason I choose to work with pearls is because a pearl is a natural gemstone. It can be used and appreciated without human interference, such as cutting or manufacturing. It is the most organic jewellery material.
Oh yeah! I hadn’t even thought of that. Right, so in terms of starting up Lustrous Jewellery, what were your biggest challenges?
Finding the time to work when I was starting up Lustrous, while taking care of a young family was my biggest challenge! I had to squeeze in whatever time I could find!
Gosh! That sounds hectic. How did you do it? What strategies do you think have been key to the success of your business?
I think direct-to-customer is our most important strategy and our biggest advantage because we have no middleman, which means we are able to pass on great jewellery to our customers! Creating and selling affordable everyday luxury pearl jewellery is our goal.
That is so brilliant that you are keeping your price point in mind for customers. And what is your favourite thing about your job?
I love my job because I get to do everything! From creating, manufacturing, marketing to customer service; it certainly presents its day-to-day challenges, but it is so interesting to learn and grow as I go! I’d have to say that my ultimate favourite part is creating; starting from inspiration, ideas and feelings and ending with something tangible and wearable! It’s also the best feeling in the world when customers validate my creativity by wearing my pieces or buying them for their loved ones!
Which is your favourite piece that you’ve ever created?
My favourite piece seems forever changing! I love all our pieces!
Haha. I’ll tell you mine then. I’m obsessed with the Multicolour Biwa Pearl and White Baroque Pearl Gold Chain Necklace! What do you think makes Lustrous Jewellery stand out?
I think that because we do everything ourselves our customers really benefit from a personal touch. There aren’t many brands that design and sell trend-oriented, yet luxurious demi-fine pearl jewellery with genuine cultured pearls.
They are extremely unique-looking pieces! Could you describe your biggest “pinch-me” moment since starting Lustrous Jewellery?
I feel very lucky to wake up every day and have my own business and goals to work for. Recently, we were recognised by Forbes, which was a huge honour. They described Lustrous as: “The perfect direct-to-consumer jewellery brand [that] serves customers in glam-starved, socially distanced times”.
Wow! That’s wonderful! And what inspires you in your designs and in your life?
My culture and heritage inspire me. Also, strong women from history to modern-day women inspire me; I hope I can become one that others can also seek inspiration from.
"My culture and heritage inspires me. Also, strong women from history to modern day women inspire me; I hope I can become one that others can also seek inspiration from."
I don’t doubt that they will! Could you describe what an average day looks like for you?
I normally get up before the whole house does so that I can have an hour of quiet time to either plan my day or brainstorm on some new designs. Then, I get the kids ready for school- although they are not attending school at the moment, of course! On a typical working day, I mix sorting orders, drawing up new designs, arranging photoshoots, and communicating with the manufacturer and customers. Then, before I know it, the school day has finished! At the moment we are homeschooling so I have to fit in some schooling time in between it all!
It sounds busy to say the least! Do you think you have a work/life balance?
I don't think a real work/life balance exists unless someone has a 48 hour day! I don't want to miss out on the kids growing up, so I try to attend all their events but, at the same time, I really want to be working too!
And what words do you live by?
Do everything in your control to perfection, and the next chapter will unfold itself.
That’s beautiful! So what’s next for Lustrous Jewellery?
I'd like to see Lustrous Jewellery becoming a leading international direct-to-consumer jewellery brand. Watch this space!
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