How did you learn how to gold smith?
It really started because my great grandfather was the king of Ethiopia’s goldsmith. That was a fun story growing up. My dad hired a goldsmith outside of the family to train us and then when I graduated high school I went to school for it.
Was there anything in particular that drew you to this industry?
I think mostly just a girl liking sparkly things. Being Armenian, jewelry is definitely a thing. When you’re born you get jewelry, when you graduate. Every occasion.
For your jewelry and as a business owner, is there a specific inspiration you can draw on?
My style is very fluid, from modern all the way through to vintage so anything can inspire me. Looking outside at the trees, okay well now let’s draw something more organic. I do find that I have a very eclectic patterning, I’m not very exact on my designs which makes it easy for me to work with customers because then I just figure out what they want. It makes it easier to design according to what they would like, rather than fitting it in to specific designs.
We do a lot of custom. I like fulfilling what they’re wanting, I think that’s more fun.
Because I’ve done enough creating what I would like to do, now its fun to see what others would like to do.
Have you come across any major challenges in the industry or as a business owner?
It was very hard to start up, it’s a very tight little group. You have to wedge your way in there, get into the market and figure out how to bid for diamonds and everything. And then establishing the fact that if I’m not satisfied, I’m sending the diamond back, so they get the point that I want what I want. That was a hard thing to get into but once that was established with all of my suppliers they’re going to be straight forward and very clear and they know they’re sending me the best thing because its coming back otherwise. But that’s the learning curve, and once you’ve got that its good.
Did you get to choose your location?
Yes! It’s downtown, it’s just a cute little street, and it’s so pretty here. I think that’s what ultimately ended up being why we chose it; it just feels so comfortable. It is a little bit off the regular beaten track so traffic is one of those things, we’re trying to draw people, but
I find that most of our clientele are word of mouth. They found me and they’re coming to me.
Do you find a lot of support in the business community downtown, or in your own industry?
In the industry we get to know each other, of course. For downtown as a whole I would say, not really. Isn’t that interesting? Maybe because I’m not on Douglas or Government. Sometimes we feel like the forgotten little neighbourhood.
Is it a male-dominated industry?
Yes, I’d say so. Most of my suppliers are men, I know one female rep.
And what is in style right now?
It’s making a shift again. White gold has been very popular over the years but now we’re seeing a lot of two-tone, mixes of white and rose, white and yellow, and even yellow and rose. That makes it fun. We do a lot of vintage. This is why I like Victoria, it just makes sense for our city. We’ve got the Empress and then we’ve got modern buildings. With jewelry, that’s exactly what’s happening.
We’ve got the vintage and we’ve got the modern and its all coming together.