As avid Amanqi readers know, we’re constantly looking for exciting new jewellery labels to add to our accessories drawer. Whether it’s in the form of a statement necklace or a pair of sublime earrings, our jewellery wish list never ceases to end. Thus, we were more than excited to discover another contemporary luxury jewellery label to add to our holiday season wish list – Elham & Issa. This eponymous label was established by the visionary and dynamic duo, Issa Sabeh and Elham Kalaji, as a celebration of the jewellery craft. Intrigued by Elham & Issa’s journey, sources of inspiration and their insider tips, we sat down with the power couple to discover all things Elham & Issa.
The Start of The Brand Journey
Elham: After getting a BA degree in the UK, I interviewed for a job at one of the biggest companies in Jordan. It just so happened that the person who interviewed me was Issa. I was so amazed by his 30 plus years of experience and we realised that we complement each other’s work and challenge each other to do better. It was at that moment that we decided to work together, and so we became partners at work and in life.
The Many Sources of Inspiration
Elham & Issa: We strongly believe that ‘inspiration comes within’. Each of our collections is different from one another because they each tell a unique story and have their distinctive look. For example, the Mystique Collection is inspired by the golden flakes that are found on the benches in our workshop, the Amwaj Collection is inspired by a beautiful blue opal Issa discovered during his travels, the Evolution Collection is inspired by the needle-like pattern of the rutilated quartz and our latest Candy Collection is inspired by our daughter’s sweet-tooth and how she would experiment with the colours of her candy. Stones are also a big part of our design process for each collection. We have a beautiful personal collection of stones as well which we always refer back to when looking for new inspiration.
A Day in Team Elham & Issa’s Life
Elham & Issa: We now live in London but we manufacture in Jordan. We work to find balance on the team and split the work. We each have our roles within the brand. Issa handles the workshop and the craftsmanship whilst Elham sketches and designs as well as looking after the brand’s social media. We are currently working on an exciting new project which has been taking up most of our time. We are opening our very first showroom in London! It’s going to be a beautiful space which will allow us to have a place to meet our customers.
The Impact of Social Media
Elham & Issa: We founded Elham & Issa 11 years ago, so social media has certainly changed a lot for us! It’s allowed us to talk to clients on a global scale and share our passion for what we do! Before, it was very much about talking directly to customers and relying on word of mouth, but now social media has allowed us to expand ourselves to a range of different clients who we may not have had the chance to communicate with in the past.
The Brand 5 Years From Now
Elham & Issa: Our dream is for our jewellery to be all over the world! We are always looking for ways to expand our brand overseas, to share our work and stories with international customers; however we want to stay true to ourselves and offer delicate, one-of-a-kind timeless pieces with impeccable craftsmanship. We don’t want to start mass producing just to sell; we want to communicate with customers on a personal level and make them feel special, like they are a part of something.
The Insider Tip for Aspiring Designers
Elham & Issa: Be true to yourself! I’m sure many people say this in the industry, but it really is an important factor in building your brand. We don’t believe in following the crowd, we like to design pieces which have meaning, a story, and an identity. If there are any aspiring designers who are working with their partner, we would definitely recommend keeping your personal and professional lives separate, and always be sure to listen to each other and value each other’s opinions.
Follow Elham & Issa: @elhamandissa