Inspired by a family history in jewellery making and an unquenchable passion for custom jewellery, Yana Azzopardi has dedicated the last eight years to designing and making a wide range of elegant accessories, which took little time to become a national and international success. What started off as a hobby, soon turned into the launching of her own brand, Yana’s Jewellery, in 2010.
Yana is self-taught as a jewellery designer, but she has been invited to exhibit her first collection in the trendy setting of Brick Lane, London, and soon the exponential success of her new brand prompted her to take up her hobby full-time by expanding her brand and opening her own shop in 2013. In May 2018 she opened her second shop in Sliema. She talks to Eve about her highs and lows, and about her daily rituals that keep her going.
Eve: You’ve been inspired by family history in jewellery making, and today you have your own brand. How did this really evolve in your life?
Yana Azzopardi: It evolved gradually throughout my first two years, as at that time handmade jewellery was still new in Malta. After endless hours of processing designs in my own bedroom, research, promotion, social media and networking, I formulated a business plan and opened my first shop in 2013.
I wanted to introduce a new concept. My first campaign was “Think of it as an experience.” I aimed to target women of all ages to come by my shop and customise their own jewellery. My vision was simple and attractive, it consisted of beautiful stones, material and jewellery. People responded, and this enabled me to keep growing and expanding.
Eve: What have been your highlights during these five years?
YA: My biggest highlight this year was celebrating five years of Yana’s Jewellery, and I got to celebrate it at my new shop in Sliema. I took part in Malta Fashion week twice, which was a big success, and I was chosen as one of Malta’s 100 remarkable women in 2017.
Eve: Meanwhile, what has been the single greatest challenge in your career so far?
YA: Opening my second shop was another huge step after quitting my full-time job to focus entirely on my jewellery business. Training and finding the perfect team is also a struggle at first, but I can say I have achieved my goal, I now have a team of four people who work excellently.
Eve: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
YA: First thing I do is plan my social media stories. I also love editing photos and find my mornings the perfect time to do so before a hectic day. I plan my orders and try to reply to people’s messages. After a few deep breaths I can then start my day. I also make sure to not leave without my rings and choker.
Eve: Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
YA: In ten years I possibly see myself managing my third shop (who knows)/ I hope to showcase my jewellery in London or Milan Fashion week and to obviously keep aiming high.