Interviewer: Nada Adel Sobhi
Editor-in-Chief of HR Revolution Middle East Magazine
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Where did you graduate from? And have your studies helped you in becoming a jewellery designer?
Mona Bizzari: I graduated from the American University in Cairo (AUC) with a bachelor in Computer Science. The method used in my studies, rather than the content, did in fact help me in my work.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: When did your passion for creating accessories and jewellery begin? And how did you start out to get to the point where you can open your own boutique?
Mona Bizzari:I began designing jewellery and launched my products online in 2009. I started professionally in 2011 and now after six years, I’ve managed to open my own place for my designs.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Creating pieces using metals is hard work, how do you reach your final product? Have you done any of the metal work yourself?
Mona Bizzari: It is actually. Normally, I draw the design on paper, perfect it then modify it to how it would look in a piece of jewellery. This is what I did with the pieces inspired by El Leila El Kebeera.
As for working with metal, yes I do go to the workshop regularly and work with my own hands. I also supervise the workers there if they are doing my designs.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Where do you go for inspiration? Do you get a block like writers’ block?
Mona Bizzari: Everywhere. I can get inspiration wherever I am. Sometimes I could just be sitting there and I would get new ideas. Although I don’t carry all of them out, there are drafts of ideas.
My pieces aren’t repeated; they’re all unique. So, luckily I’ve never had designer’s block or a block in general, thank God.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How many people currently work at Bizzari?
Mona Bizzari: Currently just me and my assistant Lamis. There are three other people at the workshop but it’s a shared workshop so they work with me and with other designers.Lamis takes care of the shop while I’m not around.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Will you be providing an online service in addition to your shop? Do you have a second job?
Mona Bizzari: I first launched my business online and will continue to do so besides opening the shop.
And no, I don’t have a second job. Bizzari is what I do.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Zamalek is considered a posh neighbourhood. Why did you pick it?
Mona Bizzari: I have a specific target audience. My customers are highly educated and sophisticated. They care about the meaning of the pieces they are wearing, and don’t look at them as accessories orcolourful pieces to match their clothing. Every piece has a story.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: In terms of financing, do you have a plan to sustain Bizzari? Did you have to take any loans?
Mona Bizzari: Yes, I do have a plan of keeping the place open. I haven’t taken any bank loans but I did take a family loan.
- Some people believe in the healing or mystical properties of gemstones and other precious or semi-precious stones. Do you?
Mona Bizzari: No, I don’t believe in the healing properties of stones, but I do believe in the positive energy of the pieces themselves. Because each piece is unique with its own story, people begin to connect and interact with the pieces, which brings about a kind of positive energy, perspective; a kind of push.
Some of my customers have commented that my pieces do fill them with positivity. They said that they fell in love with the piece and the story behind it, which has allowed them to form a relationship with the piece of jewellery.
This positivity can also be seen in my Happiness collection and التعويذة (My Spell). In the latter, I thought about how magic is deeply rooted in our culture, and instead of thinking of going to see some fortune teller, I figured I’d create my own spell and put it in a piece.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you mix stones with your pieces?
Mona Bizzari: I don’t focus on the use of stones in my work. I prefer to focus on the design, which for me carries the meaning and the story behind it.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: What metals are currently available at Bizzari? Only silver or are there others?
Mona Bizzari: I silver only though I sometimes use coating or plating with other metals such as nickel or gold plating to give colours and protection to the metal.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Do you create custom pieces or do you just use the samples you with changing stones or minor details?
Mona Bizzari: I do create custom pieces. People can come to me and tell me what they would like. Together, we design something specifically for them. In this case, the design is not repeated or showcased in the store or online. The piece becomes their unique piece and I just do the design based on what they want.
Each piece comes with a story, the customer tells me the story they want and we incorporate it in a piece of jewellery.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Tell us about the artistic side of jewellery-making.
Mona Bizzari: As I said, each piece has its own story. I love folklore, cultures, proverbs and the like. And I enjoy incorporating them in my pieces. I have ancient stones from the Iron Age that I have used in some pieces. I often go to antique shops, purchase items and include them in my work. I once used a teacup from the 1930’s. It’s a rare item for a unique piece of jewellery.
One of the things I like to include in my work are quotes or proverbs, such as the Chinese proverb “One happiness scatters a thousand sorrows”, which can be seen in my Happiness collection.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You mentioned being of Palestinian heritage, has that come out in your work?
Mona Bizzari: Yes, it has. I have a piece with the fig and the olive. There were other pieces but they’ve been sold.
- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How can you keep jewellery-making as something you love without turning it into a full-time job and boring routine?
Mona Bizzari: I don’t think my work will turn into a boring routine, because as I said, I don’t repeat my designs, so there is always something new and fresh to try and explore. There is a sense of renewal as well as a challenge in every new piece.
Bizzari on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bizzarijewelry/?fref=ts