Is a pearl just a pearl?
I started Kagi by being inspired by a story of my grandma and a single strand of pearls.
She hid a strand of pearls in her undergarments when she was in a concentration camp during the war. After the war everything she had had to be sold, except this strand of pearls. These pearls are still in my family today and hold a special significance for me. They really laid the foundation for my love of jewellery and intrinsic understanding that jewellery is special and to be cherished.
Can you describe your first encounter with beauty?
I remember a beautiful gold metal egg with a black satin lining my godfather gave me from overseas. It was such a thing of beauty! The ornate detailing around the edges fascinated me and I used to run my fingers over the smooth cool surface, convinced it was one day going to be worth millions.
How has your baby influenced your work?
Xavier consistently brings me back to the present. I may be up against a design deadline but Xayxay just needs a cuddle from Mummy. We may have run out of our best-seller or
be needing to concept our new campaign but Xayxay needs a bath and song. Having a
baby brings you back into the moment and gives you perspective and focus on what really matters right now. They grow up just so fast and I am consistently finding myself wanting to press pause and keep him my little baby for as long as possible.
If jewellery could speak, what would it say?
I am here with you every day as you face the world. I will brighten your day and give you a reason to smile.
To whom do you owe the greatest debt and why?
Probably my dad for giving me my first loan to start Kagi. If he hadn't had blind faith in me to follow my dreams (no bank would have backed a 24-year-old with no business experience and a crazy world-dominating vision), I wouldn't have been able to make Kagi happen. Dad has always been a rock for me and offered very practical guidance — which at times did seem more like rocket science than the simple "common sense" he called it.
How long is 10 years?
Some days, as I look back on my Kagi career, it seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in my hotel room at 2am surrounded by mountains of beads trying to figure out how to thread them together, other times it seems like 100 years ago. Depends on the day and how much sleep my baby has afforded me the night before! It's been a hugely rewarding — yet also challenging — 10 years and I have come through it with as much grace and style as I could muster, Champagne in hand, saluting the sunset going, "Wow, wasn't that a ride!"