— How did it all begin: how and why did you start doing jewellery design?
— I started in Britanka when I came there to study. I didn’t have any experience in that field and even more than that - I didn’t wear any jewellery.
In a past life, I was a manager of large projects in education, built schools, organized various programs for schoolchildren, worked as an auditor at PwC and did a lot of other things. Jewellery design and business as a direction was a surprise not only for my friends and colleagues, but also for myself.
I made the decision quickly, during a winter vacation in Kostroma.
I think it was just that time when I stopped being afraid to look inside myself, to see what I really want and not be afraid to do it.
— What was your first impression of the program when you started?
— Ecstasy! Finally, I'm here, well finally I'm doing something that I'm cool with, what awesome people are around me, just "WOW!
Of course, I had my doubts and fears like "who am I"; "what if I am not talented"; "what if I am not good enough"; "Isn’t it too late", and so on. But they burst like soap bubbles very quickly, thanks to real internal motivation, which, thanks to me, was awakened by the age of 33.
— What is the most interesting project you have worked on as part of the educational process?
— The coolest educational project was a cross-disciplinary one at the intersection of design and jewellery history. It was a credit for both of those disciplines. Each of us got the topic "A certain era or historical trend in art" by lot: we had to think up and draw a modern piece of jewellery to represent that era or style.
In terms of learning, this was a very cool task, because it required us not just to know the style, but to understand its key defining elements, to be able to highlight them and transform them into our own new form.
— Which of the knowledge and skills gained in the programme do you find most valuable?
— To become a designer or an entrepreneur and create your own brand you need completely different skills, which the programme gives you an opportunity to get: the technical understanding of how to work in general, with what materials, what is possible to implement and what is not; the design itself: how to get a specific product or form from an abstract idea in my head; the basics of financial and business approaches in the industry from Irina Kuznetsova. It is a treasure trove of practical information and support for starting your own business; networking. The programme implied a very deep integration into the modern industry: designers, entrepreneurs, manufacturers and stores. These contacts are invaluable. They gave me not only partners, but also true friends.
— Tell us about your graduation project. What was the most interesting or the most difficult part? What was inspiring?
— In the middle of the year I clearly realised that I was going to make my own brand, and that I was more of an entrepreneur than a designer. That's why my graduation project was a brand, not a collection.
The most difficult thing was the limited amount of time, especially for making the product. In reality it was 4-5 times longer than I expected. I was inspired by everything around me, even the hatches in the street. The idea of the brand was born from within and I understood why I wanted to do it all.
— How did the story of SHAMELESS begin and how did you come up with this name?
— The history of SHAMELESS began with one ring. It was a coursework I struggled over for a very long time. It was the first ring which was made live and which was not just in my head but alive and tangible and which you can wear and touch. I, as a former project manager, made a few pieces in reserve, just in case. My classmates and friends bought all four rings right away! I was confused then, because I didn’t know how to calculate the cost yet.
The name was jokingly suggested by my husband, looking at this plump big ring. I started describing what SHAMELESS was to form the brand at its base. And, it turns out, it means a lot to me. Living without shame is about the freedom to be myself, about the courage not to be ashamed of myself and what I create. This is how the brand, its manifesto and visual identity were born.
— How is the brand doing now? Are you planning to enter the foreign market?
— I'll be honest, it's not easy. I was lucky enough to become an aspiring entrepreneur in such turbulent times that I couldn't have imagined. And well, it would have been harder to make up my mind.
But despite these difficulties and total uncertainty from every possible and impossible side, I have some spark inside me that says "we can handle it and everything will be fine, just now the way to this 'fine' is not the way you imagined it a month ago."
I was planning to enter the foreign market (Germany and Holland) in the summer, I had even already applied for a subsidy for the Skolkovo program "Exporters 2.0" and signed a support agreement with the Moscow export centre. Now the methods and terms have changed, but not the plans. I will continue to build an international company: now I am dealing with legal details for registration and transferring part of production and sales to Armenia or Georgia, so that sanctions do not interfere with plans for international cooperation.
In the meantime, there's a lot of work to be done inside as well. The first batch of goods will go on sale in Poison Drop any day now: it just so happened that I am the first designer there who has shipped the delivery under the new laws through a unified information platform for the interaction of participants in the market of precious metals and stones.
So, we also continue to carry the brand values and help everyone in the current stressful situation. Starting Monday, we are launching a series of free telegram meetings with psychologists and coaches. We will discuss feelings, how to deal with them, be yourself and stay in touch with others, and continue to create and do what we love.
— What important piece of advice would you give to future designers?
— You are enough. You have the right to do, to embody, to create what you want. Don't listen to the "couch critics," listen to the recommendations of only those people who are at the point in life and activity where you yourself would like to be in the future
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