When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. But what about when life doesn’t give you lemons? Priscilla and Vi, founders and designers for OhKuol, a Vancouver-based jewelry company, would tell you that when life doesn’t give you lemons, you hone in on what you do have and set up shop elsewhere. That is exactly what the two designers did when just last year they closed their brick-and-mortar boutique and moved their shop online. Though OhKuol has undergone many recent changes, the duo still do what they have always done best; create beautiful pieces that are effortless, romantic, and affordable. We had a chance to catch up with the brains behind the beauty of OhKuol on their shiny new boutique, their evolution, and what inspires them to keep creating.
Stylust (S): What is your background? When and why did you decide to start OhKuol?
Oh Kuol (OK): Priscilla was a student in interactive design before starting OhKuol; Vi was running a wholesale business. We both had a love for fashion and design. In 2008, we opened our first boutique and launched OhKuol because we knew it was the perfect opportunity to launch our very own jewelry collection.
S: How do you think OhKuol has evolved since the beginning?
OK: OhKuol has evolved tremendously in terms of branding and identity. When we first started our business, we focused on our jewelry, but we did not focus on our branding. We don’t know why, but at that time, it just wasn’t important to us. Our top priority was to create and design jewelry at an affordable price. However, over the years, we have learned that branding is extremely important. If we can perfect our branding, it will be a key factor in gaining loyal customers. And we feel we’re getting there.
S: Can you tell us why you decided to close the brick and mortar boutique on Granville?
OK: Owning and operating a boutique was an amazing experience, but it wasn’t without its challenges. We grew our business and developed a wonderful clientele, but in our last year, we felt the need for a change in our lifestyle. With that said, we took a risk, closed the shop and took our business online.
S: How are you faring with the shift from the brick and mortar to selling strictly online?
OK: So far, it has been a dream come true. In the summer of 2011, we officially opened our Etsy shop. After one fabulous year, women around the world are wearing our jewelry. It is an honour to be recognized around the world. It is truly an amazing feeling.
S: What kind of charity initiatives is OhKuol currently a part of?
OK: Our mission extends far beyond our studio. We want to make all women shine and to raise awareness and support women less fortunate. Right now we are looking at a couple of charity options. We are hoping to partner with a charity that is aligned with our values.
S: What inspires you when you design?
OK: We look at the runways, street fashion, and past fashion trends for inspiration. With these inspirations in mind, we design unique pieces that are classic with an edge.
S: You mentioned that some of your pieces are made with stones that have healing qualities to them. Can you give me a little rundown of say your most popular styles and what healing qualities they have?
OK: Our top selling collections are our stack-able birthstone rings, boho-inspired druzy layering necklaces, and simple gemstone stud earrings. The stackable birthstone rings are popular because they make perfect birthday gifts. Many birthstones are known for their healing properties as well. For example, rainbow moonstone is the June birthstone, great for people who may be experiencing stress or anxiety, as moonstone is known to have calming abilities.
S: Do either of you ladies have past experience with studying stones?
OK: Vi and Priscilla both have a strong interest in all gemstones. Vi’s initial experience in working with gemstones was with jade, which encouraged her to learn about other gemstones and their healing properties. From there, her love for gemstones has continued to grow and much of her knowledge is self-taught.
Check out how editor, Lindsey W, styles her OhKuol jewelry and for a limited time you can get your hands on these beautiful and easy-to-wear pieces for 15% off just for being an awesome reader of Stylust! Just use coupon code STYLUST15 when you check out – it’s that easy! Get your shop on, my friends, as this offer is only valid until August 31st, 2013. PS- Offer only valid on www.ohkuol.com not on Etsy Shop PPS – You rock!
All images c/o Oh Kuol.