In the run-up to London Fashion Week, we go behind the scenes with Olga Muhina, founder of luxury jewellery brand Pas De Marque, to find out more about the label and her inner workings.
How did you launch your jewellery business?
This was my childhood dream. I grew up watching my mum, aunt and grandmother create beautiful things with their own hands – I learnt sewing, knitting, crocheting, stitching and jewellery crafting from them. As a kid, I spent all my weekends and holidays beading bracelets with my friends and I used to have a huge collection of beads and findings. Back then, I only had glass and plastic beads, of course. It was much later, that I started working with expensive, precious materials.
It always seemed to me that this kind of business isn’t serious enough. That’s why I got education in another sphere – I have a bachelor degree in International Economics and Commercial Diplomacy. After University, I tried working in a family business, the international hotel chain Wellton. But I always felt like something was missing. So in 2014 I decided to take a risk. I registered my own company, created an Instagram account, ordered a small batch of materials and started creating jewellery at home. For 1 and a half years I was the only employee in ”pas de marque” responsible for manufacturing, marketing, delivery and all the rest. At first, the orders came only from friends, but then more and more people from Riga turned to me in search of beautiful handmade jewellery, so I decided I needed an assistant and a shop.
What does Pas De Marque mean and why did you choose that name?
“Pas de marque” is French for “no brand” or “no label”; I liked the idea of attaching a label to jewellery saying that there is no label. Also, the French name of my brand is an ode to the French language, which I fell in love with while studying diplomacy.
How do you think the luxury jewellery market is evolving?
I think customers have started to value exclusiveness and handwork even more than before. Also, luxury jewellery for me is all about timeless design. What our customers appreciate us for is that “pas de marque” offers day-to-night designs. You can wear our jewellery not only on the red carpet, but also during the day – be it to the office or accessorising an off-duty outfit.
How long does each handmade piece take to create?
It depends. We have quite a wide range of designs; there are tiny stretch rings and bracelets that take less than an hour. And, for example, we have a multi-strand necklace – to create one we need to string almost 7000 tiny beads. We usually split this work into several days.
What’s your design process like?
Sometimes it starts with a pencil and a piece of paper. But I am not so good at drawing so mostly I just take my pliers, wire and beads and start trying. The result doesn’t always meet my expectations, and sometimes it may take up to half a year to figure out the best way to finish some unfinished designs.
What inspires you?
Oh that’s a complicated question. I’ve had inspiration in so many different situations, almost anything can inspire me. Nature, the shapes of stones and pearls, city decorations (like Christmas decorations, for example) and of course the architecture of Riga – it’s majestic!
Where do you like to travel on your time off?
I love spending several days by the sea – my favourites are the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. But what brings me even more joy and excitement is short trips to European capitals and large cities. I love London, Rome, Paris and Barcelona. And there are so many places that I still want to discover.
What influencers do you work with most and why?
We only started selling online in September. Before that there was no sense in working with foreign influencers because we were mostly interested in the local market. We’ve worked with local bloggers like Alina Keller, Maija Armaneva, Anna Turanova, Dasha Edelich and more. But now we are open to co-operations and are already working with several influencers in London and searching for brand ambassadors in other European countries.
What’s next for you?
We have just made several significant steps – finishing our re-branding campaign, starting an online shop and participating in our first international trade show, International Jewellery London. So now we are going to analyse the results and of course we will have to work hard on promoting our website. In several months I will start working on the next collection.
Find out more and browse Olga’s collection on the Pas de Marque website.