January 11, 2013

Up Close & Personal: The Nawbar Sisters!

It's no secret that I'm OBSESSED! with jewellery and accessories. Today I'm bringing you an EXCLUSIVE interview with Dima and Tanya Nawbar, the owners and designers of the hip and trendy L'atelier Nawbar in Beirut. Founded in January 2011, their atelier is a very unique concept where their workshop is located INSIDE the store to celebrate the craftsmanship of jewellery. Unlike all other jewellery stores that can be quite intimidating to enter, L'atelier Nawbar is more of a gallery which showcases jewellery by these two sisters as well as by other designers.

I find their jewellery very exceptional, quite vintage-y and can be worn both day and night. They design  everyday pieces, larger statement pieces, and offer a bespoke service where you can create any piece that you like.

I sat down with these incredibly talented sisters to get an inside look into how they run their business:

Tell me a little about yourselves?

We dabbled in design from a very young age and were always interested in jewellery. Our parents are the owners and designers of the popular Nawbar jewellery store in Beirut and our father included us in his design process from as early as we can remember.

From where do you get your inspiration?

We are inspired by everyday life. We follow and research the world's trends but we always add a twist with a personal touch of our own. We feel there is a lot of diversity in our personal styles and that is shown throughout our different collections. However, we give our clients the freedom to customize whatever piece he or she desires, guiding them along the way. 

L'atelier Nawbar can customize necklaces with your name in Falamank diamonds.
 I made one for each of my bridesmaids at my wedding :)

How often do you put out a collection?

We put out collections based on the seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and the seasonal holidays Christmas and Eid. The advantage of having access to our workshop everyday makes it easier to design whenever we want.

Who do you design for? Who is your target customer?

We design for trendy, timeless, avant guard women who express their own style and are not afraid to make each piece their own. Even if they are buying a classic design, they will always wear it their own way. 

Tell me a little about your operation - who does what?

We both do a little bit of everything - we don't have divided tasks. We actually rotate tasks to avoid boredom and routine. Our design process is never ending: we start with inspiration (and we are both very easily inspired!) and we bring it to the table. Dima prefers sketching, whereas Tanya begins graphically and we both research to support the idea and stretch it further. We then pitch it to one another and decide which is feasible and which designs could wait a season or two.

What's it like to work together as sisters?

We don’t know if it is the same for all sisters, but we are always on the same page. We both know what we want. Though we have different personal styles, we have a unanimous vision for the future of our company. We argue all the time and fight over silly things on a daily basis but when it comes to the big decisions we have nothing but love, respect and support for one other.

What is the idea behind your store?
L’atelier Nawbar is the first gallery of its kind in Lebanon and it introduces a holistic collaboration between designers, artisans, retailers and consumers. Our atelier is inside the store so our customers can see how our jewellery is made. We also showcase pieces by other designers as well as our own. 

The gallery is a 350 meter underground space with a large visible workshop in a glass box that 'celebrates craftsmanship- rather than conceal it in secrecy'  
How do you think your brand differs from other brands?
What makes us different is we allow jewelry to be attainable to all. We try to make most of our pieces multi-purpose and give our customers the option of coming back and changing the item so it evolves with them. 
We offer an Abracadabra service where clients can custom tailor pieces to fit their own style and budget. They are involved in the design process from the beginning to the end. We can send pieces to clients anywhere in the world.

Do you have any favourite pieces?
We love all of our pieces! If we are not convinced with the outcome of a certain design we will start it all over again. Each day we have a new favourite. Today, Dima's favourite is our rock crosses and Tanya's favourite is the henna/victorian lace inspired hand band.
Dima's fav piece of the day: a rock cross inspired by her favourite 80s pop queen Madonna
Tanya's fav piece of the day: the henna hand band inspired by Victorian Lace

Where can my readers see and purchase your designs?

On our Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/LatelierNawbar
To customize a piece using our bespoke ABRACADABRA service, email us at info@lateliernawbar.com 

L'atelier Nawbar is located in Hamra, Kourasani Building, Ground Floor, Beirut, 
Tel: 01 744 828 

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