Jeweller Audrey Savransky joins the rich pantheon of inspiring women who create fine jewellery for ladies on the go.
A long-time resident of Hong Kong, back in 2008, Audrey Savransky launched her company AS29 Fine Jewellery out of a little room in our city – and now her accessories can be seen on the swan-like necks of supermodel Chanel Iman, Alessandra Ambrosio and Bella Hadid. Be it former first-lady Michelle Obama or queen bee Beyonce, there’s tremendous buzz about the signature collection of Savransky that decks the napes and necks of the most powerful and glamorous women in the world.
With a wide range of glittering jewels of all shapes, sizes and colour, her artistic yet immensely wearable collection and statement pieces have received acclaim by many a fashion editor. You see that mop of striking red hair streak through the arteries of Central and recognise the Belgian designer – no matter how masked she may appear to be, as she whizzes by, in a flurry over the constant demands of client meetings, motherhood and helming her own globally recognised company.
Name: Audrey Savransky
Profession: Fine jewellery brand owner
Industry: Fine Jewellery
Company Size: 15+
Startup Since: 2008
When did you launch your own company?
Diamonds have been running in my family’s DNA for the past four generations. I feel like this professional path was in my destiny and that I had to redefine my family’s diamond legacy. I used to manufacture for other brands in the past, so one fine day, I just decided to launch my own brand in 2008.
What have been the challenges running a jewellery brand in city like Hong Kong that is so accustomed to designer and legacy brands?
Being based in Hong Kong has been amazing in terms of launching my line. I’ve been able to travel to China and to other countries in Asia in order to manufacture products, which is definitely an advantage that you can’t get in Europe. I believe there is definitely a niche market of people interested in modern fine jewellery in Hong Kong, and that’s why you can find our brand in stores such as Lane Crawford – which was our first point of sales in Asia when I launched AS29. Now, I’m very happy to announce that more than 10 years later, we are carried in stores around Hong Kong, as well as in stores in Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai.
How many pieces do you design each year?
Too many! I always get overwhelmed when designing a new line and testing out new samples. But in general we launch around four collections per year. Usually, our collections come out around Christmas and New Years – they have far more pieces. We also have collections of different price ranges, some of them you can now find exclusively on our new website www.as29.com.
Tell us something about your latest collection – what was the inspiration?
I launched three collections in early March this year, they are called DNA, TAG and LOCK. I took a deep dive into the inner identity of the brand, creating a collection where you can notice the letters and numbers. This is representative of a new foundation for AS29, while at the same time still staying true to the unique and rebellious design and heritage of the brand. The three collections are made of perfectly pave white diamond encrusted pieces and solid 18k gold. I wanted to create something modern, that can be worn forever.
I loved seeing your shoot with an all-girl team. Girl power 2021! The campaign is stunning. Tell us a bit about your crew.
We had indeed a great team shooting for this and previous campaign. I loved working with very talented girls, the photographer Ruby Law and the stylist Justine Lee. We had the great pleasure of shooting at The Hari Hong Kong hotel for the first time, a new venue for a new collection!
What’s a normal work day for you? What are the biggest challenges?
Being a mother of two children, a regular day for me starts at 7am and by the time I’m back home it’s already after 8. I have long, intense, hectic, exciting days… but never a dull moment!
The biggest challenges I faced were during this year was not being able to travel to see my clients and visit our factories due to the pandemic. It was a big, big issue for us. We had to change the whole strategy of our brand to be sold mostly, if not entirely, online – which I believe was the case for many other companies too. Luckily, we managed to increase our online presence by being sold on Goop, Moda Operandi, Threads Styling, and of course Farfetch.
As a teen – was this the passion – what did you aspire to be?
I grew up in this industry, always surrounded by gemstones and watching not only my parents but my husband handling these incredible precious metal and incredible jewels. Even though I never studied jewellery design or went to GIA, this passion grew with me since an early age and it became evident that I was meant to do this.
Are you as hands on at home as you are at work?
I’m very hands-on both at home with my kids as well as at work. So it can be challenging at times. I always pick up when they call, which is usually, like clockwork, after 3pm, when schools finish. It can be quite hectic. But I wouldn’t change it in any way. I’m very lucky to do a job that I love and still make time for my children whenever they need me. And I have the amazing help of my husband who’s an amazing father and partner in life.
Actually, It’s a patronising question isn’t it – to ask what its like to juggle marriage, motherhood and career? No one asks a man the same queries about balancing job and family.
Indeed – but I think it’s important to ask this question to women to raise awareness. Nowadays, more and more women are starting to have two jobs, one being a mum and the other one involving making money – which was not common in the past. I think I can freely speak on behalf of many working mothers; some days are really, really challenging. But, others are simply amazing and make up for every other difficult day. Marriage, motherhood and career are three things that many women experience, and it does not get easier, you learn to balance with experience. I’m a creative person and my work helps me express myself through the jewellery I create each season. Being able to do a job I love and still have quality time for my family is a luxury I’m very aware of having. So don’t worry, I still loved the question!
What advice would you give women trying to establish their own company?
Believe in yourself, otherwise, who else will? Sometimes people might believe in your talent, but once they are aware of your age or your gender they can change their opinion. I honestly believe that there are no rules for talent, if you believe in it, fight for it, and surround yourself by people that can help you grow. Never look back, only forward.
What are your biggest markets that might surprise us to know about?
We have a very strong presence in the Gulf region both online and in terms of being sold in brick and mortar, local stores such as Ali Bin Al in Qatar, Qirdala in Kuwait, Asia Jewellers in Bahrain, Mi Concept in Saudi Arabia, Sylvie Saliba in Beirut just to name a few. Our second biggest market is USA, and then Hong Kong! When I first started, I did not predict this international chart.
Gotta ask the pandemic q’s – how did it disrupt your industry and how did you adapt to recover?
As I mentioned before, I have never seen anything like this covid pandemic before in my life. It changed so many things in terms of production and seeing our clients – jewellery is a very tactile business and a personalised one. it’s been interesting to see how willing our clients are to buy directly online or through video calls. If you asked me a few years ago if we can sell jewellery by Skype (pre zoom!), I’d say you’re crazy. But now, we’ve sold over zoom, expensive pieces over WhatsApp Video Calls! Makes me want to live on an island and work remotely forever!
Where would you like to see your company in five years?
Honestly, I’ve been very happy on how it has turned out – we are in our 13th year now. As long as the company keeps on moving forward, my clients love the jewels, and I can still maintain a good work and life balance I am happy.
What’s in the works currently?
New collections are coming out in October, and we have a list of new stores who will be carrying our brand in the US. We are constantly updating online of course. In HK you can find AS29 Fine Jewellery at Lane Crawford IFC or at www.as29.com – shipped worldwide.