Maja and Semir of IGUECO
My name is Semir and I am creator and main designer of IGUECO Real Food Jewellery, which I have been developing jointly with my wife. Back in my teenage years, I made copper jewellery in my home town of Mostar, Bosnia. More recently I came back to jewellery making and I am working on making this my main job. I was always inspired by bright colours and sunshine both back home and on my trips to Spain and Mexico. For a while I made mosaic design rings and necklaces using the materials such as ceramics and smalti glass.
I liked this concept, but I wanted to make it more unique and closer to nature, whilst staying with the bright colours and interesting patterns. I came to the idea of using real food to create the jewellery designs one day in my kitchen, looking at the intricate natural design and colours of kiwi fruit.
I enjoy the fact that my work has a strong sustainable element, as all the food I use for the jewellery is part of our family menu, so nothing goes to waste.
I was connected to jewellery making since my teenage years, working with a variety of materials and techniques using copper, ceramics and glass. Since 2013, I have found my real passion in making necklaces, rings, earrings and cufflinks using the real food ingredients such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes and spices.
What do you enjoy most out of making and where do you usually sell your work?
Each phase of the work is very special – from shopping for the “right” size and colour shade of the fresh food ingredients, to the final stage when these take on a new life in a different form. My favourite part of the process is creating and evolving new designs using different food combinations depending on their individual shape, texture and colour. Apart from selling at Things British St Pancras and Greenwich shops, I also sell my work at Camden Lock Market and on Etsy.com
What do you think of the Things British concept? How has it helped you and your brand?
What I most appreciate about this concept is the level of freedom and independence that each artist has, alongside the honest and high quality support from the management. Since joining Things British I have learned more about the importance of presentation of my products and that has had a ripple effect on developing my brand. The ethic behind Things British is vital in providing opportunities for small creative businesses in the UK.
I have been living Britain for 17 years and I think there has been a shift in the people’s perception towards uniqueness and the personal contribution to their community. People are increasingly valuing local, genuine artistic creations in favour of mass produce.
What advice would you give to people who are keen to sell in retail?
You need to be aware that your artistic flare and the effort invested in creating your items will not work on its own to actually sell well. You need to be curious, patient and willing to learn about how to market your products and then do your best to continue developing and improving.
What are the big plans for 2015/2016?
I am currently working on expanding the range by adding charm bracelets, banklets and tie clips. I am also carefully considering the expansion to other markets and shops, as well as the online sales.