Today we introduce Gioia Mia – Jewellery and accessories. Have a look at Sonia’s interview below and just a few examples of the stunning work they create!
1. Introduce yourself and your company!
My name is Sonia and my company is Gioia Mia. I design and make jewellery and accessories. Most of the pieces I make are for brides, bridesmaids and for mothers of the bride and groom.
2. What made you start your company?
I started my company in 2004 after designing and making all the jewellery and accessories for a friend of mine who was getting
married. I loved the whole process so much, I knew I’d found my niche!
3. Can you give us a typical ‘day in the life of’ we’d love to know what you do day by day, even the what-might-seem-like-boring bits!
Each day can be very different from the previous day, so there isn’t really a typical day. It’s an aspect that I really love about my work. I do spend a lot of time in my studio, which is a short walk away from where I live. My time there is divided between a whole range of very different tasks.
I see my clients in my studio (if they can come and visit me). They’ve usually heard about me from a friend, seen my work in a
magazine, read about my work in a blog, or seen my website. The studio is where I prepare and make up all my commissions:
checking what supplies I have and what ones I need to order, making up preparatory versions of a piece and photographing it once it’s finished.
I’ve also spent the past year designing and making up a ready to wear collection, which I’m hoping to launch online and in a (very select) number of bridal shops.
Some days I might be in the studio selecting and packaging up pieces for magazine photoshoots, or I might be out and about, visiting
bridal shops to have a closer look at a dress that I’m designing a co-ordinating piece for.
A large part of my time is dedicated to answering emails, as I receive a lot of enquiries from people who live too far away to come
and visit me in my studio.
4. What do you enjoy most or what is your favourite part of your job?
This is such a tricky question, as there are so many different parts of what I do that I absolutely love doing…it’s really difficult to
pick a favourite part of my job.
Working on a design with a bride is very exciting, be it in person or by email.
Then sitting down to actually make the piece (or pieces) has its rewards as well. It takes a certain mindset to make a piece work.
Some days, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t happen, so I give myself over to working out the mechanics of a piece and refining the
structure. On the days when things do come together, it’s really very satisfying indeed, as it all seems to happen with great fluency and ease. I believe that this fluency and ease shines through in my work.
The feeling of having finished a piece and of being really happy with everything about it (the design, the colours, the way it looks and
feels, the craftsmanship) is also fantastic. And then knowing that the bride absolutely loves it is certainly one
of my favourite parts of what I do. I also really enjoy seeing photographs of the big day afterwards.
It’s so rewarding to see everything finally coming together.
5. How do you come up with your designs?
Because pretty much all of my work is bespoke, the designs evolve through getting to know each customer. It’s really a mixture of
finding out who they are, any ideas they might already have, the sorts of colours they would like and how these would tie in with
their dress and with the whole feel of the wedding. The designs evolve quite organically from all of that.
I designed my ready-to-wear collection in a slightly different way. I wanted to make a whole range of pieces for this; some to be very
understated and some to be more eye-catching. I wanted them all to co-ordinate with each other and it was important to me that I should be able to make them up in a range of different colours, from barely- there crystal to classic whites and ivories, to sophisticated combinations of nude and pastel tones to dramatic statements in bolder shades. And of course, they should all be elegant, enhancing the beauty of each bride without ever overshadowing her.
For my inspiration I looked to historical costume and design, picking up on the detail of a Renaissance costume, or the feel of a
neoclassical painting, and the designs grew from those influences.
6. How do you manage to mix your busy schedule with home and family
life? Some secrets to your success please!
I have to admit, it’s pretty difficult to switch off! My mind is constantly ticking over: if it’s not how to solve a particular design
conundrum and how to make a piece work, it’s thinking of a new design or a different combination of colours. I also spend a lot of time
thinking about what direction I’d like to take Gioia Mia in and how to get there. And I seem to spend a lot of time online as well!
7. What top tip would you give couples that are getting married?
To be true to who you both are on your wedding day.
8. If you’re already married, what one thing do you wish you’d done differently?
I really loved our day. It was 10 years ago now…can’t quite believe how quickly the time has flown by! I don’t think I would have done anything differently, except perhaps having been able to have all our friends and family there.
9. What has been your most unusual request and did you manage to fulfil it?
Probably the piece I made for Maxine. Maxine came to me, like many brides, having just bought her dress – an absolutely stunning, floor length, oyster- coloured satin dress. She told me that she was going to be wearing her great grandmother’s necklace at her wedding:
She knew that she wanted a tiara to wear too. Her only specification was that she wanted a ‘low tiara in a modern design’.
So I went away and had a long think about the various elements that went into the design of her heirloom necklace. First and foremost there were the materials: gold, garnets, pearls. Then there was the design: delicate, graceful, curving.
I carefully brought all those elements together, and over eight hours, created a unique piece for her. And this is Maxine wearing her beautiful, bespoke tiara on her wedding day.
10. How long do you usually take from start to finish with a couple? Please explain the process that you run through with clients so our readers can schedule it all in!
It probably takes a couple of months after a bride initially gets in touch with me for me to make up a tiara, bridesmaid’s accessories and co-ordinating jewellery (although it could be less depending on the time of year, how many and what sorts of pieces she has in mind).
It usually takes a week or two between emailing backwards and forwards to finalize a design, or series of designs. After that, I
post out a contract, and once I’ve received it back from a bride I then order anything I might need.
I usually give myself a good ten days to make designs up. That time might include making up a skeleton version for tiaras and combs, so that I can see how the design is going to come together and what I need to do to make it work. I then usually make a tiara or comb up over three days, doing most of the work the first day, finishing it off the second day, and using the third day to come back to it with a fresh eye. I’ve built into those ten days a few days for when things don’t work, and don’t come together.
Once the pieces are ready, and once I have photographed them, I send them to the bride by Special Delivery.
11. When do you recommend placing an order, please tell us how much notice do you need and how far should couples order in advance of the wedding?
I like brides to have their jewellery and accessories for their hair trials and dress fittings, so they can see things coming together and
enjoy that feeling. So, I guess that means that a bride should get in touch two to three months before that date, or about six months before the date of her wedding.
I am, of course, more than happy to accommodate orders within a much shorter time scale!
If you’re a wedding supplier and would like to be featured in our Supplier Spotlight, please get in touch!