Like many creatives, Hania Kuzbari recently saw her best laid plans get dashed by the COVID-19 crisis. The jewellery designer, known for her luxe and often whimsical work, had launched a pop-up shop in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood at the beginning of March, only to close it a week later. “It was a shock for me—you don’t imagine doing that amount of work and then that happens,” she says. “It was a sad moment, but I’m trying to go with the flow.”
To continue connecting with her customers, Kuzbari began offering virtual showroom appointments, which you can book through her website. “I think we’re blessed to be able to adapt to the circumstances as quickly as possible,” she says, admitting that she’s a novice in the on-camera game. “I’m not a video person,” she laughs. “[But] I’m learning. It’s a new challenge for me.”
What spurs her on is the discovery that during these calls, she’s been able to tell clients the stories behind the craftsmanship of her pieces and the symbolism of her designs—details she feels more people are curious about in a time where we’ve all been forced to take a pause. “It’s a time to think and take things easy,” says Kuzbari. “Let’s see what we’re doing, and where we’re going. Let’s focus more on the value of what we’re buying and the ethical aspect.”
In addition to gemstones, her pieces are crafted with conflict-free diamonds and recycled and salvaged metals, meaning there’s a story there that goes beyond the mere beauty of her work. Kuzbari’s jewellery isn’t only beautiful, though—many of her pieces, particularly those in her Smile collection, are also beacons of optimism. “When I wear these pieces, people stop me, they smile, they laugh,” she says. “This is exactly the message I want people to get out of this collection.”
A true optimist, Kuzbari is relishing the opportunity to stay in touch with customers and make their jewellery dreams come true. “Maybe I can introduce them to something new?”, she says, noting that some of the people she has spoken with are finding that “this is the time to make a change in their life”, and are seeking a piece that’s outside of their style comfort zone.
Whatever her customers are searching for—and right now, Kuzbari says it’s increasingly becoming pieces that will stand out during video calls—they can feel even better about doing it this week; starting Wednesday, a portion of her sales will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. Let’s hear it for purchases with purpose.
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