Anne-Sophie Cauchy is the founder of The Bijou Factory. She was disillusioned by the lowering quality-standards and high wastage of “fast fashion”. She now seeks to educate her customers about materials and empower them to be the architect of their own special piece
The Bijou Factory is an innovative line of DIY jewelry kits that are uniquely curated and simple to make.
*no pliers required 🙂
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
My infatuation with beads started with a visit to a bead store when I was a young student in business school in France. Seven years – and a lot of unhappy jobs later – I decided to take a year off and give jewelry a shot by attending an intensive one year Associate Degree in Jewelry–making at FIT in New York. This led to a second career in designing jewelry for well known brands. I loved conceptualizing and drawing jewelry, but I missed making stuff with my hands. I also grew disillusioned by the lowering quality standards and the sheer amount of jewelry we were making for department stores that would just end up on a sales rack a few months later and the trash subsequently.
I was obsessed with the idea that I should encourage people to try making their own pieces instead of just buying them because I knew how special and empowering it feels when you make something with your hands. But I also recognized that DIY projects often look good in pictures but not in real life and that people are often scared off by tools and pliers. So right from the start, I decided that the line would need to use premium materials and would not require the use of pliers. The “no tools” criteria has proved challenging at times when designing the kits but having such a framework also helps keep me focused. Hundreds of prototypes later, The Bijou Factory DIY kits were born.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BRAND NAME?
Bijou is an homage to my origins. It means jewelry in French but also has that connotation of something special and precious. Not to be confused with bisou which means kiss 😉 And Factory because the kits, with all their different parts and components, reminded me of an assembly line. Basically we make kits so that you can assemble your own bijou instead of us making it for you.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST HURDLE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO GET STARTED?
The packaging! This has been the biggest challenge of all. When I started the line and got my first wholesale order, I did not even have packaging or really thought about it seriously. I was so focused on how the jewelry should look that I skipped the part about how the actual product, the kit, would get the attention of the customer in the first place. And this is coming from a business major! 😉 We recently hired an agency based in Montreal, Phoenix The Creative Studio, who excels at packaging kits. We now have packaging that we can be proud of.
WHAT WAS THAT “JUST DO IT” MOMENT FOR YOU TO GET STARTED?
It was more a lot of little “just do it” moments and some “don’t do it” moments to be honest. There were no confetti or trumpets announcing “this is it” but once we started securing wholesale orders, this gave me enough confidence to leave my designer job and work on The Bijou Factory full time.
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