Forget your luxury jewellery classics for just a moment - Nadine Ghosn is here to shake up the status quo. Unlike heritage labels who have dominated for decades, Ghosn’s tongue-in-cheek brand DNA is injecting a fresh lease of life into the widely-conservative market with her quirky designs.
Just two years after launching in 2015, she received a stamp of approval from the late Karl Lagerfeld. And when the iconic, yet now defunct, Parisian retailer Collette took note of her growing influence in 2016, Beyoncé was one of the first to snap up a pair of Ghosn’s witty ‘Shut Up’ studs. Now, A-listers like Pharell Williams and Pink are major fans of her pop culture-inspired jewels, and Bergdorf Goodman, Le Bon Marché, and Moda Operandi are amongst her swelling list of top-tier stockists.
But while Ghosn has always had a soft spot for jewellery, designing it didn’t come naturally: “I was always mesmerised by my grandma’s ability to embellish any outfit with the shiniest gems,” she tells ORDRE. “But I didn’t come from a jewellery family, I knew nothing about the industry, and had minimal connections within it.”
Far from being held back by her limitations, she bit the bullet after working a stint in the luxury goods department of Boston Consulting Group (BCG), followed by a management retail program at Hermès, and enlisted the expertise of fine jewellery artisans in Beirut to produce her pieces. “[In the beginning] I was rogue,” she confesses, adding, “many people didn’t believe in my new career path, but this meant I had a free pass in terms of design.”
“Many people didn’t believe in my new career path but this meant I had a free pass in terms of design.”
Encouraged by her tenures at BCG and Hermès, she simply started by making things she wanted to wear, a humble attitude that has carried the brand forward ever since. “I wanted to create something modern, playful and happy – pieces of art to be worn in multiple ways,” she explains, adding, “BCG helped me gain confidence in managing things concisely, while Hermès taught me the power of brand values and marketing. I applied both of these approaches to focus on what matters most: craftsmanship and a clear brand DNA.”
Fetching between USD$460 and a whopping UDS$23,000 per piece, her first lines included assorted sushi charms, earphone necklaces, and a signature stackable burger ring, all made with 18K gold and studded with diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. “The burger ring was inspired by the fact that food brings us together, and people across backgrounds can easily relate to it,” the designer muses.
Although declining to reveal specifics, she shares that her latest collection – a riff on school stationery including pencil bangles, protractor studs, and paperclip chokers – has seen the brand make its biggest strides to date: “the value and strength of the brand are increasing; I am seeing a huge jump in sales with our current collection, Too Cool For School.”
Considering Ghosn still runs the majority of her business single-handedly, what she’s achieved thus far is nothing short of surprising, but she merely puts her brand’s steady growth down to a hands-on approach and the organic power of social media: “As a business, it’s pretty Lean. I don’t have a PR team because I don’t really believe in it, especially with the support of social media these days and word of mouth.”
“I focus on what matters most: craftsmanship and a clear brand DNA.”
Naturally, her Instagram feed – her only apparent method of promotion – matches her humble brand philosophy, intimately chronicling her journey as a rising jewellery designer from meetings with celebrities to the ateliers of artisans across the globe. “I love seeing the pieces come to fruition, and really value the artisans who have spent lifetimes and generations building their know-how,” she reflects of these partnerships. “My craftsmen and I constantly challenge each other, and a lot of work is spent on perfecting design and wearability.”
Sure enough, Ghosn doesn't have an expansion plan set in stone, trusting instead that the brand will bloom organically, a strategy which has been in her favour thus far: “I’m following a very organic process with building the brand. I know which direction I want to go in, but I am being careful about laying down the fundamentals for a strong foundation prior to expanding.”