Zoe Davies: Designer + Creator of Ethically Handcrafted Caja Jewellery
Bersama Kita Series ep.4
A series focused on interviewing a range of creatives, from designers to multi talents and fun personalities all working hard for something they love. We have titled this series 'Bersama Kita' ~ together we are... together we are powerful.. together we can make an impact.
It's my honour today to interview our beautiful and extremely talented friend Zoe Davies on our Bersama Kita ~ together we are, series. We first came across Caja Jewellery and Zoe's beautiful vision a few months back through Instagram, we reached out, and clicked straight away! We knew Zoe would be the perfect person to collaborate with for our show at New Zealand Fashion Week this past month, with her vision, her authenticity, and her care for her environmental impact, we knew we'd love to link arms with her. As you'll come to learn more about Caja Jewellery and what it means I just want to start this interview by acknowledging just how talented this beautiful soul is, at the moment Zoe has been designing, creating and making each and every one of her pieces by hand in her small town of Wanaka, New Zealand. She's a true inspiration and I can't wait to share her interview!
Stephanie: Walk us through the process that you went through to take Caja Jewellery from just an idea to where it is today?
Zoe: I decided to start my own jewellery line after taking a silversmithing class in Bali. I made a chunky ring with a shiva shell I’d found on the beach and fell in love with the whole process. I’ve always loved being creative with my hands and metal is such a unique material to work with. When I got home I spent the rest of my savings on silver and tools. I convinced my Dad to let me turn the spare room into a studio and off I went! It was amazing to take the ideas in my head and turn them into a reality. Over the last couple of years Caja has grown from just a casual hobby, to a crazy side hustle, and now to a full time brand that I love and believe in.
Stephanie: Where did you find your inspiration for your brand? Is there a meaning behind your name Caja Jewellery?
Zoe: I take inspiration from the beauty of travel and the wonders of the world. I want to create a feeling of ethnic soul and wanderlust, whether it’s from patterns and shapes, nature, architecture, or simply an experience. I love taking tiny snippets and mixing it altogether to create something unique.
I’m originally from Cornwall in the South West of England. Cornwall is a magical place full of rugged cliffs and caves, historic fishing villages and seaside towns. I grew up surfing and was always near or in the ocean. In the Cornish language Caja means daisy, which used to be a popular girls name and is sometimes used today - got to keep those home roots!
Stephanie: We love that you focus on creating an ethical brand, can you tell us more about why keeping your brand ethical is so important to you?
Zoe: We only have one planet. We know more than ever before the damaging effects our actions have had and are having on the environment. By being conscious of this with every decision I make I hope to do my part in building a more sustainable future. I am also passionate about promoting the slow fashion movement - A movement that educates people on the benefits of choosing quality over quantity.
Stephanie: Since your pieces are all beautifully handmade in Wanaka, New Zealand by you specifically ~ do you find it hard to keep up with production timelines? How do you deal with this?
Zoe: Caja has grown so much in the last few months and my poor hands just can’t keep up with it! I’m super excited to announce that I will be going back to where it all began in Bali to set up an ethical workshop to create my jewellery. Some pieces will still be made exclusively by me in New Zealand, but for now I’m focusing on new designs and collections!
Stephanie: What would you say pursuing Caja Jewellery has taught you in running a business?
Zoe: That you have to believe in yourself. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that a dream in my mind has actually become a reality! If you don’t believe in yourself or your brand, no one else will. It’s also taught me that hard work will get you places. I’ve spent countless nights tinkering away at my bench, my life and soul has gone into my business and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The feeling you get when you succeed is like no other!
Stephanie: How does your design process work? Do you follow a schedule or create new things as they come to you?
Zoe: I am a very spontaneous designer. I have a notebook full of ideas just waiting to be played with and expanded upon. Most of the time I work from those sketches, but sometimes I like to just let my hands and the metal do the talking. I also have a lot of designs come to me when I’m falling asleep! Apparently this is actually quite common as your brain is more relaxed and allows your creativity to flow freely.
Stephanie: How do you balance life, work, running Caja Jewellery and self care? Do you set aside time for yourself each day? do you have a specific routine or things that motivate you to stay balanced?
Zoe: I think this is such an important topic for any entrepreneur. The struggle is real. You want to focus on your growing business and even when you’re not physically working your brain is still thinking about it. I absolutely love routine; it makes me feel more wholesome and grounded. Recently I’ve been waking up and dedicating my first hour solely to me, myself and I. This usually starts with a big cup of coffee, a workout or some yoga and meditation. I always make a list and set intentions for my day, I LOVE lists. If it’s written down, I have to do it!
Stephanie: You were recently involved in New Zealand Fashion Week 2018 with us, what was your experience like? How did it feel seeing your pieces on the runway at our country’s biggest fashion event?
Zoe: Seeing Caja on the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week was a dream come true. I still can’t quite believe it! Having such an incredible opportunity has really given me the confidence to push forward and believe in myself. Collaborating with Saltysea and Bearbones was so enriching and I feel blessed to know such beautiful souls. Stephanie is such an inspiring designer and has the warmest biggest heart!
Stephanie: What is one piece of advice you would like to give to other entrepreneurs or people wanting to start their own business?
Zoe: Use everything around you to gain knowledge in your industry and business. We are so lucky to have so many resources at our fingertips. Research, read and never stop asking questions.
Stephanie: Is there any specific quote you just love? Something we can leave as inspiration for those out there following their dreams?
Zoe: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. – My go to motto since I was a child. Perseverance is essential for reaching your goals and dreams. In a thousand no’s sometimes all you need is one yes.
“If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” – Anita Roddick, Founder of the Body Shop.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou
Follow along on our blog series 'Bersama Kita' together we are, each week to learn about their inspiration, history, process, struggles and advice.
If you are interested in being featured on our blog, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org