Owner of Studio 39 Jewellery Design and Founder of Jewellers by Design
Kim Dyason is the owner of Studio 39 Jewellery Design in Kloof and founder of Jewellers by Design.
Kim was only 15 years old when she was offered a job in a jewellery store during the December school holidays. She said that she grabbed the opportunity, and as she loved the experience, she worked there every school holiday and every Saturday. On matriculating, she was offered an apprenticeship at the bench by the shop owner who was a qualified goldsmith and hand engraver.
Kim later moved to Cape Town and decided to go on her own, opening a studio at home. She commented, “I always wanted to have my own business right from when I was very young. I think my first business idea was when I was about six years old and sold my fluffy toys on the verge outside my home. As soon as I went into jewellery, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I had no idea how to run a business but threw myself into it.”
Kim received much encouragement from her parents, who she said are very positive people. She explained, “My mom always says if you aren’t feeling your best today, what are you going to do about it?”
“I would say that one of my greatest achievements,” Kim reflected, “is being in business for 29 years as of July 2023, which I think has been quite a huge milestone to reach. I started when I was 23, so it’s been quite an exciting journey so far.”
In addition, Kim believes that another big achievement, is having clients that have become friends. “They are placed all around the world and it is such an honour that their children and grandchildren are now being referred to me.”
Having mentored many people through nearly 30 years of owing her own business and seeing some of them go on and open their own businesses is another of her achievements. Kim has one staff member who has been with her almost 20 years.
Kim reflected that she has faced quite a few challenges over the years. One of these she explains, “Our trade has changed quite a lot. The younger generation are preferring to spend their money on experiences, like travel etc. But I like to ask them, ‘How, when you get back from travelling, when you’ve had your engagement, or that memorable occasion, do you capture the feeling and essence of those experiences?”
The answer is that jewellery is the perfect medium for that. “Every time you look at your bracelet or your ring, you remember and feel those emotions and experience. And obviously when you’re handing that jewellery on to your children or grandchildren and you’re telling them the story of your travels, or momentous occasion, that just makes the piece much more special to them. “I don’t just make jewellery; I make future heirlooms.”
Jewellers by Design
One of the challenges from earlier days, Kim would say was that jewellery manufacture was very much a man’s world when she started. She found that nobody wanted to share trade secrets or help with any information, not even amongst themselves. “And I don’t agree with that way of thinking.”
During lockdown, and having time to reflect and strategise, Kim decided that living by design and not default was her aim and wanted to give back. Jewellers by Design provides an environment that empowers aspiring jewellers and designers to achieve their goal of owning their own business, while working in a nurturing environment incorporating experienced leaders in the jewellery industry.
Currently, Kim is collaborating with people who aren’t jewellery designers but have creative concept ideas. She added that working with them to create jewellery that they can go on and make an income from is ‘absolutely divine’. “My daughter is a zoologist, her range is pangolin inspired, so she can give back to her community, donate to wildlife and create employment. There’s just so many ways you can give back and be creative at the same time.”
Inspiration in nature
Kim explains that for her design work she looks for inspiration in her love of nature. “I love nature. I get a lot of inspiration from nature and natural gemstones. I find that if I’m designing for myself the stone tells me what it wants to be.”
She added that when she is designing for clients, she likes to get a feel for who they are. “I thrive when I work one on one with a client. Great love is poured into every piece, and I understand the sentimental meaning behind every piece. I want to create something that’s going to be meaningful for you. It’s not about me. I want to see smiles on people’s faces when they put on their piece of
jewellery. I sell happiness. It’s so special.”
In advising younger women she would say to them, find a mentor. “Find somebody you can relate to, who is happy to impart knowledge. Somebody who’s been through all the trials and tribulations, although I’m sure there’s many still to come. You can bounce your ideas off them.”
“There are going to be many times where you’re going to feel like ‘I just want to give this up’ because owning your own business, making jewellery, and dealing with the public can be difficult at times.”
In order to be a success, Kim thinks that being authentic to who you are is highly important. “Find something where you have a passion, and you will be successful. If you’re designing and you’re being authentic and you’re not just a copy and paste, people will be attracted to you. That was my dream.”
To relax Kim enjoys line dancing and music. “I’ve always loved music and it is a very big part of my life and creative side. I grew up with it and played guitar.”