Intrigued by colors, up-and-coming jewelry maker Amany Shindy talks about the inspirations behind her bright pieces, her journey to success and following your passion.
by Farah El Akkad photography courtesy Amany Shindy
Born in Alexandria, Amany Shindy has always wanted to be an artist or designer. As a young girl, Shindy used to love painting and mixing colors. In high school she had her heart set on the Faculty of Fine Arts. But her grades got her into Commerce and, after graduating in 2011, she started working in a navigation company.
“After a while, I felt like I wanted to start my own business, something I love and enjoy doing and at the same time. I would be my own boss,” Shindy says. “In 2012, I started making simple accessories such as bracelets and thin necklaces for my small circle of friends and relatives. A couple of months later, the circle grew and many people, particularly my family, encouraged me to start the business.”[caption id="attachment_522470" align="alignnone" width="620"] Amany Shindy[/caption]
With the help and support of her family (her mother is a fashion designer and her sister is a make-up artist), Shindy launched her own accessories line while still holding down her 9-5 job. “I started working hard to produce a wellmade collection, which was my first collection ever posted on my Facebook page. In the beginning, the hardest part was buying the material needed, particularly after my circle of clients started growing. At first, I used to buy small amounts but with time and demand, I found it costs much less to sign contracts with different suppliers who provide me with material such as emeralds, rubies and many types of precious stones.”
Within a year, Shindy’s customers on Facebook had grown so much she barely had time to keep up with demand. “I stopped making customized accessories and started to focus on making my own unique designs,” she says.
Shindy has fallen back on her mother and sister, both of whom help with her work, for support. “All of my accessories are handmade by myself, my sister and mum. I have a small workshop at home. It is more like my sanctuary,” she adds.
Inspired by colors, the up-and-coming designer explains that colors intrigue her. “I see colors on clothes, in nature or anything, and I automatically mix them together in my head and out of nowhere, I find myself imagining the style and whether it will be a necklace, bracelet or a pair of earrings.”
Shindy’s designs vary in both color, size and simplicity. “I like to cover all kinds of styles, and I think it also depends on one’s mood. Sometimes we are in the mood to wear something edgy, showy and other days we just want something simple. Part of my designing process is looking around me and memorizing different tastes,” Shindy says.
Shindy has participated in many different accessories fairs in her hometown of Alexandria. “My first experience in 2013 was the most successful, but by 2014 I felt that fairs have become flooded with accessories and nothing really stands out.” Shindy has since then been exhibiting her work in boutiques such as Cairo Boutique and Vintage. “Many boutiques started contacting me through Facebook and Instagram, and I find it is a good chance for me to display my stuff in different places and away from the hustle and bustle of fairs and bazaars.”
Recently, Shindy’s designs have also gone international and have been exhibited in various boutiques in Lebanon, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
The young designer says she can’t always gauge how long a new collection take her to produce. “It is kind of random and I like it this way. I do not believe it is best to produce a collection every season; a good designer should wait for the right time. I usually feel like it is time to produce a new collection when I get inspired by a new trend of clothes. I keep picturing how my accessories will look with a new outfit.” At Ramadan, Shindy displayed a new Islamic collection, incorporating different Quranic verses and Islamic ornaments.
Shindy has a penchant for fashion and plans on getting into clothes design along with accessories. “One of my dreams is to put together a fashion show specifically for accessories. I always notice that fashion shows are for clothes or sometimes shoes only — why not accessories as well?” says Shindy, who is currently looking forward to opening her own gallery and boutique.
But it has not been an easy road to success, especially with the accessories market in Egypt expanding and becoming very competitive. Despite her share of ups and downs, particularly the challenge of balancing her 9 to 5 corporate job, Shindy has managed to make a name for herself. “I rarely have any free time," she says. "After finishing work, I come home and start working on the accessories. I am tired but nothing beats my happiness. I love what I do."