Love in the LimeLite - La Femme Magazine 2018
Making seriously covetable fine jewellery more accessible to all without losing any of its sparkle, limelite Jewellery is impressing us with serious shine
We love to have our fingers firmly on the pulse at La Femme and with this in mind, we’re always excited to discover a new luxury brand, especially when it’s homegrown.
Meeting Ilke Shah and Minna Bussey, it’s easy to see why the brand has catapulted to success in such a short time, as the Turkish- Finnish duo has an effusive personal sparkle addictive enough that they could easily bottle and sell. Having made a successful leap from investment banking to fine jewellery design (via interior design for good measure!) the founders of LimeLite Jewellery set up shop in April 2016. Cue nature-inspired creations that see their clients coming back for more with each collection.
You started by creating pieces for yourself. How did that come about and what was the first piece you created?
Ilke: I started making pieces for myself about 15 years ago, but when we moved to Dubai I was a miserable housewife and creating jewellery gave me a renewed sense of achievement. I was visiting the workshop on a nearly daily basis. I’ve always loved nature and snakes in particular, so my snake ring was the first design I made.
You stared locally and over the last 12 months the brand has grown and grown. Have you found your pieces are particularly well received in any one part of the world?
Both: We feel so lucky and grateful with the love we are getting. Dubai is a great place to start a business but apart from the UAE we are really loved in the U.S. and Europe comes a close third after that. With the power of social media, we’re getting calls from Nigeria to Puerto Rico and it’s exciting every time!
How would you work your pieces from beach to bar?
Ilke: We believe in wearing jewellery every day. Jewellery should not be stuck in a safe and too precious to wear and for women to be able to do that, pieces need to be comfortable and effortless as well as easy to layer according to each person’s own unique style. Minna: For example, I wear my Name necklace, Cube ring and Initial ring every single day, including to the beach. to add a bit of sparkle for the evening I’ll just add a larger ring and a couple of longer necklaces.
Was it always a dream to launch your own line?
Ilke: to be honest, I never dreamed of launching my own line but friends pushed me to do it and now I’m so glad they did! Minna: I always dreamt of running my own business, but which business hadn’t come to me yet. I was involved with limelite from the beginning by doing photography for Ilke and seeing it all close up because we were friends. So when Ilke asked me to become her business partner, it felt like a very natural step!
Has it surprised you how clients have adapted to shopping for fine jewellery online?
Ilke: We have loved working with e-commerce sites like Moda operandi and Boutique1, because it’s taught us so much. having the support of key retail names as an emerging brand is so important in establishing your credibility so we are grateful for these opportunities. Since launching our own site, we are mainly an e-commerce business though and with most orders, we talk with our clients before they press the buy button. We speak to them to ensure that the piece will be exactly what they’re expecting in person.
What have been the uphill climbs and learning curves and how did you overcome them?
Minna: there have been so many steep learning curves that I can’t name just one. With your own business, you face difficulties and hurdles most days. there are times when you just want to throw the towel in but that’s why so many small businesses fail and that is absolutely not on our roadmap! You have to believe that there’s a solution for every problem. I also have a great group of amazing girlfriends around me who all continue to be so supportive and the same goes for my husband. I couldn’t do it without his support.
What’s your signature style?
Ilke: Romantic, edgy, feminine and a little bit rock chic. Minna: As a Finn I tend to be a little bit more understated with my style. If I’m wearing heavy earrings, I won’t wear a necklace and vice versa. on my hands though, I’m happy to layer it on.
What are your top tips for investing in fine jewellery pieces?
Ilke: Always go with your heart: what you love at first sight. We don’t adhere to classic rules such as you shouldn’t mix different metals together.
Where do you source your materials?
Ilke: We source a lot of materials from India but my home country turkey is my biggest inspiration with its rich, colourful culture and of course, amazing jewellery history!
Do you find women in the Middle East differ in their approach to fine jewellery?
Ilke: Middle Eastern women are extremely fashion forward. they are bold and never afraid of trying new things so it’s been amazing to be surrounded by them.
Who’s the most exciting client you’ve worked with?
Ilke: We have a very special client in Dallas (a brain surgeon, no less!) and she has been like an angel who has supported us very early on in the business. She has amazing taste and we just love working with a woman who is making her own money and enjoying her own style.
What is your first memory of jewellery?
Ilke: My mum always wore my grandmother’s rose-cut necklace; that’s why I love rose-cut diamonds and vintage jewellery. Minna: My grandmother’s blue sapphire earrings. Very old- fashioned and classic — I was in awe of them as a little girl.
What can we look forward to seeing more of in 2018 from LimeLite Jewellery?
Both: More colours and more affordable pieces that fit into a gifting price range. We have a lot of women coming to us looking for a gift for a friend so we want to offer them a wide range to choose from. We want your jewellery to make you feel happy, not guilty because of the price you paid for it!