Q: What inspired you to create “Jolia”?
A: The inspiration behind creating Jolia stemmed from witnessing the summer exhibitions, which included the incredible handmade talents of the Lebanese people that have been overlooked. These individuals were not given the opportunity to truly showcase their skills due to multiple factors such as lack of funding, lack of technology use, or insufficient knowledge about the industry. It meant that they struggled to stay up to date with the current market trends, maintain high-quality material within budget constraints, and lacked branding expertise. All these challenges combined were a reason why I wanted to take over and design the bags for them and create the brand to hire unemployed individuals. So, whenever you make a purchase from Jolia you will be supporting small businesses with big talents.
Q: Why did you choose to adopt beads and crochets into your designs?
A: Since the pandemic, there has been a trend within the market of crochet and beads, so I decided to adopt them into my designs. Everyone was working from home, so these materials were something that were easily accessible. It also became a trendy design that I’m confident is here to stay. For Jolia, it is about using elements of modern classic designs and using traditional techniques to produce them. So for example, a lot of luxury brands, Chloe, Karl Lagerfeld, and Stella are copying this exact style of handmade products but applying it to their factories.
Q: How does Jolia balance itself in a market that prioritizes mass-produced fashion?
A: It differentiates itself from mass production because its slow fashion. We use traditional techniques to create modern designs that will stay timeless. We do everything handmade purely out of raw material. They take more effort and more time compared to factory-produced bags, and mass production. So, we have less supply we are not as quick because it makes it more valuable. During this time, we must respect the lives of the artists that are creating these bags. Now we spend money with purpose, not just for the sake of shopping. We shop now with purpose.
Q: What sets Jolia apart from other brands that sell handmade products?
A: I would say Jolia sets itself apart because our designs are timeless, while at the same time, it’s mainly about targeting what’s sustainable within in the market. We are helping people while at the same time creating what’s valuable for the market. We make sure we use the best material that you cannot find in a lot of places. We have to import materials, like crystals, for example, we use them because we are slowly trying to become part of the eco-friendly environment. We also write stories about each artist that produces the bags, to allow the customer to relate to the product they are purchasing. That connection between the artist and the client makes it feel much more personalized. With our bags, you can customize them to your liking, change the handle of it and pick the color you want from the options we have, and they are also named after the districts in Lebanon. Batroun, Starco, Faqra, Rome, Bliss Street, all of them make you feel more interconnected with Lebanon. It’s like a love story.