The Best Of Hong Kong
Lifestyle News
By Gayatri Bhaumik | August 5th, 2020

An elevator convo with Yasmin Tjoeng, founder of Maison Tjoeng . See here for more from our Next Up series.

What do you do?

I am the founder and designer of contemporary fine jewelry brand Maison Tjoeng. We create bold, unique pieces of wearable art, crafted to the highest standard and made to last generations. We also provide bespoke services to clients, whether that’s customizing our prêt-a-porter collections or working closely with clients to bring their dreams to life.

How does your business work?

Each piece begins with inspiration that sparks a new idea. I take the inspiration or concept and begin sketching, playing with different proportions and incorporating or removing elements; it’s a bit like finding the sculpture within a block of marble, and once the form begins to take shape, I work on refining the design.

If I’m designing a collection rather than an individual piece, I will take the first design, which might be a ring or necklace, then begin applying those design elements and aesthetics to other pieces to complete the collection. When a collection is finalized, I send the hand-drawn designs to my master craftsmen; we then discuss the mechanics of a piece or availability of gemstones, and once those details are resolved, the design goes the workshop to be brought to life!

We reach our customers in a number of ways, including participating in some of the world’s most prestigious trade shows, which allows me to showcase the brand to fine jewelry retailers and private jewelers. I also hold private trunk shows and appointments for clients worldwide. Our pieces are sold through select retailers, private jewelers, and our online store.

How did your business get started?

It all started on a trip to Paris in 2012, when I was introduced to a jewelry designer. It was at that moment that I realized what I wanted to do. I have always loved jewelry. As a child, I would (and still do) volunteer to clean my mother’s jewelry just to be able to look at and admire the beauty of the gemstones and designs.

My first course after leaving high school was Architectural Interior Design. I loved it, but knew it wasn’t quite right, so after meeting the jewelry designer in Paris I knew I wanted to apply my design aesthetic to jewelry. I then enrolled to study jewelry design and silversmithing in Singapore and interned for a local fine jewelry brand. During the jewelry design course, I knew I wanted to have my own design house, I had a strong sense of what I wanted to design and the desire to express myself freely through my work.

After taking the plunge and registering my business, I traveled around the world to identify gemstones dealers and craftsmen who could create pieces to the highest quality. I eventually found a master craftsman in Hong Kong, who understood my design aesthetic and vision and who makes exquisitely crafted jewelry. I launched Maison Tjoeng in 2016.

Who are your customers?

Maison Tjoeng has a broad range of clients. I create non-gender and non-age specific designs, so I find I have a wide range of clients from all over the world. What all my clients have in common is a love for fine jewelry and are looking for unique and artistic designs or contemporary and meaningful pieces to add to their jewelry collections. I love that my designs have universal appeal! Currently my main client base is in the United States and Europe, but one of my goals is to grow clientele in the Asian and Australasian markets, especially as it is my home region.

What’s a day in your working life like?

The beauty of my job is that I have no standard day. However, I usually start the day doing administrative tasks like replying to emails, managing accounts, and speaking with my master craftsman or PR manager. I try to dedicate my afternoons to meeting clients, designing, photographing jewellery for social media, sourcing gemstones, and packing orders.

Depending on the time of year, I might be planning for a trade show, which takes months of preparation; everything from logistics and insurance to designing showcase displays and working with illustrators and graphic designers for promotional materials.

At least twice a year I organise campaign shoots. I have a great team in Hawaii that I work with so if possible, we shoot there in the most amazing natural environments – it’s hard to beat! It can be a very demanding job, with lots of travel and being away from home for extended periods, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I am very blessed for my work to be my passion.

Where do you see your business in the future?

My dream for Maison Tjoeng is to become a fine jewellery brand synonymous with the finest quality jewels and artistry and to have boutiques or showrooms for clients to visit around the world. I think it would be wonderful to build the story of Maison Tjoeng through a physical space where customers can be immersed in a full sensory experience of the brand aesthetic and designs.

A key part of my mission is to produce a product and service that is to the highest standard to ensure longevity. Not just in pieces of jewellery but in the company itself. I would love for the company to outlast me and grow beyond what I can achieve during my time with it. I also plan to work closely with charities and artisanal communities on different projects in the near future, which I am very much looking forward to.