Since I've shown some lovely handmade items from artists featured on Boticca recently, I thought it was time to learn more about "the online boutique for unique jewelry and fashion accessories by top emerging designers from around the world."
So, I interviewed the co-founders of Boticca, Avid Larizadeh and Kiyan Foroughi. Avid, who grew up in Paris, and Kiyan, who was raised in Paris and Dubai, actually knew each other before they attended universities in the U.S. Each had a successful career prior to founding Boticca.
How did the two of you meet?
AVID: We actually met via our grandparents who had been friends for years without us realizing.
What led to your launching Boticca?
KIYAN: It was one of those inspiring moments, when while on a trip to Marrakesh, I encountered a jewelry designer called Miriam. As I talked with her, it quickly became clear that not only was Miriam's jewelry aesthetically beautiful, it also had a valuable meaning and story to it.
With more demand for her work, Miriam went from selling her work in the Atlas Mountains to women in her village, to coming to Marrakesh several times a week to sell her jewelry to tourists. Realizing how few people would get to discover Miriam and her work, we wanted to do something to change that to make it possible for people all over the world to be able to discover Miriam's jewelry and her story. This is how Boticca came to be.
Where did the name 'Boticca' come from?
AVID:The word 'Botica' comes from the old Provencal French word for boutique. Thanks to cyber squatters, the 'botica' with 1 'c' was not available at the time, so 'Boticca' with 2 'c's was born! The meaning is still the same, though.
Even though artisan-produced fashion represents a small segment of the marketplace, more and more online stores are selling it. What do you make of this trend?
KIYAN: More and more, people are looking to invest in high-quality non-mass produced pieces, with an added meaning to them. They are seeking that personal connection with their purchase. This is especially true with jewelry and accessories. Even more so than with clothes. That Boticca allows the customer to build a personal connection with the designer, and to learn their story, is what really resonates with the customer. It is this one-off, personal experience with a piece of jewelry or a handmade leather bag for instance, that people look for when shopping.
What makes Boticca different?
AVID: Unlike many online marketplaces, Boticca is curated. This means that designers are required to submit an application which is then reviewed by our style-hunting team to determine whether the designer and their work would be a good fit on Boticca. To date, Boticca is the only site of its kind specializing solely in accessories.
What does Boticca look for in designers and/or their work?
KIYAN: There are so many criteria and obviously, we look at every designer and their work on an individual basis. The main thing we look for when we review a designer, besides quality, is the unique story behind them and their work. For our style-hunting team, it is also nice to see when a designer has clearly looked at the site to get an idea of the tone and feel, understood the concept, as well as taken a look at the work of other designers when we review their application.
What Boticca items are most popular right now?
AVID: Shingo Matsushita's knitted jewelry with earrings and necklaces made from the same silk used in Kimonos (above) is proving popular. Also, the chain mail jewelry by Iranian designer JamDesign (below), inspired by Persian mosiac art and ancient body armour, are a true artform, taking the designer sometimes days to create.
How do you see the market for work by emerging desingers evolving?
KIYAN: More people definitely seem to be looking for something with meaning, which they often cannot find on the high-street or from a bigger brand. So, in this way, I think the market is definitely growing and can only get bigger.
What advice might you offer to aspiring fashion artisans?
KIYAN: To believe in themselves and keep doing what they're doing.
AVID: We try to meet our designers needs and provide for them whenever we can as well as improving the experience for our customers, which means lots of new and exciting features are coming to the site.
Thanks to Avid and Kiyan for doing this interview!
It's great to see a curated site like Boticca focus on designers doing handmade work. I like Boticca's approach of profiling artists and their personal stories so that we can fully appreciate the people behind the work.
You can see more at Boticca.com.