We go design hunting with Jeni Oye of jewellery website Oye Modern
We know a lot of you are always on the hunt for unique jewellery pieces, so we thought we’d get to know a little about someone who’s done the hunting for you, Jeni Oye from Oye Modern.
How did Oye Modern come to be? What’s your story?
I am a bit of a jewellery fanatic. Both my grandmother and Mum loved art and design, especially big, bold beautiful jewellery, and had a taste for interesting and off-beat fashion, so I grew up surrounded by unique design.
My background is in web design and strategy, and each year I would go hunting on the web for great jewellery to buy and could never find it, hence the idea for Oye Modern was born.
There is no other store in the world selling the unique kind of jewellery we have at Oye Modern, we have become a global brand and stock designers from all over the world. Now I can indulge my passion for jewellery and design every day. I love it.
How do you go about finding pieces for the website? It must be amazing hunting down these fantastically talented jewellers, where do you find them?
This is most definitely the fun part, but also the most challenging. In the beginning I would wander my favourite galleries and stores, and note down names of designers I was interested in, and then contact them.
Now I get submissions from designers all over the world wanting to be represented on Oye Modern. There seems to be a bit of prestige now to be selected for Oye Modern, which is very flattering!
More recently I do a lot of my jewellery hunting online, I have a number of blogs and design sites where I look out for interesting work, and I’ve taken a few trips to Rome, NY and NZ, and Australian cities looking for the emerging designers represented at design markets like designboom, FindersKeepers and local galleries.
Jewellery is so much about the way it feels, how do you work with this in the online context?
After we first launched Oye Modern we struggled to help customers understand scale and how the jewellery looked when worn.
At that time we only had photos of the products on their own, but now each new design we launch is accompanied by one or two photos of the piece being worn, so customers can understand scale, length, how it hangs etc.
Next year I’m planning to extend that to video, so that we can show how a piece swings or glistens when you move.
I think part of the attraction of buying online is the actual delivery, opening up the box and seeing the product in real life, and then holding it and putting it on.
That’s where good packaging design comes into play, and I think our boxes are quite unique and different, and that adds to the wow factor when people receive their order or give a gift.
What makes you a Design Hunter™?
I’ve always been a Design Hunter™. I’m a bit of a minimalist in that I only buy things I really love, so my wardrobe is quite succinct, my house is sparsely decorated, but only with really awesome things.
In high school I could never find clothes I liked, so I would make my own. I studied Industrial Design at Uni and then made a career from web design, so I’ve chosen to be surrounded by design all my life. Even my kids’ rooms have Warhol and Lichtenstein prints, no pink flowers and pastel blue cars, just Marilyn and some rockets blazing through the sky!
Do you have a favourite piece/pieces from the Oye collections? Could you tell us about them?
Mmm, that’s tricky, I love them all so much. I do have two pieces that I save for special occasions and just adore, both of them are by NYC designer and sculptor Andrea Corson.
The Cocktail Caviar ring doesn’t need any words to explain how cool it is, but the Secret Garden I have to say I would never consider something like this for myself (too flowery and girly), until I tried it on, and then I could not stop thinking about it and wore it all. the. time. It is phenomenal.
What’s next for Oye Modern? Anything big in the works?
Oh yes, always big plans! In addition to some incredible new designers we’ve lined up, we are considering commissioning our own line of jewellery that we would design and sell on Oye Modern.
We’ll be doing a lot more interviews with our designers so you can meet them and see how and where they work. We’ll be using video a lot more to really bring these to life.
And in addition to that we’ll be broadening our global reach to ensure we are the destination of choice for awesome jewellery design worldwide.