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Celebrating 30 Years at NAJO
Thursday, 14 July 2016 12:34:02 PM Australia/Sydney
A Q&A with Founder Jo Tory
This year marks NAJO’s 30th in business as Australia’s leading sterling silver design house. We are celebrating this major milestone with exciting events throughout 2016, starting with our Design Competition – the finalists will be announced in the coming months. In August we’ll be launching a spectacular limited-edition anniversary collection which jewellery lovers and long-time fans of the brand definitely won’t want to miss.
But turning 30 also naturally calls for a little reflection. What better time to find out what NAJO founder Jo Tory has learnt from decades of success in the Australian jewellery industry?
Wow, Jo. Congratulations on 30 years in business. That’s a particularly big achievement in the Australian market. What’s your secret?
Consistency. Over the years we have built a look that is distinctly “NAJO”. While our biannually launched themed collections bring freshness, some of the Signature NAJO models have been with us for 20 years! That’s testament to our longevity.
So what is it that women want from sterling silver jewellery?
Jewellery is so personal. Women want to feel a synergy, a resonance with their choice so that it becomes part of their style story, and not dependent on trends. They want high quality, well-crafted, comfortable jewellery.
How do you continually find fresh inspiration without becoming a slave to fashion?
A passion for jewellery and design keeps me stimulated. Being able to experiment with different materials motivates me. Stone shapes and colours forge ideas. I love to take risks in design and indulge a whim – this can sometimes lead to the ideas that develop a collection.
Who or what are your main design influences?
[Legendary Danish jeweller] Georg Jensen has been the most formative influence on my designs and the master silversmiths of Mexico have been my inspiration.
How has the brand evolved over time?
We may have experimented with different styles over the years, but we’ve always adhered to our original design ethos and aesthetic: classic simplicity with a twist. Our jewellery often references different genres in design and that gives it an edge.
How has the Australian jewellery industry changed in 30 years?
Hugely! Big brands have evolved and come to Australia, fashion jewellery has experienced enormous growth and has blurred boundaries with fine jewellery. There is so much more choice now.
Have Australian jewellery customers changed?
Obviously people shop differently now – namely online. But quality and brand integrity have become more important than ever to customers. Australian and New Zealand women are more widely travelled than they used to be. They can shop the world at the click of a button so they have become more discerning, looking for brands they can trust, and that are authentic. And for style that outlives trends, which are changing faster than ever.
What comes next for NAJO? Where will your rich legacy take you in the future?
I will always stay true to the heritage and design aesthetic of NAJO. But I would love to experiment with new metals, stones and materials, and perhaps develop a fine jewellery line that is harmonious with our silver. Of course I would also love to introduce NAJO to a whole new audience of jewellery fans.