Wearable Design: Shayma Al Nuaimi’s tale

Shay Goldsmith & Jewelry Making is named after its proprietor, Shayma Abdulla Ahmed bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, who was described by the local media as UAE’s Youngest Jewelry Designer for 2009. Shayma’s passion for jewelry designing started as a hobby. Her relatives and friends are the first people who encouraged her to pursue a business in jewelry designing after witnessing her potentials and talents in designing original, unique, attractive and sophisticated pieces and collections. Furthermore, was also certified as the Youngest UAE Jewelry Designer for 2010 from her highness Fatima Bent Mubarak (wife of His Highness Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan). She studied English literature in University with Bachelor degree. Afterwards she took some external courses (GIA) in Drawings especially jewelry drawing as drawing and jewels are her passion since childhood. She was interviewed many times in TV channels to express her jewelry line, in addition, participated in many famous jewelry exhibitions in UAE. She started her jewelry manufacturing journey by dealing with different workshop and goldsmiths to create her own pieces and to start her business under the name of Shay Designs then, back in May 2013, Shayma was able to open her own workshop and named as Shay Goldsmith & Jewelry Making specialized in designing and repairing. This year, she has completed six years old in the jewelry field and opened her own shop, Shay Goldsmith Shop, at one of the biggest mall in her emirates.

First of all, let’s start from the beginning: what are the origins of your passion for design and goldworking?
Since childhood I liked to see jewels and I liked to go to jewelleries to see the accessories, as a child I liked to see the accessories. As I grew up I started to collect jewellery and I remember my father, every time he saw a jewellery he used to say: “Oh, look, Shayma’s shop!”.
So it’s been a passion since childhood, I planned to have my shop, with my designs and I studied jewellery after I finished my university studies, it was a totally different field (English), so I went to study jewellery designing and after that, I met some people who helped me create my own company and my own factory and I started to showcase my products online, on Facebook and on Twitter. Facebook was actually my first shop, seven years ago. Until now the company’s accounts are active, I have a big network and a platform for my works. It is a dream that came true and last month I opened my first shop in the UAE, in one of the biggest malls in Ras al- Khaimah.

Do you have any person or any work of art that acted as a main inspiration for your career?
Actually anything beautiful can be an inspiration to me. I really like Van Cleef (and Arpels) because of the different settings of the stones and their mixture. Also I visited some jewellery brands like Bulgari and the mixture of the colours is very nice and I like of course the cut of the diamonds. So I can’t go for one designer in particular, you have to see beauty in everything, even now that it’s my first time here in Trieste, I love the buildings, their colours. You can see beauty everywhere.

You brought your “Wearable design” collection to Europe. Tell us something about it.
The idea of the “Wearable design” started off the collaboration between me and two Italian designers: Romeo and Fontani. Wearable design means to find out how to convert design objects into jewellery and each piece has its own story behind. We tried to create a new fashion brand. It’s like art that you can wear.

You talked earlier about Facebook and Twitter: how important are marketing and self-promotion for you in order to develop your art and your business? Marketing is what lets people know your brand and create a big network, so that people will get to know you. Without any marketing you would never be able to “spread the word”. You need a lot of people to see what you do, I have more than 10.000 fans on Facebook and on Instagram. This is the real networking platform, people talk about your brand and they want to have a piece of your art and wear it. The important thing is to keep your fans updated on what’s coming next. You get to really know who’s following you for your art. They will come to your exhibitions; they will promote your art for you. It’s like building a bond with your fans and this will attract more and more people. Trust is the most important thing between a brand and the customers.

You worked in collaboration with Fontani and Romeo. What do you think about Italian designers?
In my country we see Italian designers really passionate about their art. If you brought a collection from Romeo to my country without saying it was from an Italian artist, we would recognize it as Italian art all the same. We really like Italian art and it’s nice to collaborate with Italian designers.

Did you have to adapt you work to bring your collection to Europe and to Italy in particular? Did you have to change anything?
Actually, I believe my designs suit everywhere and any type of people, Italian, European, Arab, they’re good for everyone. My brand is an international, universal brand. Some pieces are traditional from my country, at least in the inspiration, but I change them to make them more modern and they can be used by anyone any day.

You travel a lot I guess…Are there any places in the world where you like to be? Somewhere in Italy perhaps?
In Italy I like Rome but I feel in love with Trieste! I like many countries and different places around the world. Each country, each city has its own beauty. For example I went to Prague and I loved the river, the buildings. Everywhere I go I see something different but something beautiful as well. Trieste is different from every other city I’ve seen, and I love it. The Piazza (dell’Unità) on the sea is really breathtaking! I like many other cities that are totally different: Hong Kong, very different, Los Angeles, San Francisco with the Golden Bridge. Everywhere there’s something beautiful and I can find inspiration from many different things.
I have a hobby, I collect jewellery catalogues from around the world, from the citie I visit.

So you can find inspiration from other designers?
Yes, I can see the updates and it gives me more ideas!

Do you have any future plans, any idea you want to develop in the near future?
Maybe I’d love to open a shop in Italy!

Talking about the UAE: where did the goldsmith come from? How did it all begin?
It’s an old art that started in the “gold suq” in Dubai, where the goldsmiths were. Now, in the last 20 years, it has developed and many people have become designers. The goldsmith used to come from outside of the country and gathered in the suq. Now we want to do things by ourselves. It’s a good thing for the UAE, we can show our art, we can show that we can do things, we don’t need to import anymore.

Are there any young artists from the UAE that you like? What’s the situation like between the young artists?
Actually there are many young designers, sometimes we meet to discuss the collections. Sometimes I call a friend who’s a well known jewellery designer in the UAE an take her advice. We do many exhibitions.
I can’t mention one, there are many good designers with different styles and maybe one day we’ll be able to come out of the UAE and it will be a success because we’ll be able to show many different aspects of our different designs.

What characterizes your design?
My design is a mixture of the old culture designs and the new ones. It’s supposed to have a daily use but it’s creative all the same.

Define “Wearable design” in four words.
Sophisticated, heartfelt, absolute and young.