Marwa Saadawi decided to go back to her roots, left America and came back to Egypt to start a strictly-local jewellery brand.
"Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer."
This quote definitely rings true to Marwa Saadawi, founder of strictly-locally produced jewellery brand, Indira; a Hindu word which means 'beauty' or 'splendid'.
An interesting aspect of Indira’s jewellery is the ability to wear it in more ways than one. Multi-wear jewellery is not a new thing, but it has made a comeback in the jewellery industry. Some of her pieces can change shape to suit all occasions, allowing you to wear them in cool and creative ways. "Women today are multifaceted; they live several lives in one day and want jewels that adapt to different occasions, outfits, and moods," says Mansvelt, CEO of jewellery brand Chaumet. Indira’s pieces are made of sterling silver and vermeil gold, fresh water pearls, and their signature Mother of Pearl shell. Each piece reflects an aspect of her multicultural lifestyle and diverse interactions with different parts of the world. Many of the pieces include multifaceted constructions and mechanical movements, yet they have a kind of elegant simplicity that fits perfectly with a cosmopolitan lifestyle. The timeless quality to her jewellery means that you can't really pin point it to a certain time or place, which means her pieces will never really go out of style as they don't follow a specific trend which would eventually die out. The brand’s products are currently being sold through retailers in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New York City, New Jersey and, of course, in Cairo.
Her brand came to life thanks to her love for travel and different cultures – the young Egyptian was raised in New York City, and has great memories of traveling to Egypt with her family, falling in love with the experience of meeting jewellers/designers and understanding as well as learning their work process. This further ignited her love for fashion, which has been a constant passion and hobby of hers ever since she was a young girl. Her mother had a tradition of buying one piece of jewellery from each country they visited, which taught her that jewellery can help save memories with you that last forever.
In her hometown of New Jersey, she helped put together fashion shows and charity events, allowing her to interact with the local fashion community, stores, and designers. But the idea to turn this passionate hobby into an actual career only materialized when she went on a backpacking trip through South East Asia, where she spent time with local artisans and designers. She immediately started to sketch out ideas for Indira on this very trip, and thought that it made sense to source her materials and production in the motherland. The young millennial packed up and moved to Egypt for the first time in her life, and initially took an apprenticeship in Khan Khalili to build a connection with the production side and begin to understand the process. She then began sketching her first collection, which further allowed her style to develop.
The jewellery industry is not what it used to be – today, Millenials expect brands to connect with customers and create an experience around the product, something that Marwa understands very well. She remembers the pleasant feeling of receiving hand written notes and mini bonuses with her deliveries, something that she has incorporated into her brand.
Check out some of her pieces below:
Models: Sohaila Kandil, Riy_ri_khatib