The founder of Ayana Jewellery, Lauren Batten, is proof that you can turn a hobby into a successful business.
After completing a jewellery night course in her native New Zealand, she was hooked. A silver smithing class and a move to London later, where she met fiancé Vincent Koc, and Ayana was born.
The pair relocated to Sydney in 2015 and now design and make contemporary pieces from their home studio.
“Each jewellery item in our range is handcrafted in sterling silver from start to finish, with each piece not quite the same as the one before,” says Batten.
“The handmade nature of the jewellery is our passion and we want to spread the ‘handmade’ word. We design with fun-loving women in mind and the idea that jewellery is to be worn and enjoyed every day.”
Inspiration for the pieces comes from the pair’s travels, from cultural motifs to architectural shapes and forms, and can take anywhere from less than an hour to five hours to complete.
“There are lots of awesome jewellery brands on the market so it is hard to stand out,” says Batten. “We just try to be ourselves and really promote that our jewellery is handmade…
“We also pride ourselves on the high craftsmanship of our products and will never sell anything that isn’t just perfect. Being the designer and the maker I’m with each and every product from when it’s just an idea to when it is displayed and brought by the customer—there’s lots of love in all of our jewels.”
As Ayana’s main point of difference is that everything is handcrafted, Batten and Koc are eager to get the message out there but say it has been difficult.
“The biggest challenge is…educating customers and stockists that they can have beautiful handmade jewellery from right here in Australia and don’t need to continue to buy mass manufactured jewellery,” explains Batten.
Ayana exhibited at Life Instyle Melbourne recently, where Batten launched her new range of rose gold plated jewellery and met retailers from across the country.
“We aren’t rushing to the finish line to get as many stockists as we can, we want to build great relationships with our stockists and ensure we are the right fit for each other,” she says.
“Our current stockists are a mixture of funky gift shops, homeware stores, jewellery boutiques and even a café/gift shop. These are all our ideal stores to stock in with an emphasis on handmade and beautiful displays.”
Apart from fulfilling orders from Life Instyle, the pair will be busy over the next few months adding to their collection, with quirky teen jewels and a bridal range in the works.
By Ruth Cooper