BENU MADE X HELLO JONESIE COLLABORATION

I'm delighted to announce that the wonderful Amy from Hello Jonesie and I have collaborated on a t-shirt design!

In case you haven't come across her already, Amy is the talented designer and embroiderer behind the Hello Jonesie brand. She skilfully embroiders words (of your choice, in her beautiful joined up hand-writing) and her custom illustrations onto eco-friendly cotton t-shirts. She's originally from Nashville but has been living in Paris for over three years and speaks absolutely perfect French.

Once upon a time on Instagram... That's how things work nowadays, right? Amy and I first 'met' and agreed on a product swap which quickly evolved into a collaboration. Amy works with a different designer or blogger every few months to create a limited edition t-shirt - and, to my delight, asked if I'd be her December collaborator.

She then spontaneously suggested that she could travel to Prague for a weekend to meet and discuss the collaboration (you can read the interview below). We really hit it off and had such a laugh! Below are a couple of pictures that she took while she and her lovely boyfriend Joss were here.

For the collaboration, we agreed on the OK hand sign, based on my OK brooch and necklace designs, embroidered in gold and red, onto a white cotton, slightly oversized t-shirt. The embroidery is intricate and beautifully done, and the gold thread is just gorgeous, contrasting with the bright red nails. Don't know about you guys, but I absolutely love the t-shirt and think that Amy's done an amazing job. It's super playful and a real conversation piece!

The limited edition t-shirt is available in Amy's shop here.
Check out her shop for her Wordplay and custom designs.
Or follow Amy on Instagram here.

Amy interviewed me as part of the collaboration, and you can read the full interview (in English and French) below or on her website (English and French).

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When did you launch Benu Made and why did you decide to take the plunge?

I launched Benu Made in December 2012 after months of experimenting with different mediums and crafts. At the time I was working full time in marketing and really felt the need for a creative side project to create a healthy balance with my (at times, monotonous) office work.

Late last year, I decided to move to Prague and to start working on Benu Made full time. It had got to a stage where I'd found it difficult to manage both my job and business, and felt ready to take the leap!

Quand est-ce que tu as lancé Benu Made et qu’est-ce qui t’a amené à le faire ?

J’ai lancé Benu Made en décembre 2012 au bout de plusieurs mois d’expérimentation avec divers médiums et techniques de création. Je travaillais dans le marketing à plein temps en parallèle, et je ressentais le besoin d’établir mon projet personnel pour équilibrer mon travail de bureau plutôt monotone.

Fin 2014 j’ai décidé de venir habiter à Prague et de me consacrer à Benu Made à plein temps. Mes bijoux commençaient déjà à attirer de l’attention, et je suis arrivée à un stade où j’avais du mal à jongler le boulot et mon business en même temps - donc je me suis lancée à mon compte!

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Why leather and why gold?

I love working with leather, it's at the foundation of everything I do. Its versatility means that it can be cut into any shape, making the creative design process very organic, fun and free of planning and elaborate sketches

Pourquoi le cuir et pourquoi le doré ?

J’adore travailler le cuir. C’est la matière première de tout ce que je crée. La souplesse de la matière fait qu’elle peut être découpée en toutes sortes de formes. Le processus de création devient alors très naturel et amusant, et ne nécessite pas trop de planning ni de croquis compliqués.

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What are some of your business objectives for the development of Benu Made?

This has been my first year running Benu Made full time, and to be perfectly honest, it's been a little hectic! Early next year I'm planning on creating a structured, strategic plan for 2016, including scheduled collection development, launches, PR, maintaining my blog, and taking my photography to the next level.

More generally I'm hoping to be able to sell to more stockists worldwide, continue developing products I'm proud of, and move my business in to other arenas, like bags or clutches for example. I'd also love to start incorporating other materials into my products.

Quels sont tes objectifs pour le développement de Benu Made ?

C’est la première année que je me dévoue à Benu Made à plein temps, et honnêtement ca a été plutôt fou par moments! Je prévois d’établir une stratégie bien plus structurée pour 2016 pour me faciliter la tâche, c’est à dire des lancements de collection prévues bien à l’avance, établir des relations de presse, mettre à jour mon blog régulièrement, et améliorer mes photos de produits.

De manière générale, j’espère pouvoir vendre à plus de fournisseurs dans le monde entier, continuer à développer des produits dont je peux être fière, et répandre mon répertoire de créations en me lançant dans (peut être!) la création de sacs ou de pochettes par example. J’aimerai aussi commencer à intégrer de nouveaux matériaux dans mes produits.

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Do you have any hints or a motto to share with us concerning unleashing creativity and entrepreneurship?

One creative stimulant that works really well for me is gathering inspiration over a certain period of time (weeks or months) and roughly sketching ideas down on a single piece of paper - and then return to it when I'm ready to start seriously developing a collection. Some of those ideas might have evolved or matured in my mind over time - and it feels like a very natural way to get the creative ideas going.

As-tu des astuces ou une devise à partager avec nous concernant l’entrepreneuriat et la créativité ?

Une chose qui fonctionne bien pour moi est de passer plusieurs semaines, ou même mois, à receuillir des idées qui m’inspirent, et puis faire quelques croquis sur une grande feuille de papier. Comme ça je m’y rapporte lorsque je suis prête à me lancer de tout coeur dans une nouvelle collection. Souvent je me rend compte que certaines de ces idées ont mûri dans mon imagination au fil du temps. C’est une façon très naturelle de faire fleurir des idées de base abstraites.

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What is you personal favorite Benu Made piece?

My current favourite pieces (which I wear all the time!) are from my new collection and combine thick twisted rope with little gold leather cones climbing up the rope (here and here). They look really organic and the light bounces off the cones in a really interesting way.

Quel est ton bijou Benu Made préféré/ coup de coeur ?

En ce moment mes créations préférées (que je porte tout le temps!) sont celles de ma nouvelle collection qui combinent une corde torsadée épaisse sur laquelle grimpent de petits cônes en cuir doré (ici et ici). L’effet est plutôt organique et la lumière rebondit sur les cônes de manière intéressante.

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Can you tell us a bit more about the piece of jewelry embroidered on this Hello Jonesie t-shirt and why you like it?

Amy and I worked together to determine which of my designs would work best on a t-shirt. I think this OK hand sign is really effective, eye-catching and playful. A real conversation piece! It's big enough to be visible at a distance but still very intricate with lovely fine lines, thanks to Amy's excellent embroidery skills.

Peux-tu nous dire un peu plus sur le bijou brodé sur ce t-shirt Hello Jonesie et sa signification pour toi ?

Amy et moi avons travaillé ensemble pour décider lequel de mes modèles rendrait le mieux sur un t-shirt. Je pense que ce design de main OK est très accrocheur est amusant. Un modèle qui entraîne vite la conversation je pense Le signe est assez grand pour être visible à distance et est très élégant grâce aux talentueuses mains brodeuses d’Amy!

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In your opinion, what is the perfect look to wear with the Benu Made X Hello Jonesie limited edition t-shirt?

Perfect for a casual look - tucked into high waisted jeans perhaps with an open jacket.

Pour toi, quel est le look parfait à porter avec le t-shirt Benu Made X Hello Jonesie ?

Je trouve que le t-shirt convient parfaitement à un style décontracté - avec un pantalon taille-haute peut-être et une veste ouverte.

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If you were going to order a Hello Jonesie t-shirt with a design from the main HJ collection, which design would you choose and why?

I love the little teacup design - super sweet and quirky. And I do love a good cup!

Si tu allais te faire broder un t-shirt de la collection principale de Hello Jonesie, quel motif choisirais-tu et pourquoi ?

J’adore le modèle tasse de thé - très original et mignon. Et puis en tant que britannique, j’apprécie bien évidemment toujours une bonne tasse de thé!

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And one word or phrase with 10 characters max to have embroidered?

I'd have to pick one you've made already that I've had my eye on - the 'profite' (in English, 'make the most of') wordplay t-shirt with the little sun rays. A cute, positive message that'll make you smile!

Et un mot ou petite phrase de 10 caractères à broder ?

Il y’en a un que j’admire depuis un moment déjà - le mot ‘profite’ sur un t-shirt avec des petits rayons de soleil qui ressortent au bout. Un message mignon et optimiste qui met le sourire aux lèvres.

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What would be your agenda for the perfect weekend (day) in Prague?

Let's assume it's a summer's day, as the winters are bitterly cold here! I'd start by a lovely brunch in a cute, local cafe, followed by a long walk across town - Prague is quite small and easy to navigate. I'd walk up to Letna park to have a beer in the garden there with a magnificent view of the city, continue strolling, stop for a coffee and cake perhaps, and head out in the evening for some live music or a cocktail.

Quel est ton programme pour un weekend idéal à Prague ?

Disons que nous parlons d’un weekend d’été ensoleillé, parce que les hivers sont terriblement froids ici! Je commencerai par un brunch dans un café mignon suivi d’une longue promenade à travers la ville. Prague est assez petit donc il est facile de s’y aventurer à pied. Je passerai dans le parc Letna pour prendre un bière à l’extérieur avec une belle vue sur la ville, avant dénicher un petit café pour une bonne pâtisserie Praguoise suivie de musique et un verre de vin ou cocktail en soirée!

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Three things that you couldn’t live without?

I'll have to extend three things to all of my beloved craft supplies. I've gathered up so many different types of materials and supplies that the creative possibilities are endless!

Les trois choses sans lesquelles tu ne pourras pas vivre ?

Toutes mes fournitures de création! J’ai recueilli tellement de matériaux, tissus et outils différents au fil des années que les possibilités de création sont énormes!

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Lately, what kind of music or podcasts do you listen to the most?

I love listening to podcasts whilst I'm preparing and making jewellery orders. My favourites are Freakonomics Radio, Love + Radio, TED Radio Hour, and Strangers. I've just finished listening to Benjamin Clementine's new album - his voice is really mesmerising and his music is beautiful.

Qu’est-ce que tu écoutes le plus en ce moment ?

J’aime beaucoup écouter des podcasts pendant que je prépare mes commandes de bijoux. J’aime surtout Freakonomics Radio, Love + Radio, TED Radio Hour et Strangers. J’ai aussi écouté et adoré le nouvel album de Benjamin Clementine récemment - sa voix est hypnotique et sa musique est vraiment belle.

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Your favorite vacation spot that you can vouch for?

Last year I travelled to Peru and Bolivia, and was totally fascinated by the Andes and the vast salt flats in Bolivia. Difficult to pick a favourite though, I also loved Mexico, Cuba, South Korea... Still plenty more to see!

L’endroit préféré où tu es déjà allée en vacances ?

L’année dernière je suis allée au Pérou et en Bolivie. J’ai adoré parcourir les Andes et les vastes plaines de sel en Bolivie. C’est difficile de choisir un endroit préféré! J’ai aussi adoré le Mexique, Cuba, la Corée du Sud... et il me reste tellement de pays à visiter!

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How would you Describe Pauline in three words?

Tough to describe myself, but perhaps enthusiastic, playful and rather greedy (food-wise!).

Décrire Pauline dans trois mots, ce serait quoi ?

C’est difficile de se décrire! Mais puisqu’il le faut, on va dire enthousiaste, joueuse et plutôt gourmande!

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BENU MADE 'ALL GOLD' COLLECTION

Hi there!

I'm super excited to be launching my new 'all gold' collection today. It's been months in the making, and I'm really pleased at the turn my designs have taken. You can find the full collection in my Etsy Shop and photos below.

For this collection I wanted to move towards designs that are more grown up, but still really unique and out there. All of the new designs are centred around beautiful, shiny gold leather. It's actually often mistaken for metal - but a lot lighter to wear, and much more malleable for me, as the designer, to play around with and develop.

I do love colourful leather, but there's something about the simplicity, smoothness and shininess of this self-sufficient gold that has allowed me to be braver in terms of shapes, layering and even reshaping the flat leather into three-dimensional cones of all sizes. The simplicity coupled with the originality of the pieces makes them, I think, quite versatile and the perfect accompaniment for work or play.

I haven't been shy when it comes to scale and size, so there are plenty of big statement earrings and necklaces - contrasting with the simplicity of the leather and soft, twisted cotton rope in a couple of designs.

All pieces from the new collection are designed, hand cut and assembled by me - it can be laborious work at times, but coupled with a good podcast or audiobook, is also a very soothing and relaxing process.

I've really enjoyed the challenge of developing a coherent collection this time, and I hope you guys like it. My personal favourites are pictured below, with links to the product pages in my Etsy shop.

I would love to hear what you think - please feel free to leave a comment here or get in touch via social media!

Happy weekend!

Pauline

 

And a couple of behind the scenes shots...

MY STUDIO

Welcome to my studio! This gorgeous high-ceilinged space is where all Benu Made pieces are thought up, drawn, designed, created, photographed and packaged. I've been based in Prague for nine months now - my boyfriend and I decided to move over from London in search of a more peaceful lifestyle. You can read more about my business and why I decided to move to Prague here and on the Mollie Makes blog.

After two years of working on Benu Made out of the corner of my living room (photos at the end of this post), I'm so so grateful to have this wonderful space.

As a self-confessed nosey parker who loves a peep into people's homes and workspaces, I thought some of you might enjoy this little tour!

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My (also very nosey) little helper...

Here's a bit of a peek at a couple of new pieces that are on my desk at the moment. I've also been experimenting with copper / rose gold leather for my new collection, so stay tuned...

Typically, my desk looks like this - all sorts of materials, paper templates, and teeny tiny things like the little red leather nails you can see below!

Back in the day

On the left: This here was my work 'zone' in a corner of our small living room in our lovely, old flat in Bethnal Green, in London. It all started at my living / dining room table mid-2012 (safe to say eating at that table soon came to a halt!). It was cramped, but the view over the City and cosiness of it was lovely.

On the right: We then moved to a bigger space in Hackney Wick, where I still worked out of a corner of the living room, but with huge windows and an amazing two meter long new table from Unto This Last. If you're in London, I highly recommended checking out their workshop at the top of Brick Lane!