Fair Jewelry was founded by Jennifer Cheung, a Vancouver based jewelry designer who prides herself on creating pieces that are sustainable and made from up-cycled materials. Her jewelry is designed with the modern, eco-conscious individual in mind and wants to attract clientele who are searching for high-quality pieces but value sustainability.
From a very early age, Jennifer loved fashion and would make jewelry in her free time. When she was little, she always dreamed of being a fashion designer but ended up studying in a different field. So five years ago, when she was unsure of what to do next with her career, her boyfriend had found an old notebook filled with her jewelry sketches and encouraged her to pursue creating jewelry and she rediscovered her passion for it.
“I used to think to myself, you don’t just become a jewelry designer,” Cheung says. “Growing up, I didn’t feel like there was jewelry out there that was good quality. I always bought gold plated pieces but it would end up rubbing off.” She then started watching Youtube videos and learned how to make her first ring before going to school for jewelry design.
The name Fair Jewelry was a switch from the original name La Montagnette, which translates to “little mountains” in French. “When I started the company I wanted to name it after the street my boyfriend and I lived on in France. We lived in the countryside on a street called Rue de la Montagne which means route to the mountains.” Cheung explains. The name had a very sentimental meaning to her but when the brand started growing she realized it was hard for people to pronounce. “I wanted to change the name to be more accessible and easily identifiable to our customers. When deciding on a new name, it was hard because I didn’t know what I wanted the brand to stand for.” The name Fair Jewelry came from wanting to make jewelry that was fair to her employees, the environment, and their customers. “The women who wears this jewelry are fair women. Strong, independent and beautiful in their own way.”
The inspiration behind many of Cheung’s pieces is her grandmother. “I always looked up to her and I envisioned this was the type of jewelry she would wear. Her style was very classy, elegant, and sophisticated,” she says. “She had a timeless fashion sense and is the type of person I create jewelry for.”
Fair Jewelry prioritizes the use of eco-conscious materials. Cheung comes from a biology background in school and because of that, the environment has always been very important to her. “I have always been an eco-conscious person. I’m very cautious about what I buy and where it comes from. When I started my company, I wanted to create pieces that would do the least harm to the environment.”
While she understands that she is still using up the world’s resources, there is really no way around the fact that materials like gold and silver do come from the earth. Together, with their donations to environmental conservation and biodiversity protection, Cheung and her team try their best to find material that can be up-cycled to minimize waste.
“When I created the glass collection, it was like this ‘ah-ha’ moment, because glass is 100% recyclable and can be melted and reused again and again,” Cheung explains. “We also incorporate liquid sand because it’s plentiful and sustainable and even if it wasn’t recyclable, there aren’t any harmful effects on the environment.”
Jewelry can hold a lot of meaning to an individual, but Cheung often does not wear her own collections. People ask her why she does not wear her pieces and although she loves them, she says it is because she wears jewelry that other people have given to her and that has a special reason behind why it was bought. “For me, jewelry holds a sentimental meaning. I believe that it has the ability to tell stories and I hope that when people buy or gift my jewelry they have that same connection to it as well.”
Starting a business from the ground up comes with many hurdles. Cheung says that one of the biggest challenges she faced was understanding how to market her business. “I never really used Instagram except for posting some travel pictures and I realized how different it is to run a business Instagram account.” However, one of the most valuable things she has gained is the community of powerful women all in the small business world. “We’re always supporting one another and learning from each other. We understand and relate to the successes and failures of small businesses.”
There are aspiring jewelry designers all over the world and maybe some of you reading this right now. When asked what advice she would give to them she said, “Just get started. Like I said at the beginning, I never thought you just became a jewelry designer. Take the plunge and go learn as much as you can. You never know if you love something until you try.”
Though it may be hard to look to the future with all that is going, Cheung says that you can look forward to a new collection at some point this year and that they will be growing their Ceremony collection. “I love collaborating with clients and designing their custom pieces with their love stories in mind.”
To shop their pieces visit: fairjewelry.ca
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