Julie Bonzom is a semi-precious jewelry brand, based in the South of France. Between strong pieces and delicates ornaments, her « crush » creations are for those who cultivate love for noble materials and beautiful gemstones.The founder and designer of the brand, welcome us in her workshop, located in the historical center of Montpellier, to show us the backstage view of her universe.
Agnès Loubière – Project Manager for 79C-Carlin Group: Hello Julie, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the beginning of this beautiful adventure?
Julie Bonzom – Founder of Julie Bonzom: Hello, my name is Julie Bonzom, I am 26 years old, I am a jewelry designer, based in Montpellier. My path is quite unusual as I have started studying psychology before turning to jewelry.
Julie Bonzom, founder of the brand
A.L: Why did you choose to follow this path?
J.B: I have always been into manual activities and I have always loved beautiful things. Then, as a student, I saw jewelry that I liked but that I couldn’t afford. And I also had this need to create, to follow my instincts, to work with beautiful materials.
It’s a mix of various factors that led me to start when I was 19.
At the beginning I started with my friends and my family and then I opened a Facebook page, an Etsy account and very soon I was faced with the necessity to create a website in order to answer to the demand.
A.L: Designer but also businesswoman, how did you manage to integrate such a competitive market?
J.B: The instinct in creation and the conviction to know where I wanted to go since the beginning, were very good motives to take the plunge. Then, I think that I learnt the ropes by doing, I participated to trade shows, which helps a lot to meet with others and exchange about the job.
Also, I have rapidly been attracted to materials that are less used by the competition, it helped me to stand out. I mostly work with gold filled (brass covered with gold, at least 50 times more than platted gold), a great material with a nice render and that resists very well over time, and I also use a lot rough diamonds in my creations.
A.L: You also use a lot of semi-precious gemstones for your jewelry…
J.B: Yes absolutely, this kind of gemstones is at the heart of my inspirations.
Until now I mostly chose labradorite (blue, green and grey reflects), white topaz, quartz and pyrite (golden brown) but this year I will also integrate citrine (golden quartz) and iolite (violet gemstone).
I select every single stone according to how they play with the light and then I follow my « crushes » to put them together and create necklaces, bracelets, rings or earrings.
I really like rough materials, they inspire me thanks to all the possibilities they offer to create beautiful and timeless pieces of jewelry.
Téo et Lily rings
A.L: Are your creations influenced by trends, seasons ? How do you work on your collections?
J.B: My way to create my collections has changed a lot over time. Now I imagine a coherent and harmonious set, a collection which is strengthened season after season. I work around themes where the material is always at the center, for instance a gemstone, a style of chain or a color… I have « strong pieces » , very central, and around them I add other elements.
For sure trends and seasons influence me but that is not essential, I prefer to think about timelessness. I also want to see my jewels worn all along the year and at different moment of the day.
Then, when I work I like to follow my « crushes », I prefer to present a small number of pieces that matter to me and that I believe in.
Spike, Caly, Eclair and Solitaire earrings
A.L: The sanitary crisis has probably interfered with your plans, how did you adapt?
J.B: At the beginning it was was very complicated, during the 1st month I had to stop everything. But this enforced pause was very beneficial to me, it allowed me to refocus on my desires and to re-connect with the pleasure of creating.
To use up my stock of raw materials, I started to do direct-sale on Instagram by proposing mini « capsules » collections. I really enjoyed myself creating from scratch with what I had in hands, I re-engaged with the fun I had at the beginning. Furthermore, it was a great success and what was supposed to be a « test-operation » became a weekly meeting. At the same time, I had fun, tried new things and strengthened ties with my clients, creating a community actually.
A.L: As a DNVB (Digital Native Vertical Brand) I imagine the place of your community is very important. How do you maintain the ties?
J.B: Since the beginning I have always wanted to break the barrier of digital and humanise the brand at most. I always make myself available for my clients, I answer very fast, I give some tips, I try to create a relationship with everyone as far as possible.
During the first lockdown it was actually intensified with the direct-sales where I presented new pieces, new combinations, … I also revealed how I worked… I showed myself more and I invited my clients to do the same on the social media, which reinforced the discussion within the community.
A.L: You brand seems to have developed a lot this year, how do you see 2021 and the future?
J.B: As you say my brand evolved a lot and I feel the fondations stronger. Now I would like to keep on making it grow by going back to the fundamentals, letting more space for « natural inspiration » and less to the injonctions of seasonality and over-production.
A.L: Thank you very much Julie, it was very interesting to discover your universe and we wish you to keep building on this momentum !
J.B: Thank you!