Driven to design by Jakarta traffic, Andi Yulianti is the force behind jewellry firm House of Jealouxy, handmade with love. Photo: Hakim Satriyo.
Besides being a jewellery designer to the stars, who is Andi Yulianti?
Hmm . . . the first question and definitely the hardest. Ha ha. I think I am a person who truly cherishes the good in people and whatever the world has to offer. Some people say that I’m naive, but I prefer to always see the positive. I love to be surrounded by people who give off a radiant atmosphere. I laugh a lot, and every time things go downhill I always try to brush it off and not take it too seriously, because nothing lasts forever.
What were you like as a kid?
My mom said she would always lose me and then find me talking or singing to strangers. Maybe that’s not a good example for life nowadays.
How and when did jewellery design come into your life?
I was an hotelier before and have also worked in a corporate multinational company. At one time, living in Jakarta, I got tired of commuting every day. It cost about three or four hours of my life per day because of the traffic. I knew I couldn’t live like that. I realised I needed to do something from home to make money. So at first it was nothing serious. I was in between jobs and I needed something to keep me busy. I watched YouTube tutorials and also blog tutorials on how to make jewellery and I made pieces for myself. Then one of my friends who owned a store in Bandung loved it, and she said, “Why don’t you try to make a few things and sell them in my shop?” From there everything kind of took off.
In 2009 you started House of Jealouxy. What’s the story behind the name?
I love music. I think it’s one of the best things that the world has to offer. I really loved the song House of Jealous Lovers by The Rapture, so at first I wanted to give my brand the name House of Jealousy. But when I checked online there was already a band with the same name, so I tweaked it a bit to become House of Jealouxy so I wouldn’t have any issues in the future. And I like it because people always ask “why jealousy?” It makes people think and come back to me with curiousity.
Starting your own business is no easy feat, especially in the competitive fashion industry. What’s kept you going through tough times?
I think to answer this I will have to go back to my answer to the first question. I always try to be good and treat people well. In the fashion industry everything is connected. We have to have special relationships with celebrities, stylists, retailers, magazines and bloggers. We just have to help each other and move forward together. And word-of-mouth also plays a very crucial part in this industry. It’s really a wild jungle. I think another important aspect is just to always try to make or re-invent something new and different so it gives you a certain character. Then people recognise your creations, even from afar.
At what moment did you know that the brand was truly successful?
Maybe when I got out of the studio and started meeting strangers on the street, in restaurants or at the cinema and they were wearing pieces from my collections. I think that is the best feeling of all. It’s also nice to be featured on album covers and see celebrities wear my brand for the red carpet, designer fashion shows and magazine fashion spreads. But to be worn by strangers, I don’t know, that’s the highest of highs. And oddly enough, whenever people copy and sell it for a lower price. The sincerest form of flattery.
In your opinion, what is it that people love about House of Jealouxy?
Every time I make a collection I always think of my clients, but I mix in my own taste, which is beautiful and fierce at the same time. My target market is people between 15 and 45 years old, so I always try to make a spread of pieces that will appeal to all. Young clients, edgy clients, sophisticated clients, and hijab clients, they all have to be represented in one collection with a price range that is also affordable. That’s why House of Jealouxy includes pieces that are not made with real diamonds, gold or precious stones. However, the techniques we use are just as complicated as the high-end international brands. Oh and one more thing: people love stories, so it’s important to always update your clients with the story behind the scenes through your social media.
Your collections exude a sense of travel and adventure. For example, the Pure Shores pieces are named after famous tropical hotspots, and your Midnight City line is named after cosmopolitan cities. How important is travel to you?
Very important. I love travelling both alone and with friends. Either way, you can find a ton of inspiration in things that you don’t see in your daily life. It’s also a very good opportunity to source materials. It really opens your eyes to new things. I also really enjoy people watching. I like to see what they wear in real life because in the end you need to make money.
If you could go anywhere in the world and money was no object, where would you go?
Rivendell – home of the elves in Lord of The Rings. S.M.