Papillon Jewelry is a Qatari Concept born from the passion of Noora Al Ansari, a woman who believes in the beauty that comes from the simplicity of natural elements like precious stones.
Noora’s philosophy is to offer her clients jewelry that best expresses one’s personality.
US: When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer?
NA: It was back in 2009, when I was studying for my MBA. It somehow triggered in me that I want to do a kind of business related to fashion, luxury or something but it should be unique and different from others who are into abayas, jalabia etc. It was then that I thought of being involved in the jewellery business using my creativity to designing jewellery pieces that reflects the culture and taste of Qatari women.
US: Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry and what is the best advice they have ever given you?
NA: One of my biggest mentors was Mr. Ravi Rakyan. Mr. Ravi has been in the jewelry business for more than 30 years which he inherited from his great grandfather. It’s a family business that they started back in the 19th century. When I first met him at one of the jewelry exhibitions, he provided me inspiration of the jewelry business from the way that he was dealing with the customer, the quality of his products and how different he was from his competitors. He listened to them carefully and calmly. He was patient, sincere and honest in his approach, telling them clearly whether he can or cannot make what they are requesting for. So, Mr. Ravi taught me about how precious a piece of jewelry is, how to appreciate the work and, at the same time, how to gain trust from the customer by treating them with respect. And, if they like your creation, be happy and if they don’t like it, it is still ok; it doesn’t mean it is the end of the world.
The second biggest mentor, of course, is my husband. He taught me the technical aspects of business, about budget planning, accounting and also looking at things from a different perspective because in jewelry, you have the beautiful (emotional) side and the business side. Sometimes, I may feel that we need to do this, we need to buy this or we need to buy this piece but he, sometimes, try to control me. He knows that I am excited to buy but he explained to me to stop and to ask myself questions – why do I want to buy it? Why I think it is beautiful and what will make a customer be attracted to this piece? How is it related to our concept as a Papillon? Which customer would buy it? So, they are 2 biggest mentors for me.
US: What was the most valuable thing you learned from your MBA course?
NA: If I compare my MBA course against my work experience, I learned that customer service and creating trust between myself and the customer are very important. When the customer trust my way of working, the product that I offer and the service I am providing, then it will help develop a good relationship. But, it takes time and one needs to be patient to establish and develop relationships. Because people are different, some are very easy to convince while others are not. If you convince someone then ok, if you don’t convince people, it’s fine. Because at the end, it’s all a matter of the taste. This is the most valuable thing that I learned from MBA. My research for my MBA program was about the relationship between customer service and customer expectations and how they are related to each other. It gave me an insight on how to deal people and to manage their expectations. And, it’s very important that if you cannot do it, just say I cannot do it. It is also very important not to make promises; if you know you cannot make it, just be honest and say I cannot make it. And, if you can produce it in a certain time, then say I can deliver it in 3 weeks, even if the customer doesn’t like to hear 3 weeks or 1 month. But it’s the reality, they can either accept it or not. Because we use outside suppliers and our work depends on their work and delivery, we can try and improve our delivery. If they need time to deliver product or something we can sit down and discuss and try to make it work, whenever possible.
What I also learned from my MBA is that if we want to do business, first of all, it’s very important to study the market, to study the people and who are the targeted customers. You need to make a plan for your business – financial plan or marketing plan, all aspects in building the business and once you are sure about your plans and the place where it is visible and practical, then look into how to go about doing it.
US: What is your favourite part about being a jewellery designer?
NA: When the idea comes to you, it’s a very nice feeling…like oh I can do this and then you take a piece paper and you start to draw something, you start to call people that you know, I want to do this. Is it possible that we create something like this piece? This part of this idea is very interesting and the excitement that comes when you know that it’s a special piece and then followed by the hard work of communicating with the supplier and the final drawings. At the same time, you will start thinking of the marketing of the piece. To produce the piece, you need to sit down, brain storm and it’s not the end. It’s nice to involve yourself with people…those who are close to me or with customers I have. And, when the final product becomes a reality, when you touch it, when you see it, when you tried on and then it establishes a connection that you made it from scratch and it’s like “done”.
US: How do you decide what elements to include in you designs?
NA: I would usually brainstorm with my sister even before I start producing my pieces sharing my designs with her and then getting her opinion in terms of color, size, materials to be used – white, yellow or rose gold, kinds of stones. I do brain storming because you think up the idea, you have the taste but, sometimes when you are involving yourself in the work heavily, you forget many elements. So, brainstorming with people, keeps on reminding you of these elements that you may have forgotten in the excitement of designing a unique creation. And, filling the missing parts and accepting the ideas, creating a design and sharing with people close to me or the customer that you trust. There are certain people with certain pieces for certain things, so i would speak about serving customer that I know that may be trusted in this piece or want this kind of idea and design or they can help more because they also go and meet with other people and they may speak about jewellery. They keep hearing ideas from others that they can share with you.
US: What was the first commission you landed?
NA: Seriously speaking, with some suppliers that I know from previous exhibition I attended. And then started with the small collections. After I graduated, I started to speak with Mr. Ravi more seriously. After my MBA, I thought I needed to change my career. So we started with the royal collection, followed by elegant everyday collection, then we came up with papillon signature collection and then papillon collection.
I found that people in Doha also wants to see branded jewellery. So, I started studying each brand, why I should have this brand and this brand and then, Alhamdulillah, I succeeded in speaking to them, because they saw the passion that I have. And this was what Adolfo Courrier, Ferrari Firenze and even Cosia saw in me. They all agreed and started telling me that when they saw me and said even you are new in this business but we can see passion is driving you to be successful and they asked us, the same question, why we should go with you instead of an established company? My answer was, we are new and are taking care of our jewelry and we will be also able to take care of your jewelry. As we are promoting our collection, we will also promoting you. For example Adolfo Courrier, we are growing together. Cosia pearl is established long time ago, and also Mr.Ravi. So the growing opportunity for all of us is there. We are learning from each other. That’s why they are excited that we will be their Ambassador of their line in Doha.
US: If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
NA: I don’t regret what I started. I wish that I have started earlier and I would not committed to other things. I had more focus on it. But I have learned from my career when I graduated with my degree that I was lucky to be in the place and I learned how to deal with the people. It’s not easy because you are speaking with people with different mind-set, with different characters and different attitude. It was kind of studying psychology in practice rather than in theory. So it taught me how to deal with people, how to gain their trust and learn how to provide the best customer service from them.
US: What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
NA: My biggest fear is people’s acceptance and establishing a Qatari brand. It is a very sensitive thing. It is not abaya or other normal items. It’s made of gold and precious stone. So how you will bring your vision, your dream, your line to be accepted by people because here we still have people who believe in brands, like Italian brands, high end brands because they feel comfortable to buy from them and they relate brands to their look and to their style. Like, if I am stylish, if I am beautiful then I should buy something branded. For us to come and introduce our brand or our line and convince people that this is a brand and it is no less beautiful that the high end brand or whatever brands they like. This was one of my biggest fear. I know how much I need to spent to explain to them to be convinced that this is also beautiful jewellery and this is unique. If you wear people will come and ask where did you get this from if not necessary I am feeling to wear something that has the brand name so people from far will recognize that she’s wearing this brand its more enjoyable if they like it and they come to you and ask where did you buy from. There you can feel that you are unique because you choose a piece that is beautiful and I am not saying 10 people but even 1, 2 or 3 people will ask you where did you buy this from it gives you different feelings like happiness and the same time when she call me and say well this piece, I did marketing for you. This is the difficult part of bringing this to the people and convince them or like encourage them that this is also high brand they shouldn’t hesitate because when they may think that what she studied about diamond. How that she know that the supplier or the people that she is working with to do with this pieces are really trustworthy, because we are telling people this quality if VVS or VS. So they will say where you learned about diamonds you will know this is really…. But when you go to the brand they already trust the brand they used this kind of standard quality shouldn’t even will ask.
US: What advice would you give to young people who look to you and want to enter a career in jewelry design?
NA: I would encourage them. If you believe in yourself, if you believe in your talent and you believe that you can bring something different, then just go ahead and don’t be scared from other competitors. Learn from them and do something different. This is the important thing how you make something different. Don’t do something that the same as them. Yes, I know the kind of pieces that is in fashion, it’s ok that you make fashion piece but with your own touch. This is how you can say it’s different or you can say then after a time you will be like encourage or going into upper level where you can feel that I can introduce something totally different on what is the fashion now. And people will like it, that you create fashion. And I want to be able to do this. This is my goal – to make a piece that is ahead of the trend and everyone will come and say new trend. This what i want to achieve really. This piece is known by Papillon. I really want this in the future.
US: How important is DJWE for you?
NA: It’s important because it’s an opportunity for me and for other jewellers to go to many place and present our jewellery and our passion. But, at the same time not all people will know us because we are spending a lot of time and effort on instagram, snapchat although it has been here from past 2 and half years. Some people come and say this is the first time for them to see us here. So it’s more important is that it is an opportunity for us to be there, to be visible, and, of course, to see VIPs, Emir Sheikh Tamim, Sheikh Hamad, Sheikha Moza, to come and see the talent and the passion of the Qatari. And how education is important because the country spent a lot of money to give the best education to the best people. Alhamdulillah, I am very proud of being Qatari, I am very proud of what the State of Qatar is giving to us as opportunity to grow. So if there’s an opportunity to us to go and grow and plan for our future then why not. Like a small return to our country to show the appreciation of this.
US: What can we expect to see in the upcoming DJWE 2018?
NA: We will be featuring the following:
- Papillon, Royal, Signature, Elegant Everyday Collections,
- Firenze Italia Collection
- Italian brands like Adolfo Courrier, Ferarri Firenze, Casato, Coscia, Novecentonoventanove, Reho.
We will also be bringing exclusively made gold collection from Pakistan and Oman.
US: What are your plans for the future?
NA: To expand another branch in one of the luxury world here in Doha and at the same time I also want to create a new collection. We already have a few collections but I am working on the collection that will be recognized by people. When they see any item, people knows it came from Papillon whether it is Signature collection or Papillion collection. I want to reach this level where they will know us in terms of design, quality and trust.
US: Would you look at collaboration with other designers?
NA: I don’t mind working with other designers, especially Qataris. Why don’t we do some kind of collaboration? I don’t mind even if they want to build the kind of a community or society. We are very few in Doha anyway. If speaking about Qatari designer, we are very few. I don’t mind to collaborate. In the end, competition should be understood in a different way. It just because some people may understand that if you are with me in the same business you are my enemy. They don’t take it in a way that we can work together because if we are working together then we are, evolving or building ourselves together as well to creating one line because then my customer will know them and their customer know me and I think we will get more progress by doing so. To do something for the first time where I work with another Qatari designer to come up with the collection or line we should be proud to have such thing and I think people will be amazed that we could do this because even the brands like Cartier collaborate with Van Cleef. They are different because they are now big names but we are in a society, community or a small country we can make something different why not, I don’t mind.
US: Your message for 2018?
NA: I really wish that we get more support from locals and they believe in us. I mean they shouldn’t go behind only names but they should believe in us as Papillon, then we can make this piece for them as per their wish. This is what i want especially now with the blockade, they cannot go and buy jewelry from outside so I think we are now a source here to buy jewelry from and people need to change their perception about jewelry in Doha is very expensive. Because for us, we are bringing them the best quality with very reasonable price. If I am speaking about our quality in other jewelry places, it will be very expensive but for us no.
Papillon also has a great selection of gifts for every occasion and according to the season, the age of each woman, and the traditional celebrations that take place in Qatar. There is nothing left to chance in this beautiful store, even the signature packaging of the boutique is part of the amazing journey that starts in this garden of luxuriousness and diamonds.
For more information on Papillon Jewelry