As a jewelry designer, my work has always been about enhancing + thrilling the wearer on the outside. I create playful pieces by mixing elegance with confidence. The inspiration for ‘SUCCESS’ is routed in my own journey and has a different and more personal starting point to my other work.
Like all of us, I’ve experienced life’s ups and downs and have seen the invaluable role that encouragement and support from others play in our own success. I designed ‘SUCCESS’ for girls and women everywhere as a symbol of strength and self-belief. It is a gift to encourage, celebrate and cheer each other on while being a gentle reminder to believe in your dreams.
It all starts with self – belief; the key to success is finding Strength, Opportunity, Balance, Love and Happiness. These little motivators of confidence and encouragement are for you and those you love.
Every shape and element has been carefully considered and chosen for its beauty, symbolism and the subtle underlying power of its properties. This is the inspiration behind our BYOS collection of gift – able symbols.
DESIGNED BY ME + DEFINED BY YOU
“A womans income is her passport to
opportunity, security, options and
My collaboration with Kisany Living Linens Project
I came across KISANY Living Linens by chance and was completely in awe of their ethos, craftsmanship and spirit of hope and perseverance. KISANY, like BYOS, is fuelled by their motivation to support and encourage women. I am honoured to be working with the KISANY seamstresses, who have created the special hand woven and embroidered linen pouches for Virgin Atlantic.
Made from Libeco Belgian linen, each pouch is a symbol of care and love with a personalised embroidered heart taking approximately 4.5 hours to complete. This special edition of SUCCESS is now exclusively available to Virgin Atlantic in their onboard Retail Therapy magazine.
Following the devastation of natural disaster and horrific warfare, eight Congolese seamstresses came together to form KISANY Living Linens. With the hope of making a better life for themselves and their children, KISANY was set up to provide skills, work and training to help these women achieve financial security and independence once more.
The strength, hope and hard work of these ladies found the support and encouragement of a loyal team of European volunteers, and for twelve years, KISANY has been changing the lives of these African women.
KISANY employees are paid a living wage, well above the local standard. In addition, profits are used to provide skills, training, healthcare checks, education, community building and housing for all employees and their families.
BYOS is about forming a community that inspires and celebrates success as she defines it.
Our aim is to form creative partnerships and support projects that encourage the development + prosperity of girls and women around the world.
"Success is about being you, knowing what makes you tick, what makes your heart work, what makes your mind work and embodying that."
BYOS would never have achieved such volumes without the voices who carried it. I thank my family, friends, colleagues and everyone who encouraged and supported me along the way.
People always ask me, ‘where did my little bar of strength come from?’
The story begins with my life as a jewelry designer. My career has taken me all around the world and introduced me to some of the most incredible people. I launched my very first jewelry collection at Paris Fashion week in 1999, which was picked up by Liberty of London. The feeling was surreal when they chose my label Mel C to spearhead their Millennium Campaign. All of sudden I was on huge billboards all over the world. My work was in demand and before I knew it I was selling globally. Working with the likes of Philippe Starck (at Bon), Swarvoski and Absolut, it was hard to believe, but I was living my dream.
In a nanosecond my path took me from the dizzy heights of a glittering career in Paris to being a broken, single mom of a very sick little boy. Yes, I crashed at the bottom. My little boy, who was born premature, had multiple health complications and I found myself isolated, unable to work, and in a financial downward spiral. I was suddenly confronted with the reality of women all over the world, who suffer, then survive, for it is their only option…to succeed.
For women who lack the economic power to meet the basic needs of food and shelter, financial dependence becomes a trap that stifles their potential to grow. We all need the confidence and encouragement to be our own success. The support I received during this time, particularly from the women around me, helped me overcome these hurdles. It was then that I was able to look inside myself and find the strength again to believe that anything is possible. With self belief and determination, I addressed what was most important to me, firstly to get my son healthy again and then to build my business back up from the ground.
“We all need the confidence and encouragement to be our own success.”
Along the way, my own perception of success shifted radically, from one that is personal to one that is shared. It was during this time I had the idea for success, and found the inspiration for what I now call ‘my little bar of strength’. I say inspiration but really it was an image that kept recurring in my head, and for a long time I had no idea what it was meant to be. I started sketching to try and explore it further. After many months it became clear it was gold bullion, a bar of strength and wealth. I recognized it as symbol of female inner strength that connects, encourages and celebrates us all. If I succeed, you succeed. I built Be Your Own Success (BYOS) around that sentiment. If we can connect and support each other, we can redefine ways to build a more fulfilling and lasting world together.