Lynda Ghazzali, owner and designer of Hawa Ghazzali which sells jewellery and accessories based on Murano glass beads, tells ZIEMAN it’s always a good idea to differentiate yourself from the competition. And to listen to your customers.
Why did you choose to venture into the Murano glass beads business?
You have to look beyond the beads to find the treasures of a Murano glass. For that we have to look back at the origins of glassmaking in Venice, which dates back to the Roman Empire when glass was made to illuminate ancient Roman bathhouses.
Murano Glass-making have characteristic feature that imitated Chinese porcelain, and Murano is known as the Mecca of glassworks. I am a designer and painter, so designing bracelets or accessories using Murano was a natural transition for me.
Did you have to work long to build your customer base?
It’s more about building a strong brand, which is more than just a name or a logo. It’s about the value we create for our customers and our culture which requires a long-standing engagement to (become) a state of mind and a way of life. It really takes time, planning and dedication.
This value is very difficult and expen-sive to build but fragile and easy to destroy.
How do you divide your time between designing and running the business?
Actually, the two run parallel. Sometimes ideas come when I’m with my clients and getting to know them and what they like.
This inspires me to come up with new designs and concept.
Are there quotes that inspire you?
My favourite person has always been Pablo Picasso, and he really inspires me. Some of the quotes that I like: “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” and “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
What is the competition like?
You have to think differently about your competition. It’s not just about product-to-product comparison and SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity and threats) analysis. You have to find a niche and specialise. Focus is the key. You must always look forward and try to win customer preference, and that’s when your company is more protected against the competition’s efforts.
What were the challenges when you first started?
The first hurdle was establishing our brand within the jewellery industry and finding an appropriate positioning by building a credible brand. Then we had to understand the luxury consumer segment, their behaviour, so that we could focus on an integrated marketing and communications campaign.
What attracts you most about Murano glass beads?
This art is fascinating, its tradition has been handed down from generation to generation for centuries, and I love art and any form of art. Most importantly, Murano is a wonderful and unique art. (It so happens Lynda is also married to an Italian).
How do you make sure this business is not seasonal and can carry you over the years?
Our company has been around for five years. We are a Murano Glass Beads specialist and offer over 300 designs, priced from RM99, with new designs rolled out regularly, embodying culture, art and heritage. The range of colours and designs expands seasonally in step with anticipated fashion trends. Malaysia is a multi-cultural society and provides one with a year-long calendar packed with celebrations.
Who is your target market?
As a new brand, we have to build a strong demand for Hawa Ghazzali Collections’ (HGC) products, and HGC targets consumers, women of all ages with middle income.
Any plans to venture into other areas since you are also an artist and fashion enthusiast?
In its current incarnation, Hawa Ghazzali Collections’ products are simple: coloured and designed beads that can be dressed with a single bracelet and metal charms. Now HGC is enriching its collection of beads with charms and bracelets, and we’re working with new colours, design and finishes.
We will soon venture into the skincare industry using the same principles.
What advice would you give to those who want to set up a business like yours?
First of all, they must think creatively and have the passion because it all boils to the ability to get excited about your product. For me, designing Murano bracelets and other accessories is another form of artistic creation. If you actually do something you love, it’s a lot easier.
Once you understand the beautiful and captivating Murano Glass beads, you will appreciate the beauty of it and its value. Building a jewellery business is fun especially if you are creative, but building a business is hard work and takes a lot of effort and time. Prepare your self for obstacles. This is when it matters most. Always stay the course.
Lastly you must always focus on the quality of your products and services, and focus on continually improving by listening to your customers.
Painting on ceramics, vases and canvas.