You started Social Butterfly in 2010. Why bespoke cocktail jewellery?
I started the label because I was travelling extensively and couldn’t bear to carry heavy luggage filled with jewellery, both real and costume. I’d always be on the lookout for statement pieces to complete the look of a garment without going overboard, and I was dissatisfied with my findings. That’s why I founded my own label – to offer bespoke cocktail jewellery crafted from exotic metals and precious stones, where every piece stands out. This gave me the room to experiment with different styles and silhouettes.
Did you ever think your work would catch on around the world?
I designed Social Butterfly for the global market. My designs are less conventional and inspired by a number of elements. I was always confident about my jewellery, but it’s still great to receive appreciation from overseas – those markets are a bit difficult to tap into. The trunk shows in San Francisco, Aspen, New York and Dubai have turned out to be calendar events.
How do you keep up with trends?
Personally and professionally, I prefer to keep myself up to speed. But when it comes to designing, I don’t blindly follow the runway. As a designer, my focus is always on setting trends and being aware.
Tell us about your latest collection.
It’s a vivid range of typed palm cuffs, palm bracelets and cocktail rings. The words ‘peace’, ‘love’, ‘hope’ and ‘faith’ are written in Italian and Roman styles. The mirror image palm cuff of hope and faith reads ‘hope’ on one side and ‘faith’ on the other.
Where do you find inspiration?
My travels help, but my family is my greatest source of strength and inspiration.
How do you make each piece unique?
The USP of Social Butterfly is its exclusivity. The wearer experiences distinct styles and designs that are not owned by many others, and the label offers jewellery that is unique. These pieces are designed with great care and precision to provide my clients with versatile objects.
What kind of materials do you use?
I love experimenting with metals and often use a lot of gold, silver, platinum and gunmetal, along with a mix of precious and semi-precious stones ranging from rubies to emeralds and diamonds. A combination of metal and stone works best, in my opinion.
Do you prefer to work with one particular material more than others?
I love designing jewellery, and having my own label gives me room to experiment. I enjoy working with different metals, though gunmetal has been a personal favourite this season.
Tell us about your target audience.
Social Butterfly is a woman’s label. As such, our jewellery caters to women of different ages who have distinct preferences. Jewellery is adornment intended to make a woman feel beautiful, and Social Butterfly pieces are head-turners. We cater to women who experiment with their individual styles; women who are uncompromising on quality.
Tell us about Laila the person. What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
I have been blessed, but I’m not without my share of challenges. Every step I’ve taken has taught me a new lesson and moulded me into a better person. I am grateful that I have accomplished what I wanted to, but there is room for more. As for happiness, that comes from travelling and designing. Spending time with my family and friends feels therapeutic, but I also love taking on new challenges and exploring new horizons. Accomplishing a tough task brings me great joy.
Is there anything you’d like to change about yourself?
I tend to be a bit shy at times, and that is something I could do with some work on.
..... as told to Anahita