"[I] literally built my business from the underground, up."
NYC-based jeweler Jules Kim has been an independent thinker from day one. She and her twin sister were raised by a single mother and learned to follow their passions and always think for themselves. She says, “My inspiration is completely [derived from] my own life experience and...following my own whims. I think that, in life, if we don’t pursue those things that make us happy, then for sure we will never find that happiness.” For Jules, seeking happiness has always been paramount.
Her spirited upbringing led Jules to rebelliously define her own creative process when she entered the world of jewelry as an adult. Even her formal training was self-designed. Jules earned her bachelor’s degree through an independent studies program, dealing with international arts, that allowed her to customize her curriculum and study in France, where she learned about taking risks and anticipating their pay off. Once she returned to the States, Jules finished her degree with a Jewelry 101 course, graduated and continued her education in the professional world of jewelry design and production.
As Jules’ reputation grew, and her pieces fell into the hands of musicians and celebrities like Rihanna and Beyoncé, Jules focused on self-education by studying business—reading books and taking seminars to create a balance that allowed her art and business to function together seamlessly. Jules says, “It’s super important that artists address managing their own business. Once you understand your level of capability as an artist, then you must intuitively understand what your capability is in business.” Jules’ ability to tell a story with each design helped her also create a story within her business, merging her whimsical temperament with a shrewd eye for business.
In recent years, Jules’ unique jewelry line, Bijules, has been imitated worldwide. She finds knockoffs of her designs at lower prices and, although it’s frustrating, it reinforces her belief in her trendsetting abilities and matchless point of view. She continues to push herself to stay on the cutting edge of her field and her own comfort zone. Despite would-be copycats, Jules’ rebel nature, passionate love for her art form and constant pursuit of knowledge make her unquestionably inimitable. And she has no plans of slowing down, saying, “Once you understand that it’s like being in the rodeo—the longer you stay on the more points you get...If I can stay on this bucking bull and make points as I go, then for sure I’m going to find some iteration of success at the end.”
Stories & Surroundings
"The Bijules Atelier features hand-painted coral displays and white pebbles inside of a vintage aquarium. Located on Manhattan's infamous Bowery, we are an appointment-only studio.”
“Venetian fan in black lace from Burano, Italy. Lavender bonbons from Paris. Amethyst and crystal hand sourced from nature in Germany and used in the 2009's Rock Collection. Pen for sketching. Book features Bijules work.”
“My tattoos are inspired by my identical twin and my half-Korean heritage. When one is a twin, we seem the same from far away, but there are clear differences the closer you come. The Korean reference speaks to arming and empowering oneself as a woman...”
“Painting series by Sylvia Hommert, Shelter Island.”
“I worked with Smashbox and Santigold on a cosmetic project involving lipgloss and gold.”
Directed by Alex Amoling Written by Courtney Romano