September 13, 2012
On a rare afternoon off, I took a stroll in Paris and came upon 5 Octobre and Sophie, its adorable owner. She has wonderful gem of a boutique selling her handmade jewelry in the Marais. After hearing a little bit more about her unusual story, I’m so glad to share it with you here – Erica
How did decide to move from being a lawyer to making jewelry? Was the stop gradual or brutal?
It was a long process because I have been passionate about accessories since my childhood. I was already very creative, and the dream was ingrained very deeply – I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide I wanted to make jewelry. When I was 10 years old, I was already collecting beads and stones and turning them into jewelry for my friends.
I was also always a bit of an intellectual, so law satisfied that aspect of my personality, but it wasn’t creative enough. I traveled a lot as a lawyer; the time spent in transit allowed me to spend time dreaming about a new career that would fulfill a larger part of myself. My family is involved in fashion; my mother is a creative buyer for several stores she owns, so that helped me to envision a project that was both creative and professional.
Were your friends and family supportive of the change?
Everyone supports me (my husband first, my parents as well), but I knew the change of social status might not be as easy. Being a lawyer is quite well considered and I didn’t know if I would succeed in this new venture.
At the time, were you certain of your choice?
Yes, I was completely sure. It was a necessity!
What was the hardest thing about the change?
With this kind of 360 degree change, you have to succeed. You exert your own pressure, but it is a wonderful challenge and I put all my energy in the project. My strategy was do to things as ‘professionally’ as possible; creation is one part of the job but it doesn’t do it all.
What was the nicest surprise in the change of careers?
I am very grateful to create and to be recognized for the job I do. People appreciate my work: it’s a great experience.
How did you find your pretty boutique rue de Beautreillis?
Rue de Beautreillis belongs to member of my husband’s family and it wasn’t being used… I needed a workshop and a showroom in Paris, so it was the perfect fit.
Is there a story behind the boutique?
The boutique has had several lives. It was a cobbler, but first a jewelry workshop. All the decor was preserved as it was in the 1920’s, with art deco detail. It is a part of history of Paris. I love this place, because I also know that when people come here, it is either on purpose or at random…
Why 5 Octobre?
5 Octobre, is my birth date. The number 5 is also full of symbolism (the head and the four parts of body). It is a symbol of universality and of balance.
You can find this strong significance of 5 in different cultures evoking positive properties, so it was interesting for me to choose this as my brand name. Jewels are also never just an ornament, they affective meaning, especially stones.
Have you spent a lot of time in Africa? What inspired the African Jewelry expo?
I love Africa, I have travelled in Senegal, Congo, Tanzania, South Africa and North Africa as well, and I am keen on primitive art. As my work is also inspired by ‘metissage,’ the blending of cultures, I found interesting to present an exhibition on this topic composed of items I had collected during my travels, as well as jewels of my collection, to share this passion of mine with people.
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming expo in September with the ‘Grigri’ version rock? What was the inspiration for this?
As usual, the Grigri is a topic that comes back each season in my collection, re-interpreted this time by mixing many religious symbols such as the cross, eyes, medals, and small scars…. As rocks stars wear these types of jewels. Mine are also poetic, and I will be presenting different kinds crosses made with little stones. It’s a collection you could wear all the time.
What is your dream for the future?
I love to collaborate, and would like to explore more work with fashion brands, with high jewelry brands as well, or for museums as I already done with the Musee Maillol. They asked me to create a collection to accompany certain shows — ” C’est la Vie” et ” Miro” for instance, intended for their boutique during the exhibition.
3, rue Beautreillis, 75004
Interview by Erica Berman and edited by Genevieve Sandifer for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Didier Gauduchea. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.
Written by Erica Berman
Erica Berman grew up in Lexington,Mass. After graduating from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Journalism and an intensive summer at Middlebury College (Vermont), Erica came to Paris with hopes of submerging herself in French culture and perfecting her French -- and she never left. Erica is the founder and owner of Haven in Paris and the blog HiP Paris. She now splits her time between Paris (Montmartre), Maine (Damariscotta), Massachusetts (Lexington) and Italy (Genova). In her all-too-rare free time, Erica likes to travel off the beaten track, explore Paris, read, take photos, cook, ski, hike and enjoy long Sunday brunches with her friends.
Website: Erica Berman