From design inspiration and women empowerment to favourite foods and greatest fears, Marina De Buchi's founder and designer reveals all!
What inspired you to set up Marina De Buchi?
Marina De Buchi was created to be a voice for the voiceless - to fight human trafficking.
I've had a burning desire to help seek justice for the oppressed for as long as I can remember. When I was 18, I strengthened this passion when attending a women's conference in London and learning of the 27 million slaves in the world at that time. I made it my mission to find out more about human trafficking, but upon doing so, felt totally helpless as to where to start.
I was inspired to start Marina De Buchi when seeing a video of a young girl selling cupcakes to raise awareness and contribute to The A21 Campaign, which works to fight human trafficking.
This girl helped me realise that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference. As A21's founder, Christine Caine, said, "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something".
I realised that I could combine my love for design with my passion for fighting human trafficking; I founded Marina De Buchi and never looked back!
And why did you choose jewelry design?
I was studying fashion at university at the time, and I often found that the industry lacked depth. I used my love for design to create jewelry that wouldn't only look pretty but would have a positive impact on the world.
I also wanted to empower others to fight and create a conversation around human trafficking because many aren't aware that slavery still exists.
When establishing my brand, supporting A21 was at the forefront of my mind. But I'm not only interested in making monetary contributions toward fighting slavery, but I'm also passionate about people using their voices to speak on behalf of those who can't speak out for themselves. My designs spark conversation about the cause we support.
Why did you choose to contribute to A21?
Before starting Marina De Buchi, I contributed to A21 by getting involved with their Walk For Freedom, which raises awareness about modern slavery.
When doing this, I realised the impact A21 were making, and how the organisation inspires action in others too. I wanted to be a part of what they are doing.
Each piece of jewelry has a meaning behind it, what inspired this?
As well as raising awareness for human trafficking, I wanted each design to have significant meaning to the person wearing it. My designs help Marina De Buchi goddesses keep going and dreaming, as well as being a constant reminder that they are valued and loved.
When I first started my brand, I thought that if my brand could positively impact one life, then all my and my team's hard work would be completely worth it.
… And it turns out we've been able to do so much more!
And which design is your favorite?
My current favorite is our Beyond Fear, Lies Freedom bracelet; I wear it every day to remind myself that when I face my fears, I will find freedom!
What's your biggest fear, and how do you overcome it?
I've had a lot of different fears. The most prominent is probably public speaking - I always want to make sure I say everything right and put a lot of pressure on myself to do so!
I find the best way to overcome a fear is to face it, embrace any imperfections and have self-compassion. Once I face my fears, I usually find they were never as scary as I thought they would be.
What advice do you have for aspiring jewelry designers?
Various people told I was dreaming too big and that I had my head in the clouds; these comments really made me doubt myself! So, my main piece of advice to aspiring designers would be to keep going, believe in yourself, and remember why you started. And don't be afraid to dream big!
On a more practical level, I think new designers should get creative outside of work – it's the best way to stay inspired about your work. I love creating mood boards for no reason other than because I find expressing my creativity in this way fun!
If you could, what advice would you offer your younger self?
#1: Be yourself, and never compare yourself to others
#2: Trust your intuition
#3: Don't shrink/alter yourself to get others to like you
I know these sound cliché, but it's so easy to compare yourself to others, to want to be like other people, and to make changes accordingly.
But trust me: it's so freeing when you stop doing these things and you start being yourself instead!
Who's your biggest inspiration?
I have so many! I recently watched Bethany Hamilton's documentary, Unstoppable. The film followed the surfer's life, telling the story of how having one arm never stopped her from going after her dreams. Her tenacity is incredibly inspiring; I think she demonstrates an inner strength that everyone has, but only a few choose to use.
What's one thing you do to inspire creativity?
The women who wear my designs often contact me to tell me how much their jewelry means to them. Knowing the jewelry has a more profound impact on someone's daily life is what inspires me to keep creating.
During my design process, I look for inspiration by asking myself how the piece I'm working on can inspire or empower someone on their unique life journey. I also travel around a lot while running my business, and I get a lot of design inspiration as I go!
How many countries have you been to, and which is your favourite?
I've been to 30 countries now. My favourite country is Cambodia - the people have the biggest hearts, and they've had such an impact on my life.
What are you most grateful for?
Since I'm spending a lot of time at home, I've been more grateful for the little things - like a good cup of coffee, clean bedsheets, FaceTiming friends and spending more time in solitude! But at this time especially, I'm really grateful to have a home and that I get to do what I love every day!
What mantra do you live by?
I have a lot of mantras - but my current fav is, "If it's not a resounding yes, then it's a no".
This mantra reminds me of the importance of being 100% or nothing at all, and to go into everything wholeheartedly, rather than lukewarm.
What's your favorite food?
Wow, that's a hard question!
For me, food is about the entire experience, rather than just the flavor. I love having my friends over for brunch, which involves good coffee, smoothies and avocado on toast!
Alternatively, a documentary and a Chinese takeaway is always a dream combo!
Run us through your typical workday
My workday looks different each day; but, typically, I start with a stroll. My best ideas come to me when taking a walk as it creates space to let ideas flow.
Then I'll organise my desk (clean desk, clear mind!), check my emails and complete any admin work before stopping for lunch. Post-lunch, I'll have meetings with my amazing MDB team - who are so enthusiastic, hardworking and are also so fun to be around!
Before the end of the day, I make sure I have time to dream and scheme for the future of Marina De Buchi.
How have you been spending lockdown?
I've been spending lockdown in solitude, taking it slower and appreciating the little things in life. Lockdown has given me space and time to design, which is exciting!
When I'm not working or drinking coffee, I'm journaling, completing an online workout video, experimenting with smoothie recipes, watching documentaries, reading or FaceTiming friends!
What's next for Marina De Buchi?
Most importantly, we're going to continue to contribute to A21 and create more sentimental, unique and empowering jewelry.
Design-wise, I've been working on a new collection which runs with our current theme, but this range will have more chain and color options - so there is something for more skin tones and style preferences.
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