ADELINE CHAN melds her passion for handcrafted jewellery and the power of the Internet to strike another first and carve a growing niche as a jeweller par excellence. BY KAREN LAM & JONATHAN WONG
Establishing a new brand in an oversaturated luxury accessories market was a daunting thought, yet belief in her people skills, conviction in her art and personal resilience led Adeline Chan to take the leap of faith. Avenda was born in 2014, a small atelier in Hung Hom, showcasing its first range of jewellery that same year.
“I wanted to create a range of handcrafted, personalized jewellery for successful women who believe in the expression of their individuality – women who wanted to portray independent thought. My customers are leaders, not followers,” Chan says.
Compared to other high street jewellery brands, Avenda has taken an alternative approach with its products, as Hong Kong’s first jewellery boutique to fully operate online. “We cannot compete with more well-known brands traditionally,” she says, “yet this by no means impedes our inventiveness, and aspiration to make Avenda the centre of attention.”
Woman’s Best Friend
The brand targets women in their 30’s and 40’s, looking to indulge in jewellery without waiting for significant others to buy for them.
Inspired by the creator’s travels to Seville, Spain, each product is given Spanish names such as ‘Anabela’ or ‘Isadora’, capable of stirring emotions of love and desire. Chan tailored the products to encapsulate elegance, describing it as ‘a lady in a red, frilled dress dancing on a raucous yet romantic night in Spain’. The best-selling ‘Collection Sevilla’, using fuchsia pink as the dominant hue along with its iconic flower symbol shows boldness in her design.
Chan initially found it difficult to make a personal connection with customers while selling exclusively online. “One of the negative aspects of running an online store is having no physical interaction with clients. However, we do have an active presence on social media, especially Facebook, where clients often ask questions about our products.”
Offering high quality jewellery at affordable prices, Avenda’s greatest challenge lies in the scarcity of skilled craftsmen. Chan shares that jewellery is an exclusive discipline, requiring more specialization than most trades. “Clothes and shoe-making might require some weeks to learn, but jewellery crafting takes much longer due to the intensive labour and high expertise needed,” she explains. “More experienced workers are preferred, as there is a noticeable difference in their ability and consequently, the quality of their products.”
Each jewel goes through a meticulous process; the watchful eye of a professional artisan considers every detail. “Casting, mould-making, wax-casting, polishing and stone-setting are performed to achieve the final product,” says Chan. “It is a work of art; a lot of care and attention is put into every step. Only an act of love by passionate artisans can produce this result.”
Diamond in the Rough
As a mother and entrepreneur, Chan is no stranger to hardship, and endured numerous adversities both in and out of the workplace. Avenda is the result of many valuable lessons acquired through years of perseverance. “People are surprised that I’m an outspoken Asian woman and are wary of me, especially the older generation,” she says. “I’ve learnt not to be bothered by that. It would only make me more afraid and hesitant in reaching for opportunities.”
Despite being scrutinized as an Asian businesswoman, Chan remains unfazed by the criticism. “I can’t change the way people think,” she says, “but I won’t take their negative criticism to heart too much. People need to have a more positive outlook. Not only does this mentality set an example for my daughter, but for my employees as well.”
The energy Avenda radiates in the local business landscape is only matched by Adeline Chan’s zest for life, determination and outspokenness. “I hope that people will remember me because of the confidence I have in myself. I want others to recognize me as someone with the ability to get things done sincerely, honestly and without fear.”
For additional information please visit www.avenda.com.hk
Hong Kong’s Business Leaders share market and interest intelligence in the pages of HKMVC 2016