Founder of Hestia Jewels
We were excited to sit down with Yasemin Mutlu, founder of Hestia Jewels, to discuss all things art, jewellery and being a female founder. We especially love how Yasemin’s unique Turkish heritage influences her business philosophies as well as her beautiful designs.
Tell us about your passion for jewellery and how you translated that into Hestia Jewels.
I grew up in Izmir, Turkey, west of Anatolia. My father’s side is from Şirince, a small town close to the ancient city of Ephesus. The area around the village has history dating back to Hellenistic period. My father’s family used to own the most significant ancient pottery collection of the area which later was donated to the Selçuk Museum. I was fortunate enough to spend my weekends at Şirince and Selçuk with my grandparents. Some summers were spent at the Yayla (the highlands) where there was no electricity or gas, so nights were spent listening to mythological tales under the light of a candle. My grandmother’s origins were from Greece so she had a rich knowledge of the culture and she was proud to pass it on to us. Her name was Nebiye and her taste in jewellery was exquisite. Jewellery and fine objects are of significant importance in Greek history, and it was an area that I started exploring at a very young age. So I must confess that my passion for fine jewellery started with my grandmother’s influence. She planted the seeds of curiosity to search for the craftsmanship for the finest.
Hestia is named for the Greek goddess, tell us more about that.
Hestia is the Greek goddess of the hearth, family and home. It is not a surprise for the ones who know me well that I decided on this name for the brand. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a big family and continued that tradition with my own family. I also used to love the tales involving Hestia the most because she was the most kind and generous goddess.
Have you always dreamed about being a jewellery designer?
I actually did not; when I was young I wanted to be financially independent and move to Istanbul. I wanted to be a business woman. I managed to find a job there at a global communications agency and started living in Istanbul full time. However, while in Instabul it was the Grand Bazaar where I spent most of my weekends; jewellery was my getaway from work, and I learned a lot from the artisans at the Grand Bazaar.
We love supporting fellow female founders, but we also know it’s not easy. Share with us the highs and lows of your journey becoming a female entrepreneur.
I started my communications business in Istanbul at a young age when I was 30, so I had to overcome difficulties in many areas, ranging from gender to age. The positive outcomes of being a female business owner far outweighs the difficulties, so I remain positive and am not so fixated on the negatives. I also try to support other women led businesses and I truly believe that a positive attitude, determination, hard work and hope bring the best results. And of course, a great team of people you can trust and have fun with along the way are essential.
Describe your target customer?
Hestia’s customer is quite vast, appealing to a cross-cultured modern woman aged 30-60. Because our collections are aesthetically modern but made with classic craftsmanship and quality, we appeal to both the millennial generation as well as the refined mature woman.
We create fine jewellery with a twist, pieces that are stylish, easy to wear, and functional, so the modern woman is our customer! We also believe in capturing the happiness and joy that comes with owning a piece of fine jewelry, so we really appeal to the sentimental woman, as when you wear a Hestia piece, you are representing the feelings, celebrations and milestones within your life.
What’s your favourite Canadian city?
I have been to Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa; and my favourite is Toronto. The skyline in Toronto is absolutely amazing. I love to take pictures of the skyline at different times of the day and the culinary diversity is fascinating in our city. I am also a member of the AGO and the Norma Ridley Members Lounge is my favourite place to escape to. I am so looking forward to seeing a good exhibition and then taking it all in again afterwards in the lounge.
One of Hestia’s signatures is the ceramic Hearth collection, it’s not a material you see often. Tell us a bit about the process.
Ceramic has been part of the fine arts scene for thousands of years. Since Hestia is the goddess of the fire in our homes; we had been planning a ceramic collection for a few years. The process is quite similar to making a fine jewellery collection. During the design process we imagine the ceramic on the precious metal. The ceramic enables us to use beautiful colours without precious gemstones and also gives us the freedom to use patterns or geometric shapes without compromising on the quality and form. After completing the molds, the gold and silver meet in the desired design with ceramic as it would with a gemstone. The density of the colours in the final piece meets the qualification of a high fine jewellery piece.
You are originally from Turkey – what do you miss the most about Turkey?
I miss my family and friends the most. I have a big family and try to go every year to spend time with them. Living in Toronto provides me with a different perspective about the richness of the history in Turkey. I really miss the deep feeling of belonging to a rich history, which I feel when exploring the hidden alleys of the Grand Bazaar or sitting at the steps of the Library of Celsus in the ancient city of Ephesus.
What’s your current go-to piece from the collection?
I love the Selena Ceramic Sapphire Ring and Lana Ceramic Diamond Bracelet. They both are very modern yet timeless.
Is there one item you think every woman should own?
I think every woman should have a piece of jewellery that makes them feel happy and empowered. Jewellery is very personal so I believe every person finds the meaning on their own.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Homemade potato chips and Chablis.
Any travel dreams for the end of the pandemic?
We had made arrangements to visit Capadocia with my daughters. It was going to be a moms and daughters trip with their close friends and their moms. So the plan is to still make this trip happen when we can!
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
“Keep on walking”… this is my motto.
You’ve got five minutes to shop The September – what’s in your cart?
V-10 Vegan Sneaker White Marsala to wear every day to work. Jady Espadrille from Rebecca Minkoff for summer date nights with my husband which I am so looking forward to. Flowers: Arts and Bouquets coffee table book from Assouline for inspiration for my next collection. And the Odacite Eye Contour Serum concentrate with the rollerball as a great practical alternative because I get too tired by bed time to put on my creams.
Words to live by?
“Wherever you are and whatever you do, be in love” By Rumi