joanna bourne and kimchi, milo & lola
Joanna is a jewellery designer, but also co-founder of a dog and cat rescue charity in Thailand
Words: Simon Glazin Pictures: Rikki Percival
A chorus of barking came from the other side of Joanna Bourne's front door when I rang the bell. Guard dogs on high alert. A minute after stepping inside though, Kimchi, Milo, Lola and I were best friends. This is one fun-filled, noisy house, and evident that these three rescue dogs rule the roost.
Further proof when I spotted not a bundle of human coats hanging haphazardly on hooks by the front door, but a neat, size-ordered, teeny tiny dog wardrobe full with jumpers, coats and accessories ready and waiting whatever the weather (see below). It's super cute to say the least.
I knew of Joanna's jewellery brand, Joubi, before we met, and suspected that she was super glamorous with a wonderful wardrobe. My suspicions were all true. Joanna greeted me wearing a form-fitting grey wrap dress, leather jacket and amazing green satin Sophia Webster heels (she's a friend of the shoe designer). Rings twinkled from her fingers, naturally. But she meant business. The first thing she showed me was her office, situated adjacent to her bedroom, with a desk that resembled Samantha Jones' in Sex And The City - all Apple products and symmetrically neat.
Joanna launched Joubi in 2010. After gaining a degree in publishing, it was her love of jewellery and gems that drew her back to studying, this time at the Gemological Institute of America in London. She soon had a full collection together, and the rest, they say, is history. Now Joanna uses her travelling experiences and love of animals as inspiration for her collections, and she's stocked all round the work because of her great designs: from the U.K. to Bahrain and even Dubai.
And talking about her love of animals, when she told me she was co-founder of a dog and cat rescue charity, One World Sanctuary, in Thailand, I fell in love with her even more. You see, she's not just a dog owner. She doesn't just love her three little rescues. She goes above and beyond to make sure dogs over the other side of the world are cared for and rescued. It's a life-long mission of hers to make sure there is no animal suffering in the world.
She's quite the woman! Scroll down to learn more about Joanna and what she stands for.
"The cute thing about the dogs is that they don’t seem to hold grudges against one another, even after a huge squabble."
On having three dogs: As you can probably imagine three dogs can be handful! But we have a good system at home and they’re stress free most of the time unless there are bones around! The cute thing about the dogs is that they don’t seem to hold grudges against one another even after a huge squabble.
On Joubi, her jewellery brand: Joubi is aimed at a wide range of age groups and demographics. We can accomplish this by having two separate lines within the brand; Joubi, our fine line which consists of precious metals and gem stones, and JB by Joubi, our diffusion line containing silver and gold plated pieces. This line is aimed to be playful, affordable and up to date with the latest trends. So to describe the Joubi woman would depend on the range, but I’d say Joubi as a brand is for someone that’s confident in expressing their style and has the vision and ability to create her own look by stacking and layering various designs. The combinations are endless within the collection. Our Panther and Adhara body chains can be worn five different ways. Last month a customer sent me a picture showing me the fifth way, which I didn’t even know about!
We often mix and match Joubi and JB by Joubi as you would do with designer and high street clothing. It’s simply all about being creative and can be easily accomplished with the various designs and colour palette we use. As we plate most of our designs in yellow, rose, white gold and black rhodium plating if you're after a more gothy sexy look one evening you can accessorise with the back rhodium plated items and so on.
All of our jewellery complies with the Kimberly Process to ensure the origin of the stones come from a source free of conflict and is not financing rebel movements. Think the movie Blood Diamond!
On One World Sanctuary, her dog rescue charity: One World Sanctuary is a dog and cat rescue charity I co-founded with Mike Bohnek and Richard Jarrett in Koh Samui. I met Mike in 2013, he was living on the island rescuing dogs privately. We needed someone to look after a dog we found until we could get a passport for it to come and live with us in London. Over time we started chatting about over population issues on the island, the lack of medical help etc and voila, One World Sanctuary was born!
We do everything we can to support the sanctuary, such as donating monthly to ensure emergency treatment is readily available, to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro In January where we raised around £10,000 which helped us a huge amount!
On her plan B: Animal welfare is something I’m very passionate about. One thing I believe is that animals shouldn’t be used for our entertainment, so I’d love to work with a charity to rescue and rehabilitate the ones caught up in the circus industry.
Also conservation and educating people in general about the myths behind the medicinal purposes of rhino horn for example. These bogus beliefs have left Black Rhinos and many other species on the critically endangered list. It really frustrates me that it’s all for nothing and our children or grand children may not be able to see them in the wild when they grow up.
On her daily routine: My day usually starts around 8am with the dogs waking me up to be let out and fed. Everyday is different depending on what I want to dedicate it to and what needs priority. Replying to emails always comes first then it may be working on the new collection, checking stock levels, arranging sales and so on. The dogs fit in perfectly as they come with me to the office in the morning then the dog walker comes at 1pm for a two hour walk.
On career advice: I’d say the most important thing would be to learn as much as possible about the industry before starting your business. There are so many great courses around that can teach you diamond grading to jewellery design and all the various manufacturing techniques available. Learning as much as possible in each sector will help you throughout your career to not over pay when buying stones for example, and having a broader knowledge of design techniques like enamelling, inlay and beauty filigree can bring to certain pieces.
Have a clear understanding of your target market and visit as many jewellery shows as possible. Having more than one manufacturer is essential too.
On taking risks: Starting your own brand is always risky because you’re self employed and it’s all on you if it crumbles. So to avoid any sort of huge financial disaster, I grew the company very slowly and naturally. The better a season does, the more I'll reinvest into the next collection and so on. I never go overboard and never compare myself to other brands in the same industry even if they started around the same time. It’s important to focus on what’s right for you and your company.
On her favourite dog tales: I love how each dog serves a different purpose. Kimchi, the brown one, is the best to cuddle up to because she’s so chilled out, super soft and the perfect size. She’s happy to not move an inch for hours! Milo, the Chihuahua, is my little watchdog and protector guaranteed to let me know when someone is outside or trying to enter my room! And because Lola is so intelligent and mischievous she never fails to make me laugh with what she gets up to around the house. There are bones hidden all over the house in the strangest places!
On what breed she'd be: A Labrador for their love of food and general friendliness. They seem to not have many issues compared to other breeds. Or a Border Collie for their intelligence!
Finish this sentence: In an ideal world.... there would be no pain and suffering, world peace, an eradication of animal cruelty and everyone wearing Joubi Jewellery!