An Interview: Mariam Ajaj.

4:03 AM

Today, I will be talking with my very good friend Mariam Ajaj.. We have been friends since we were 9 years old, and a few years later she traveled to Amman to continue her studies. And now she is Mariam Ajaj, the artist, and the accessory designer that has made a big success in Amman and in Dubai and all over the internet.

Mariam is a passionate designer born in 1989, and raised in Dubai. She moved to Jordan in 2006 to pursue her baccalaureate in the Modern Montessori School with a diploma from the international baccalaureate (IB) system in 2008, and recently graduated from Jordan at Amman Ahliyya University, with an interior design degree.

Inspiration and ideas flew closer to Mariam Ajaj all the way through virtues and beliefs of the Middle Eastern life styles and backgrounds. Every piece is hand crafted and custom made to suit your style. Most pieces are inspired from the virtues of Arabian women and designed with Arabic calligraphy which is mainly hand crafted from sterling silver plated with 18k gold.

 H: Mariam, I'm very happy to be interviewing you today.. And I hope everyone is as excited as I am to post this on the blog..

M: Thank you so much Hind. I am very excited too! Thanks for your effort in writing this interview and for those lovely questions.

H: Anytime! So you recently graduated from Amman Ahliyya University with an interior design degree. What are your plans from now?

M: Since I was studying and working at the same time I couldn’t be a full time jewelry designer I had to organize my time between both, so now that I graduated I will be able to focus more and be a full time jewelry designer and have the ability to expand more in the fashion industry.

H: When you were 9 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

M: Believe it or not I wanted to be a pharmacist!

H: Impressing! And how old were you when u decided to start your accessories line?

M: I was 19 years old

H: How did you first get into the fashion industry, what mostly inspired you?

M: I took the IB art course in school so I used to paint a lot at that time of year then I started to paint Arabic elements such as evil eye and hand of Fatima and Arabic calligraphy in a way. My aunt saw the paintings and she suggested that I design an accessories line related to those paintings I painted. I am really inspired by anything Arabic with a modern touch. I do imprint the Arabic touch in the jewelry I design.

H: How long did it take you to design, produce, and sell your first collection?

M: As a beginner it took me a while to figure how the pieces would be bonded into each other as for the designing it wasn’t very easy. I didn’t have the experience and knowledge to do it perfectly. At that time my production was very limited. It almost took about 3 weeks to finally begin selling. 

H: Did you have any fears before you started?

M: Yes of course. The fear of failing

H: Do you come from a line of designers, fashionistas? How did you figure out the actual techniques of accessory-making?

M: You can say that I am both, designing makes me really happy. As for fashion I believe every designer adores fashion and looks out for the latest. The techniques of accessory-making came in with experience the more you work and design the more you learn about the techniques.

H: What challenges did you face as a high profile female entrepreneur working to start and run your own accessory label?

M: I had to always keep an eye on what’s trendy and fashionable these days from materials such as stones, fabric, elements etc..

H: How are your accessories made (Manufacturer, Personal Professional, you do it yourself.)?

M: Each piece differs from another. Some of the pieces are from a manufacturer such as the pieces that are made from copper. Other pieces are personal professional since they are custom made, crafted from silver, gold plated with 18k gold. As for what I do I design and combine the pieces together to finally have the final creation.

H: Was it easy finding the manufacturer and personal professional?

M: No it wasn’t easy because if you find them you won’t be sure that the exact design or idea you have in mind will be crafted properly just like the way you have imagined it.

H: How do you like living in Amman, are you thinking of moving anywhere else in the future?

M: Amman is beautiful in many ways. I might move back to Dubai maybe for custom jewelry courses later on

H: Nice. Apart from accessory making, you have amazing skills in painting and photography. Are you thinking of mixing all of your skills and maybe create something new? Like t-shirts or such?

M: Sometimes I photograph the jewelry I design for fun, and do some photo shoots. That’s why I never thought of it. I have my mind on jewelry only. 

H: Are you planning on opening your own store soon, if so, where would you open it?

M: I want to! But I won’t be able to do that before I open my own workshop

H: What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?

M: That’s to be able to be different and to always present something new and creative. To make sure that the lady wearing Mariam Ajaj jewelry is wearing a piece that describes her personality and exemplifies her virtues.

H: Are you thinking of expanding your work? Maybe start designing clothes?

M: At the moment, no. I want to expand in the same line I am already working in so I can reach to the point where I will be 100% content.

H: In 2011 you had a beautiful tea party in Dubai to sell your accessories, tell us about it, and would you do it again in the future?

M: Ah! That was one of the most events I enjoyed! I want to thank my sister Tasneem and her friends Cecile and Juliana for brining this event to life and for the beautiful preparation they have done. It was success and I had the support from everyone around me. I would defiantly do it again.

H: How did you feel when you finished your first collection and people started buying it?

M: Swollen with pride

H: What's your favorite kind of music?

M: I like Coldplay

H: Where do you currently sell your accessories?

M: Pinkdust boutique – Jordan

Luja boutique – Jordan 

Tigerlilly- wafi city – Dubai 

Designers Boutique Catalogue – Egypt

H: Who supports you the most?

M: My Dad and my sister

H: What color do you love using? 

M: Turquoise

H: Morning or night?

M: Depends on my mood

H: You’ve designed Pinkdust's display window, it looks so pretty, tell us more about the experience.

M: I was given the chance to design pinkdust’s vatrine in mid Autumn, so I wanted express that dazzling season through Pinkdust’s vatrine. I got tree branches and spray painted them with electric gold color and hanged jewelry from the branches. At that time I assumed that jewelry can grow on autumn trees after the leaves fall out!!

H: Any plans to do any designer collaborations?

M: None at the moment.

H: What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in life?

M: Being able to succeed in what I do

H: Regarding your accessories career, is there one particular piece of yours that you’re most proud of?

M: Yes it’s the first piece I designed (below)

H: What do you wish people would understand about working in the fashion industry?

M: That it’s not easy and it takes huge effort and work to create a fashionable piece.

H: What one piece of advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in fashion?

M: All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Keep believing in yourself!

H: Thanks a lot Mariam for the lovely interview.. I wish you all the luck and success in your future. And I hope that this interview will help inspire and give courage to new designers who are starting their own label. I know you inspired me.. And hope to see you soon xx

M: Youre welcome Hind! Thank you for interviewing me. You are pretty much the inspiration too. I am glad to have you as a friend and thankful that we are there to support and motivate each other. I hope this interview really helped new designers to start up their own label and to sketch out what they want. keep on going Hind. I adore your fashion and photography. xx

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