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Lulwa Al-Terkait
Why be just a woman?

Did anyone feel insulted by the title? Did it hurt my fellow women to hear “just” before mentioning your gender? Well, this was how I felt 4 years ago, when I heard it from one of the people closest to me “I was just a WOMAN!” with an indifferent tone that caused annoyance to every cell in me.
 
I confess that I was just a typical person back then, going to work in the morning, heading back to nurture my children in the afternoon, be a good wife, sleep, and do it all over again day in, day out.  Then it hit me, is that all I can do?
 
I, the daughter of a successful mother who worked in the petroleum sector since the early 80s, and a visionary father who had both a kind heart and a firm word on the table, with military courage and the highest level of wisdom. Where did all the years of education, boarding school summers, midnight fantasies and dreams go?
 
Is this how I want my daughter to be? Would someone like me be a good companion for my son? All the answers were a repeated “NO!”

I took the leap of faith and resigned from a boring routine job. Cut my hair the shortest, began running for an hour every night, with one question in mind “What does this woman want?” … I want it “All!”  It was such a cliché hearing it in my head, yet it was the only reality I had to deal with.

I began sketching and drawing jewelry designs.  I took a tour in Kuwaiti jewelry traditions, modern Italian jewelry, Lebanese creativity and one of the most back-breaking journeys in management, not to mention the trial and error! It took me 3 years to have the guts to finally implement my designs in a small traditional workshop in Mubarakiya, walking every day in halls full of sweaty technicians, with eyes wondering, “What is this woman doing here alone every day?” — a place which smells like burnt objects “God knows what else they were burning”, or melted metal 24/7, in a building that has no restroom for women!

The first collection is finally ready.  I used what I learned back in the university, Public Relations, and started the smallest marketing campaign for my new baby “Je La La! Authentic Jewelry!” It hit big or bigger than I thought it would. We were approached by boutiques in the GCC area.  It was such an overwhelmingly amazing feeling. I, the Mass Communication graduate, the HR junior employee in a bank, the amateur, the suburban mother, became Lulwa Al-Terkait: the jewelry designer.

I confess, that even after 7 years in the business, and 9 collections, I consider myself still an amateur, I didn’t study jewelry design, I didn’t study gemstones, all I had was an eye for what’s missing in the market, and a soul that appreciates what’s beautiful. I have so much respect for individuals who did the academic part of jewelry design, while I learned from simple technicians who sat for long hours in front of their tools, dealt with a variety of customers and studied for 25 years in the academy of life.

The world of jewelry is so vivid and so mesmerizing.… It’s endless, with lots of imagination, fantasy and myths. You can sometimes be lost in colors and shapes, only to be found sketching your way out with a design so classic, yet unique and one of a kind. One of the bestselling collections was created that way, I turned a classic cut of zirconia to a classy ear cuff in 2009, have you heard of that term before?  Or have you seen a stone set in a vertical way to allow light to expose all of its edges and corners, colors and reflections?  That was my 2013 collection - “the vertical”. It made people wonder, it made me wonder, “Where does the beauty of jewelry end?” It ends when you lose all your senses, even a song can inspire you to design something.

I am proud to be “Just a Woman!”  I am a woman … a mother, with compassion, love, faith, management, organization, dreams and most importantly the free will to do anything I want.

I am not just a woman, gender was never an issue, I am one lucky individual, with the right attitude, and the exact amount of determination needed to accomplish and achieve, in addition to being lucky enough to be “Just a Woman!”  

By Lulwa Al-Terkait
Jewelry Designer/Businesswoman

 


By: Lulwa Al-Terkait

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