This week, we’re sitting down with style-savvy mum and jewellery designer extraordinaire Audrey Savransky from AS29. In addition to spending her time creating stunning accessories that will rock any mama’s outfit, Audrey is a busy mum to two energetic boys! She dishes below about her love-hate relationship with Lego, favourite kid-friendly spots in Hong Kong and why diamonds are a mama’s best friend…
Can you tell us a bit about your background? What brought you to Hong Kong?
I was born in Antwerp, Belgium and moved to Hong Kong four years ago after a stint in London.
What inspired you to start your own jewellery brand?
My family has been in the diamond industry for four generations. When I moved to Hong Kong, I started manufacturing fine jewellery for other brands. It gave me the expertise and confidence to start my own line in 2008, and that’s when AS29 was born. I wanted to design pieces that women could easily afford themselves and create a line that not only jewellery stores would be able to carry, but department stores and fashion boutiques around the world.
How did you choose the name AS29?
I came up with the concept of a diamond remedy and wanted to please all the diamond addicts on this planet. I decided to create packaging for my jewels that looked like a medication pill. I wanted to women to “consume my remedies” by wearing my jewels and feel guilt-free doing it every single day. AS29 is actually the name of the chemical compound found in our jewels. But in fact they are also my initials and my lucky number!
What do you love most about your job?
I love having my own company and being able to work in a field that I love while having the luxury to manage my time the way best suited to me and my family.
What do you dislike most about your job?
Not always being able to be in control of everything – I’m a control freak!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs? What is the core objective of the company?
Creating beautiful designs is not an easy task every season, but I’m very inspired by my travels, vintage jewellery, abstract shapes, movements and nature.
What are some of your favourite items that you’ve designed?
I always like to wear my latest collections each time one comes out but I always go back to my classic Lana collection. I wear them daily and never get tired of wearing them. They are very simple but ageless.
Do you have to work hard to separate home and work life?
Yes, travelling a lot and having my team at the office doesn’t always leave me much time after work, so I spend as much time as I can with my family and kids. I often bring work back home as I work with European and American markets and the phone never stops beeping, so yes, it can be very hard at times.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
Organisation is key – managing your time is crucial and I try to surround myself with efficient people that can support me well. It’s all about teamwork, you absolutely can’t do everything by yourself! But most importantly, you need a plan and you need to know where you are going professionally. I know this sounds all very cliché but it’s true!
Favourite activity with the kids in Hong Kong?
Going to Toys ‘R’ Us – I absolutely love taking them there! Just seeing the smile on their faces when I buy them what they want is worth everything in the world. I love to spoil them, what can I say!
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Hong Kong?
The Grand Hyatt pool restaurant – I love going there as there is a playground in the back and the kids can enjoy themselves while my husband and I relax and enjoy a pleasant lunch with our friends.
Activity that I do not love to do but do it anyway because my kids love it…
Going to Ryze! I have two boys full of energy, and it’s the best way to tire them out and make sure they go to bed after…
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Spending Saturdays just the two of us. We often go on short trips together but we always end up missing the kids badly and feel guilty of leaving them at home alone.
Favourite date night restaurants?
We prefer staying in bed with a great movie!
Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
I set up AS29 when I was six months pregnant and went back to work three days after I delivered my first baby. It took me four years to have a second kid just because I didn’t have time and was traveling too much. I was very lucky to be able to travel so much during my second pregnancy and work until the end. Timing was just perfect as I was able to participate in all the trade shows I usually attend to while being pregnant and deliver in July when the buying season is quiet in my business.
How has having kids changed the way you define work?
It made me want to work harder and make sure me and my husband can give them everything they need and more! My mother always worked when I was young and I want to be a role model for my kids too. I want them to be curious in life, ambitious and hard-working. Success doesn’t come on its own.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and working other mamas in Hong Kong?
I think motherhood is the most amazing thing one can experience but it’s very important to have other things going on in your life as well. Living in Hong Kong makes it possible thanks to the amazing help we get here, so my advice would be to never stop working or wanting to work JUST because you are a mother!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Don’t try to force your kids to become or achieve what you want them to. Let them be their own selves.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Building Legos! I don’t like them very much!
My most humbling mama moment was…
I have a few but my most humiliating moment as a mother was when I sent my elder son to school dressed up in his carnival costume on the WRONG day! He was the only one dressed up and called me crying… I felt like the worst mother on the planet! But he looked so cute, I was so proud of him when he left home…
What’s your favourite family ritual?
Foot massages – they absolutely love them!