Cleopatra Bling’s first flagship store is an ode to connection


PHOTOGRAPH BY LESLIE VON BEHRENS

WORDS GITIKA GARG




Take a step into a world of culture and crafts.

When it comes to intricately crafted and conversationalist jewelry, for me Melbourne label Cleopatra’s Bling is the first name that comes to mind. Handcrafted by skilled artisans from different corners of the world, its pieces capture a curiosity for the ethereal and possess rich symbolism and history.

The founder and creator of the brand, Olivia Cummings, draws on her love of travel, mixing cultural influences and ancient craftsmanship from East and West that she discovered during her adventures through Istanbul and Italy.


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With a cult follow online, brand lovers can now feel the urge to travel felt in every room in real life as the brand opens the doors of its first flagship store in Melbourne.

I stole a moment from Olivia to talk to her about all we can expect from her new physical store and what it means for her brand and customers.

Hi Olivier! Tell me a bit about yourself and how you launched your Cleopatra’s Bling jewelry brand.

I grew up in Melbourne and when I was 18 I left for Paris. I was there to work and study while doing my masters and thought I should take the logical career path. I was doing brand management and strategic planning at an agency there, but that’s obviously not what I wanted to do because I was just making other brands successful. After that I left and went to Istanbul and met artisans who taught me everything that turned into an accidental career change.

Frankly [Cleopatra’s Bling] just grew up from there. I spent five years in Istanbul to perfect my jewelry making and develop my aesthetic. I went to Naples for the last two years of my 13 years abroad and developed my fine line in Florence. It has been a great transition but an incredible journey. It was also a lot of fun because I approached the brand from the backend. I didn’t go out with a fashion mindset at all, but rather out of a desire to connect with traditional artisans and craftspeople and then it all fell into place from there.

Tell me about your pieces and where you get inspiration from.

I would say they are historico-maximalism. We like to tap into history. I’m not a minimalist at all, so my brand reflects my life. I love the bold pieces, the color and the symbolism but we don’t do it in a hollow way.

If a stone is engraved with something, it is made by a traditional Istanbul stone engraving, so we try to be as authentic as possible and inject jewelry with color and craftsmanship from very high level. We only work with a group of artisans around the world who specialize in one area. I do all the wax drawings myself. So yeah I would call it flaming maximalist drawings.

How did the opening of a physical flagship store go? How did this trip go?

It’s been fun in that we can extend brand ethics in ways that we can’t online. We can give people the full experience of being a part of Cleopatra’s Bling universe. We love to connect with and talk to people and the store made that easy.

How did it grow and expand your brand?

By providing people with a truly healthy experience with the brand, it will develop organically. When you are online it’s great because you can reach a lot of people, however, you have to be able to convey why your product is digitally awesome.

With a shop, my warm and friendly staff can serve them a cup of coffee. They don’t need to feel pressured into buying anything because we’re not sales-driven people. We can talk to them and they can see the pieces, so that gave us the opportunity to introduce the brand to people in an intimate way.

What were some of the challenges encountered during the meeting?

Yes because it was done during confinement. It was more of a physical challenge than anything else. We were all emotionally and spiritually ready for it, it was just that we had to wait so long. And then, of course, going from an online store to a physical store is a big organizational adjustment.

What can people expect in this new physical store?

I would say a very accurate representation of what the brand stands for. Nice conversation, information sharing, hospitality and genuine products made with very good intentions and high skill.

Cleopatra’s Bling kindly offered all FJ readers a 20% discount on its semi-fine collections (gold plated, vermeil and sterling silver). The discount code is CBLOVESFJ, and it is applicable in store and online. Want to quickly browse online before you hit the store? Discover its range here. And if you’re in Melbourne, you can visit Cleopatra’s Bling in person at 74 Johnston Street, Collingwood.



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