Designer Profile: Sally Han of Shop for Jayu

Have you heard of Shop for Jayu yet? 

If you’re a fashion-loving female, we would assume so. 

The unique, statement-making pieces add a touch of sparkle to any outfit and look more expensive than they are, making for guilt-free purchases (and gifts). 

We caught up with Shop for Jayu creator Sally Han at Toronto boutique Poor Little Rich Girl, where her pieces are a quick go-to among the city’s stylish set. The store has carried the brand for the past two years, and is where we first discovered it. “Our customers love Jayu jewellery because it is unique, affordable and completes an outfit, whether for an evening event or a casual daytime look of jeans and a t-shirt,” said Sara Puppi, owner of Poor Little Rich Girl. “It’s also nice to support a fellow Canadian female entrepreneur in the fashion world.”

Here’s what we learned from Sally Han… 

What’s your back story, in a nutshell?
I’m originally from Korea. My parents met at designer school, so their background is in design. When they came to Canada, they started their own custom clothing store where my dad designed for some Korean celebrities and I just grew up with that influence. I was never into design at all, I was in the acting and film industry, but I wanted to do something one day for this charity event that was going on for lost children in Toronto. So I got some materials and supplies from Queen Street, played around with them, and started to make stuff. I did my first event and got really great feedback. People were buying it and wearing it, so I got really excited and called the line Psalms 91:1 accessories. That’s my original line that I design. I’ve been doing that for 10 years and we’ve been sponsoring Fashion Week for 10 seasons, and have also been sponsoring for movies and things using my designs. 

How did Shop for Jayu come to be?
I wanted to expand more but couldn’t because they were all my designs and handmade here in Toronto, by my employees and I. So I decided to launch another sister line, Shop for Jayu. I have this vision and will for the company to give job opportunities to widows and orphans around the world. That’s the big vision I have, but in order to accomplish that we needed this additional sister line so I can get more support and provide for what I want to do as an artist. I’ve been creating jewellery for Korea for three years now. Shop for Jayu is handmade in Korea by different designers and I go scout them all myself.

What do you think makes Shop for Jayu so unique?
It’s unique because we try to market it to all different kinds of women. If I were to relate the jewellery to celebrities, it would be anyone from the boho Olsen Twins, to classy Sienna Miller, to rocker chick Rihanna. I think a lot of the Korean women like our pieces too because they like to have fun with jewellery. People like to buy our pieces because they’re so affordable and easy. 

And you recently entered the US market in a big way…
We’re selling across North America now and we’re also going to be available at Anthropologie in the US.

What was the toughest part about getting your product into the stores?
It’s always tough to get in at first and gain trust with the products. However, it honestly wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be with the jewellery. People are just surprised by the quality of the jewellery, the weight, how it feels, and the price compared to the quality. So I don’t think it was as tough as I thought it would be. It happened really quickly.

Did you ever have a panic moment or a moment of doubt?
I got super nervous when Anthropologie became an option. I was worried something could go wrong because I was too excited about it, but it went smoothly so that was good. Other than that, I’ve been pretty confident with this line.

Where do you gain inspirations for your designs?  
I go and source them myself for Shop for Jayu. I’m a buyer, and we launch a collection every six months, so I go to scout different designs. I try to go with whatever is on trend.

Do you buy your pieces with a certain friend or woman in mind?
The kind of woman I buy for honestly me; I naturally buy things that I love. And I love feminine but edgy at the same time.

What’s the exciting thing about the newest collection for summer?
We have a lot of pretty colours – pastel, bold necklaces – but they’re super affordable and easy to wear. Yet they still make a statement.

Do you have a piece that you find yourself wearing more than others?
Oh, totally, there’s one piece that I’m tempted to wear everyday. It’s called Gretchen. It’s $50. I love the brassy chain because it goes with everything, as opposed to the yellow-bling gold or the shiny silver. The brass is a good middle colour; it’s a nice antique kind of bling.

What advice would you have for someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Take initiative, think outside of the box, and don’t make barriers for yourself.

What can we expect from you next?
We’re going to be launching a brand new collection in August and it’s going to definitely be on trend. We’ve also just added headbands (for only $12!) and clutches to our existing SS14 collection of jewellery. 


Images: Jewlz Bailey

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