Interview: Circe & Toujours Toi
At Boticca, we select our designers not only because they create beautiful accessories, but because there is a story behind every piece. All the jewelry, bags and accessories you see on Boticca have been inspired by a designer’s personal experiences and discoveries - by their own journey.
It’s a story we want to share, so every week we will be interviewing one of our designers. It’s a chance for you to get a closer look into their world, to connect with them, get inspired, and meet the amazing people behind the pieces we fall in love with.
Our first interview is with Nina Egli, the talented designer behind emerging brands Toujours Toi
based in New York, United States. We interviewed Nina to find out more about her background, inspirations, collection and future plans.
Hi Nina! We’re so glad to have you as part of our community of talented designers. So what is your unique story?
I grew up next to the forest near Zurich, Switzerland. I spent a lot of time climbing trees, climbing roofs, being a tomboy as well as making clothes for my dolls. I've always been a very girly tomboy. I grew up with a vivid imagination; adoring animals, fairytales and magic. I would spend a lot of time sitting next to a fountain fishing out mosquitoes and flies that were drowning or keeping our dog Buffo cool during summer; I would fan him with paper! He was a big bullmastiff.
My mum is a fashion designer so her closet was the source of endless wonderment. She had a room just for her clothes, shoes and jewelry, which really influenced and inspired me. It was like a fashion archive where she would also keep feathers wrapped in tissue paper and her hats in leather boxes.
I went on to become a dancer, then actress and ended up in fashion of course. The genetic pull must have been too strong!
What inspires you?
My inspirations are always around, the music I discover and listen to, my old records, ceramics, movies, art, sunlight, the New York sky, wandering around flea markets, memories of travels, boats, the 30s, old biology books... so much, really!
What first inspired you to become a designer? Were you always an artist?
I was always an artist, yes. I painted my whole room with flowers and stories as a kid. I always made necklaces from seeds I found. I could just not stop making things. My sister and I spent all our vacations sitting at a table drawing, gluing, and cutting... I always thought being an artist was out of the question to make a living but after I had my heart broken really badly in 2001 I just went and did what I wanted to do. I don't really know why it went that way but it did.
How did you learn jewelry design?
I am an autodidact. I learned it all by making.
Who do you envision wearing your pieces?
Really anyone who is attracted to it!
What have been your greatest challenges as a designer?
My greatest challenge has been to move the business forward to not stand still and also not to give up. Thank goodness I always find new excitement in creating a new collection. The biggest challenge is not really the creating/inspiration but the business/survival aspect of it.
Could you describe a little bit your process?
In college, I studied literature, filmmaking and dance; it's all about story telling in different forms. Dance and filmmaking are also about the use of space and harmony of space. So designing jewelry has been a continuation of that story telling and space-shaping, it's all about evoking a feeling. Jewelry is so personal and so much about connecting to an emotion or dream. I design my pieces with that in mind.
I let the collection take shape in my head for months; I just let it assemble without analyzing. So when I sit down to draw I already have a folder in my mind that I can pull from.
I approach every collection as a story so each collection is a new story. For Spring 11, I made a collection called "Dream of Jeannie".
What is your favorite piece you've created and why?
The beaded "Love
" and "Forever
" Toujours Toi bangles because they are so much fun, positive and summery. They just make everyone happy. Also, my "Albion" Circe ring that I wear every day. It came out different than I envisioned it, but I liked it. Sometimes the "mistakes" make a piece better. It's my talisman ring. And a lot of girls I know who own the ring feel the same way.
What is the message you try to convey through your pieces?
The message is to enjoy your very special life and wear pieces that make you happy. A ring is so powerful because it's always with you and when you look at it, it makes you happy.
So what’s next?
I just came back from showing the new Toujours Toi collection "Dream of Jeannie" in NY and Paris and am travelling to India in November to create a new collection for Circe. I am really excited for that! I can't wait to immerse myself in gems and create new pieces.
Thank you, Nina! We look forward to seeing more of your collections!
Nina’s pieces are available as part of her Toujours Toi and Circe brands.
Now it’s over to you! We had so much fun meeting our designers, we want you to interview them too. Also get in touch with any questions you would like to ask our designers in future interviews, and they might be featured on the blog!