Gold Mind! Meet Maureen Vorswijk Jewelry Designer of Mauke


The abundance of love, Jewelry designer Maureen Vorswik, founder of the Fashion Startup Mauke has for her craft, can be seen in the intricacies of her designs.  

Her work has been crowned by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and coveted by fashion bloggers. Her necklaces and chokers adorn your neck with a natural elegance. Pieces are made from sterling silver, 14 kt gold, a variety of hand picked gemstones from Africa and natural material as leather cords. Her lines include handcrafted and hand-polished jewelry, handmade headpieces and feather necklaces.

Sounds fancy? It is. But we wanted to get a much more raw sense of what it took for a multicultural entrepreneur like Maureen, to run a profitable jewelry line business; her cultural inspiration, the risks, the victories, the challenges, and most importantly…the truth. Maureen puts her business on the line, sets it before us, and tells us what it truly takes.

 

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Hueish

How long have you owned your business?

Maureen Vorswik

Almost 6 years.


Hueish

Tell us your country of origin how it influences your designs and business.

Maureen Vorswik

Born in Suriname( south America) but living in The Netherlands for 44 years. As for my designs… I noticed when I finish a piece I am still surprised that there are often ethnic influences in most of my designs which were not visible for me when I was designing the piece and which was not part of the plan from the beginning. In that case, I can say that my work is influenced by my cultural background which is guiding me during the designing process without being aware of it most of the time.


Hueish

What would you advise every design-focused entrepreneur (those in fashion, accessories, or art)?

Maureen Vorswik

Always be true to yourself, you should be the one who decides what kind of designer you want to be, who you want to serve and which direction you want to lead your business to. You can always ask advice but at the end, you should be the one who is taking decisions.


Hueish

What has been your major challenge as a designer?

Maureen Vorswik

Challenge 1: My first show during London Fashion Week. I launched my first collection Afrik & Silver during FFLFW which I had been working on for months. Models were wearing my designs on the catwalk and I found it very scary because I didn’t know if the public would appreciate and like my work. But the collection was well received, it was a success and it still is. This show definitely boosted my self-confidence as a jewelry designer.

Challenge 2: Making miniatures for collectible fashion dolls inspired by designs of my collections. That means I work on a smaller scale than I usually do and also means that few details of the original designs will not be visible which will make the designs look different than the originals, and I will have to come up with creative solutions so that the designs will still look spectacular. It also requires me to be very patience when making all the tiny parts for the jewelry.


Hueish

What advice have you received recently that you wish you knew before your started your business.

Maureen Vorswik

I cannot really say I didn’t really know, I should better say I knew but I was too busy spending most of my time in designing and I didn’t create enough time for brand building on social media, building a valuable subscribers list etc. So I was advised that it was a time I should learn more about how social media really works and how my brand can benefit from these powerful free platforms.


Hueish

What are the challenges that fashion entrepreneurs go through that should be addressed?

Maureen Vorswik

Entrepreneurs will need to learn to say no. In the beginning, designers are so eager to get their brand out there and because of that, they are eager to say yes to proposals which sound great in the beginning but will not serve their brand at the end. So not all collaborations are good for business. Especially when there is too much pressure coming from the other party to make a quick decision on their proposal you might even have to wonder if the party is a reliable partner and if the opportunity will bring your business to the next level. If a company really wants to work with you and values your business and your work they will not rush you into making a quick decision. They will wait and give you space to consider their offer and ask important questions. And sometimes great opportunities are being presented but if your business is not ready to take part then it’s better to turn down the offer as well. Then start preparing and be ready when a next great opportunity is being presented. It might even be the one from the same company you turned down and you will be ready to take part.


Hueish

Do you believe being a multicultural entrepreneur helps in your business, design, or inspiration?

Maureen Vorswik

I do believe being a multicultural entrepreneur helps me with my creativity. Being a Surinamese woman living in Amsterdam city with multiple nationalities, memories of my childhood, my spouse who is a Nigerian and my trips to my birth country Suriname and Nigeria are all sources where I draw inspirations from and definitely has influence the way my business is developing.


Hueish

Do you consider yourself an African designer, multicultural designer, or entrepreneur? Why or why not?

Maureen Vorswik

I cannot say I am none of those three. I have always felt I had a connection with Africa, my father’s grandparents were Africans. I was born in Suriname but moved to Holland in 1972 when I was one year old. So my cultural background, living in Holland almost my whole live, living in a big city with multiple nationalities and all my life experiences has made me the designer I am now and my work is a reflection of that.


Hueish

Are there any challenges you have faced in building and growing your brand? The challenge to start building a team!

Maureen Vorswik

Entrepreneurs are often wearing too many hats, but as I started growing my business, I knew it was very important to start building a team and choose which hats I needed to turn over to others so I could scale my business and stay focused on what I have to offer. But good management is definitely the key to growth. Still, sometimes I catch myself trying to manage all sides of the business myself because I am so passionate about my brand and sometimes I feel that I am the only one who can handle things better.


Hueish

Are there any people or organizations you would absolutely love to partner with?

Maureen Vorswik

I would absolutely love to design jewelry for a film or theater play. To partner up with other great fashion designers by designing pieces inspired by their fashion collections. I am also open for collaborations with other parties which are not that common, I am thinking of a view already.


Hueish

What advice do you have for maybeprenuers ? Those that aren’t quite sure how to capitalize on their gifts (especially if they don’t have a lot of resources or support)?

Maureen Vorswik

If you don’t have enough resources or support don’t feel defeated. Start building a team of business-minded people who are passionate enough as you about your work and who want to support you and grow with you. If you find these people it’s possible you will get your business to that level where you want it to be without having to have angel investors.


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