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What is your Koh Phangan story?
I just fell in love with Thailand, quit everything in France and started my jewellry business.
I first came spent in 2002, I was actually living for three years on Samui but coming to Phangan every full moon to see friends and sell jewellry. Then I decided to move here, I opened my first shop in 2006 and was doing batique and jewellry.
What initially got you into making jewellry?
My ex husband was making jewellry in the traditional way, he was a silversmith. So I bought some silver and stones and started like that.
We were coming to Phangan every month and selling on the streets, I found the crowd was more my style here than in Samui as Samui was changing a lot..
How have Samui and Phangan changed?
The first time I was there I was on Chaweng beach in a bungalow for one hundred and fifty Baht then slowly they started pulling down the bungalows and building more expensive ones. They also made a Tesco which was not there before and it has got really, really busy but with different kinds of tourists like older people and families.
In Phangan at that time we could sit in chicken corner and sell our stuff there, there were no buckets and no fluro t-shirts.
There was no concrete road from Haad Rin to Ban Tai so it was quite an adventure to go over the hills.
Where and how do you source your materials?
Mainly from Bangkok, I was really into jewellry from Afghanistan, kind of antique stuff and then I mix it with my style.
The stones are from India and China but can get everything from Bangkok. The material for clothes is mostly from France.
I like to use lace and materials like that, you can get really nice lace from France which is good quality.
After I had my jewellry I took on another shop and I had batik dye so I started using just white shirts would tie dye, learning more and more, this started selling well.
I then started customising, cutting and adding stuff to the pieces. I found an old singer sewing machine so bought it just at first for decoration, my aunty was a seamstress and showed me a little bit then I learnt on my own and started customising tank tops.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From people, from nature. When I used to have a shop I would do something and they would come wear it and say ‘have you tried that’ etc so I would get given different ideas.
What is unique about your style?
I like to mix my gypsy roots background and the lifestyle here, also and I like to enhance the beauty of women and lace is very feminine without being too much. I also love vintage stuff so I mix the vintage and gypsy.
What do you enjoy about Koh Phangan in your free time?
My favourite spot is Chaloklum beach, I just like the freedom of driving a bike and being close to nature.
I’ll go to the beach, the sauna, parties of course and dancing. I went back to dance a couple of months ago with Marta and while she’s away I teach.
What do you hope for yourself and the island over the next few years?
I hope it stays as authentic as much as possible. I live day by day really but I do miss having a shop, after two shops I thought ‘this is enough’ but now I realise the shop was part of me as well as the clothes and jewellry. The decor, ambience and atmosphere was me, this is what made people come in and I miss that, the contact with the people.
When it’s the right time and right place I will maybe get another shop. People want to see and hear the person who makes the things in it. I have customers that have become friends and this I miss, having my own place, I have project in my head.
What is your life philosophy?
When you have passion and a dream just go for it, never give up on your dream no matter what life throws at you.