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by Shiela Calaunan


nown for the label’s amalgamation of the fashion-forward and the affordable, Gee & Jae The Label is an example of a success story with a very humble beginning. Since

February 2012, the sisters Gemma and Jessica Bandiera created an up and coming label featuring their own unique exclusive and glamorous jewellery finds – first at their parents’ hair salon and now through their very own online store. Gemma chats about her personal style and the creation of Gee & Jae with Shiela Calaunan.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR OWN PERSONAL STYLE? My style differs everyday as it highly reflects my mood. I have a bipolar personal style but usually I go for the glamorous look. I am a hair stylist so I am always dolled up however I also do love basic staples as it emphasizes my jewellery. But when it comes down to it, black is definitely a winner for me.

WHAT’S YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE TO YOUNG WOMEN CONCERNING FASHION AND STYLE? Be inspired. Don’t copy people, as you’ll never put it off as well.

HOW DID YOU START GEE & JAE THE LABEL? My sister, Jessica and I started our label back in February 2012. For the past eight years, we both have travelled back and forth to Bangkok, Thailand where we found our inspiration for Gee & Jae. Bangkok is filled with so many glamorous, up and coming designers and we were so intrigued by the jewellery we came across. We both have had a huge passion and love for costume jewellery, so we thought why not start our own business? It was our way to share our special jewellery finds with others who share the same interests as us – jewellery obsessed. We then started selling our exclusive finds at Radical Hair Design and things took off from there. As it was doing so well, we then thought to expand our business and start selling online. It took eight months to develop and design our website to perfection and I have never looked back since. (Do check it out at: au)

SINCE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF YOUR LABEL, WHAT HAVE BEEN THE OPPORTUNITIES YOU HAVE RECEIVED FROM YOUR LINE? Since 2012 we have been featured in a different range of photo shoots, magazines and feature articles both in print and online. We also started to wholesale our brand to small boutiques and started exclusive jewellery events.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART IN CONCEPTUALISING A NEW COLLECTION? My favourite part is creating a new theme and making our sourced finds fit to these themes. The four collections we have at Gee & Jae at the moment (The Aquarian Collection, The Amazonite Collection, The Tribal Beginnings Collection and The Tsuga Collection) are broad but also very personal. I like the idea of receiving new pieces that somehow, each piece will always find its place in a collection – it just works.

IF YOU COULD PICK A CELEBRITY WHO WOULD ADVERTISE YOUR COLLECTIONS, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY? We see ourselves as a young, fresh, Australian brand so it’s really difficult to pick just one. With that saying, we would love to have an Australian model endorse our label such as the likes of Miranda Kerr, Jessica Hart and Jennifer Hawkins.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE JEWELLERY DESIGNER THAT YOU ADMIRE? I’ve always loved House of Harlow, The Mania Mania and House of Emmanuele.

WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF OWNING A LABEL? The best part is that you have full control over something in an industry where everything and anything is purely up to you and your ideas. I also love the fact that I’m entitled to say I started my own business at such a young age. The success we’re attaining right now is the evidence and it’s a very satisfying feeling, I suppose. The competition is probably the worst part as there is so much. And the fact that it is my own label, it’s entirely up to me to make it work and to be successful. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR GEE & JAE THE LABEL? Taking our online business to the next step and wholesale opportunities.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS WHO ALSO WANT TO START THEIR OWN LABEL? Over the past few years, I’ve realised that the most important thing is: you need to be extremely dedicated and have strong willpower to keep a label going. You need to have the skill and a lot of time to constantly keep your social media platforms active and the business running smoothly. You need to think outside the box and don’t follow the trends. Lastly, I do believe you need to have support from friends and family to keep your spirits high in the down times of your business.

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