Tell us about yourself! What's your name + where are you from?
My name is Judit Jaradi and I am the lead designer of my accessories brand, called Jurekka. It is a European brand located in Budapest, Hungary with some roots in London, so it’s a mixture.
How did you get started with Jurekka?
The story started 5 years ago, so the brand was established in 2012. The whole business idea came when we discovered that there is a niche market between super expensive designer tech bags and accessories, and those handmade crafty things sold on Etsy.We saw there was a gap between the two, and tried to build the business concept based on this discovery. The story was very simple - I got a new Macbook but I couldn’t find a nice bag to put it in, so I designed one for myself. I looked into the whole production process, how could it work, and then it was just built step by step because I had received very good feedback from customers.
How has your experience in New York versus Hungary influenced your work or work style?
I travel a lot so it’s not only Budapest that inspires me but simply this way of life. I also worked abroad for my previous profession; I was working in the Diplomacy for 10 years, and then I quit that to start Jurekka. My inspiration in respect to style is “the man on the street,” the passion and sense of today. Of course I also follow whats in Vogue, and what the trends are. It’s not only affecting the design and the style but I would rather interpret this or use this inspiration through colors. So far, we have 3 collections but we always keep the best selling models. For an accessories brand it is very important to have these characteristic pieces from what the label could be very easily recognized and remembered. We update such timeless models by offering a new color combination each season so it could be kept interesting both for new and returning customers.
That’s an interesting contrast between working for the Diplomacy and now having your own fashion brand, how did that transition happen?
Although fashion and diplomacy are two completely different worlds, all these experiences that I gained during this decade in many senses help the way my business works now.Design and fashion was really a passion from my childhood, but it was a very rash decision to go in this direction with my educational background.I studied International Relations and Economics and then I started to build up this first career. But I found out after a while that it wasn't really my style so I had to turn back to my passion.
What inspires you?
The very first collection was inspired by my school bag from the 80’s.The boxy shapes and bright colors really determined my taste obsession, going back a bit to my memories and my past, but also the 80’s trend was coming back into style. I thought it would be interesting to bring it back but with a twist - with proper materials, very good quality leather and an updated functionality. This was the inspiration behind the 'New School' collection where we use these very characteristic buckles. The 'Kolorama' collection is more minimalistic. It was a very mindful decision to cater towards the tech-oriented customers. We started to use high tech innovative leather - a patented technology made in Italy.It is a very interesting technology where genuine leather receives special characteristics, like it becomes-water resistant.It’s great because it’s very resistant to daily use and dirt and for us it is very important that we offer durable, easy-to-care products.So, it’s a combination of this idea where all the bags are designed to hold your tech gadgets, but also innovative from the material standpoint. We blend these two things in order to target the tech oriented customers.
What is your design process like? How does it go from an idea to reality?
It always starts with collecting pieces to build an inspiration board.Then I make sketches and drawings, and then paper samples.I make models of the bags themselves from papers first.I have a small workshop in Hungary where I have craftsmen who prepare the sample for me.The workshop produces for many International brands, sothe craftsmanship and details are very nicely prepared.This is something very unique that we have here in Hungary so why not capitalize on the business side of the asset so the production and design process is secured.
If you have one, what’s your favorite product, or favorite material to work with?
I think that the backpack is my favorite because it’s very functional.I have one for myself and I love it very much.I love the feature that it’s unisex, so men and women can really easily match it with an outfit for the office, or going out, or even with a casual look.