Meet The Maker: Joana Ballesteros-Gube of Heyjow

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Funny how things fall into place. Several months ago, Char and I were brainstorming and writing down names of people we’d like to work with, fellow inspiration seekers who love to travel, create and appreciate the beauty of well-made, handcrafted one of a kind pieces. At the top of our list was Heyjow. We’ve been fans of this amazing jewelry brand for quite some time. Her layered necklace combinations not only tell a story but look absolutely stunning. Little did we know that Joana was a fan of L’Indochine too! To make a long story short, we met, had multiple coffee meetings, brainstormed, swapped a million emails and phone calls and came up with a boho luxe collection that we hope you’ll all enjoy!

But before we unveil the collection, get to know the woman behind Heyjow, Joana.

 

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Name: Joana Ballesteros-Gube

Occupation/Position: Owner/Designer, Heyjow Inc.

1) How did Heyjow get started?

When Heyjow started in 2013, I had just left a full-time PR/marketing position.

At the time, I was faced with two options: Look for another job, or pursue something that I’ve been dreaming about for over a decade, which was to design jewelry.

Creating a business at that stage of my life—a time when I didn’t have a job and very little startup capital—was a huge risk. It seemed wiser to just get another job and save up until I could comfortably start a business.

I interviewed at several companies for corporate PR/marketing positions, and was offered positions in a couple of them. But, with advice and support from my dear friends and family, I came to realize that if I took on a full-time job, I’d never be motivated to follow through on my dream.

So I decided to invest all of my time, resources, and personal savings into establishing the Heyjow brand. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made ever made!

2) Why this particular business?

Designing jewelry has been a passion of mine since college. I started creating fashion accessories out of personal necessity: I always loved fashion, but as a student I couldn’t always afford the things I desired, so I had to make my own stuff.

3) Most memorable experience from building/running the business

At Heyjow, every day is an adventure!

One memorable experience of running a business was at the start of it all. It was a phase filled with uncertainties. There was a lot of self-doubt. Can I really do this? What will I do if this doesn’t work out? Maybe I should look for a part-time job. Bahala na—that’s really all I could think.

I’ll never stop being thankful to all the people who’ve supported Heyjow. Words literally cannot express how grateful I am to all the Heyjow clients and partners.

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4) Hardest part of the job?

Being a designer+entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. There is no “off” switch for when ideas will strike you—it could be in the middle of the night while you’re watching TV, on vacation, or during a workout session. And, as a business owner, there’s never a time when there’s nothing to do! But I’m not complaining—I wouldn’t have it any other way!

5) Most rewarding part of the job?

The feedback I get from our clients is the most rewarding part of the job! Seeing Heyjow pieces worn by such lovely ladies is a truly delightful experience! My day is complete whenever a client tells me how she wore her recently-acquired Heyjow piece to a particular occasion (a wedding, a girls’ night out, a baby shower) and how she got plenty of compliments and inquiries from her friends!

6) What are your favorite pieces?

It’s really tough to pinpoint specific pieces that I’d consider my “favorites” because each Heyjow piece is an extension of my personal experiences and ideas.

Right now, I’m in love with layering. Layering allows you to mix-and-match your pieces depending on your mood, and the occasion. Layering is one of the most creative and expressive forms of accessorizing oneself.

I’m also working with a new matte-gold-finish material that we recently brought in from the Middle East. It continues to be a fascinating material to design with, and I’m still trying to push the limits of what can be done with it!

7) How do you balance work and family life?

Work-life/family-life balance is still a challenge for me, as well as my husband, who is also an entrepreneur. This is an area of our relationship that we’re still working on.

One of the things that has helped us achieve a better balance is giving each other a sincere promise to make time for each other. For example, when we travel for leisure, we have made it a rule to leave our computer laptops at home so that we can focus on spending time with each other.

8) Any exciting news for our customers/readers to watch out for?

The L’Indochine+Heyjow collaboration is extremely exciting! I really believe we’re going to be bringing out some very interesting pieces as a result of this partnership. One of the many things to look forward to is the Jewelry Bar – a concept by L’Indochine’s very own, Leona and Charlene. The Jewelry Bar is a new way of engaging with Heyjow pieces, giving you the opportunity to design and really fine-tune your fashion accessories