The journey of Shaddy Ellian and Hayden
We first met right after my 15th birthday, at the time I neither knew her name nor how important she would become to me. That night I wrote a wish that years after became a concrete goal. Almost ten years after, I took a plane and came back home to find her.
Hayden is my reliable and strong partner. She is my life-long dream, which was built on determination, attention to details and a desire to empower. Beyond the shimmering Swarovski crystals and captivating precious stones, is an eloquent message to women everywhere; to love themselves and trust their inner strength.
At the age of 17, my fondness of jewellery started to emerge. I used to watch red-carpet events closely; only to review the jewellery worn by the A-list celebrities. Mainstream media preferred to comment on the dresses and the beauty looks; but, never the jewellery. For me, their accessories were all that mattered.
Accordingly, I used to print out the images of the worst looks in my opinion. Then, modify and design new jewellery to better fit their looks. It was only at that stage that I grasped the potential I had. My future relationship with Hayden started to formulate; on parallel, I took courses and read any available materials on the subject only to get closer to her.
I went through many industries, from music to PR and events, before my deadline came looming. Ahead of my 24th birthday, my decision to quit and move from Dubai to Cairo came as a surprise to everyone; including myself. I had that life-long promise and I was fixed on fulfilling it; or at least walk towards it.
While some people questioned my determination to move back and start a business in Egypt, I knew that home is always the correct launch pad. All those, who went international, started at the warmth of their hometown. On the other hand, who does not want to make his country proud; even with the simplest of achievements?
The road to Hayden took a lot of time and effort. Establishing an office and gathering a team that can refer to themselves as family, had left me at times broke; yet, high on the knowledge that success is already brushing with the tips of my fingers.
At the beginning I did not have neither a family nor a good network of connections in Egypt. Therefore, my search for good factories and craftsmen reached nothing. With no local options available, I started sourcing my work to foreign factories.
Once I knew what I wanted to do, I spent days thinking of names for this brain-child of mine. I did not want to call it after me, since my name has nothing special about it. As an alternative, I started researching frantically. One link about the ancient queens of Egypt led to tales about the significant women of this nation. While all good names did not have a strong story behind it, queens that made an impact did not necessarily have names suitable for the modern world.
My sleepless nights in front of the computer's screen went on until one day I came across Hayden. A strong and beautiful woman that challenges stereotypes. For weeks after, I could not forget her gracefulness while discussing her battle with cancer as well as her keenness to look her best and walk as strong as ever; even with her hair gone.
It was not long until that name became more of a feature to me. Hayden no longer represents a person; instead, it describes a mantra for women everywhere.
Her attitude towards life was exactly how I have wanted my brand to reflect on women. I wanted my jewellery to help females see their inner beauty and uniqueness; to make them understand that they do not need anyone's approval. Hayden aims to empower women and make them realize their beauty at any time and with no need for fancy occasions or extravagant budgets. Jewellery is not seasonal, it is an attainable method to feel good.
Whenever I sketch a piece, I study it to absorb its vibes. I never call a design finished until I know for certain that it has the right positive energy. I design with the true essence of Hayden in mind; I sketch many designs before deciding to move forward with one.
My first collection, Love Wear – Edition I, came out by the end of 2016. During the days leading to the moment of truth, I had many doubts. Suddenly my confidence evaporated to leave many questions lingering; I did not know if this would succeed or if I was even adding anything new to an already well-established industry.
Nonetheless, it was the energy of Hayden that carried me to the true beginning of everything. It was a trendy collection with chokers as the star items. Even though, the collection and the brand started to make the right waves in the local market, it was one of the most challenging periods in my life.
Not long after the launch, a very close friend of mine passed away and in my grief I got extremely sick; both physically and emotionally. I spent a long period of time trapped in a limbo of despair, before I had the willpower to stop taking any medication and go back to the office.
Hayden and Love Wear – Edition II snatched me from that state of mind and brought me back to my lifestyle. This particular collection means a lot to me. Hayden was my savior and the second edition of Love Wear was a prayer for better days.
Today, I have grown along with Hayden to create an ethical workshop in Egypt. I personally recruited a number of women, whom did not have the needed skill and knowledge. However, they were eager to learn, change their conditions and empower women that they will never personally meet.
Today, Hayden and I stand face to face in my office space. Over the past year, her features and energy have become a daily companion that both inspires and pushes me further. Hand in hand, we are preparing for a new chapter that would unveil her grace to a wider audience.