Young jewellery designer keen to share skills

CREATIVE FINGERS: Jewellery designer Namhla Faku-Sokolo finishes off a necklace in her living room studio. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA
CREATIVE FINGERS: Jewellery designer Namhla Faku-Sokolo finishes off a necklace in her living room studio. Picture: JUDY DE VEGA
NECKPIECE: This colourful NAM Jewellery neckpiece is made of feathers and buttons, Picture: JUDY DE VEGA
NECKPIECE: This colourful NAM Jewellery neckpiece is made of feathers and buttons, Picture: JUDY DE VEGA

A NEWTON Park beaded jewellery designer wants to share her skills with others so that they can make a living out of it. Namhla Faku-Soloko, 30, was one of more than 120 exhibitors at The Herald Boardwalk Bridal Fair in May and says that before this wedding expo she used to display her jewellery at the Sunday markets “but now people know of NAM Jewellery”.

“Bridal Fair 2014 was really a blessing for my talent as it took my business to another level, in terms of being known that there is a young woman who creates custom-made beaded jewellery in Port Elizabeth,” the King William’s Town-born designer says. “I am forever thankful to my friend, Nokubonga Mqhayi, who assisted me with the stand at the Bridal Fair.

“I took a stand at the Bridal Fair because I wanted exposure and I wanted people to know there is a NAM Jewellery in the Nelson Mandela Bay and to network with other designers in the Eastern Cape.”

The Bridal Fair gave Faku-Soloko exposure as it led to her range being featured in a winter fashion show by Veruschka Barnard, who owns Extreme Modelling Agency, held at Kings Court Shopping Centre. She was also invited to accessorise television’s Selimathunzi presenter, Zizo Beda, at the Beat Magazine Awards held in East London earlier this month.

Faku-Soloko is a full-time financial practitioner at the department of health and only has time to make her custom-beaded pieces over weekends: “I love my day job and in my spare time, mainly on weekends, I make jewellery.”
She describes her style as “less traditional and more modern” and she believes that people need to “move with the times” and explore new fashion trends or discover their own.

Although she specialises in beaded jewellery, she also designs other accessories such as head-pieces, feather collars and bow-ties.

“I love working with pearls and sea beads and they are my favourite materials. I don’t restrict myself, ‘ndendza yonke into’ (‘I make anything and everything’) and later on in my life I would love to learn how to sew.”

She was inspired to make jewellery only two years ago when she visited a bead shop and made herself a necklace for her wedding day in February that year. This was the first time she had attempted to create anything.

“The excitement kicked in as I realised that was actually what I wanted to do. I made myself neckpieces and started coming up with my own designs,” she says.

Faku-Soloko’s long-term dream is to teach willing people how to make their own jewellery. She makes jewellery in a spare room in her home and her other dream is “to own my own jewellery shop and design for well-known fashion gurus”.

She lives with her husband and they do not have children “yet” so she has turned her spare room into her work space.

“Sometimes I just sit here and lose myself in my work and realise that I have been here for hours. I love it.” She finds it very relaxing to make jewellery and says that it is “effortless”.

“I don’t have people who work for me but from time-to-time my husband lends a hand and my younger brother. I started selling my jewellery at the Sunday markets by the beach but now people must place orders or order on my Facebook page.” – Sinesipho Mbandazayo

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