They store their memories in jewelry made of sand
  • Post author:
  • Post category:News
  • Post comments:0 Comments

We meet in the Olomouc workshop, where their small company Couple of Sand is located. There is a table on which remarkable jewelry is created, the walls are lined with shelves full of bowls with colorful lids. If you look closely, you will find that they are very carefully described. And each contains sand, from which non-traditional souvenirs such as earrings, bracelets, rings, cufflinks… are created.

Lenka adds that the system must be carefully followed so that it is clear from which location, beach, the sand comes, who sent it to them and when: “Honzík makes the jewelry. Of the two of us, he is definitely the more patient, more skilled. I’m more concerned with their sale.”

Business came to them, as they agree, actually by accident. Both studied something completely different from design, jewelry. She is a theater production and dramaturg by profession, her husband Jan completed a degree in French and economics at the university.

After all, they also met in college. They hit it off on a few things, including vacation plans. They liked to travel on their free weeks. Even back then, they carried home a small bag of sand as a so-called souvenir.

“Parents have similar memories at home in decanters, in glasses on shelves as decoration,” Mr. Jan tells me. His wife adds that he is the best traveling companion. In addition to his calm nature, he actively speaks five languages, including Lithuanian. It can be seen from both of them that they often and happily repeat the story of the beginning of their idea, which now provides them with a fairly decent income.

Photo: Milan Malíček, Law

Jan makes necklaces, bracelets, rings and cufflinks from sand.

They know very well that success involves emotions. “When we stand at the stand, we almost always have to explain to people what makes our products unconventional. We talk for hours and hours,” they describe, adding that direct sales – the one on the street – run concurrently with the e-shop.

“The principle is simple: you send us a small bag of sand from a place you liked, you choose a piece of jewelry in which to put your memory, and we will custom-make it for you,” explains Mrs. Lenka.

He adds that everyone can choose not only the size and type of jewelry, but also the material: “After making it, we put it in a cloth bag. We will add a photo of the place where the sand comes from. Either you deliver it to us or we send it to you. We really have a lot of our own pictures. We bought them mainly on our trip around the world.’

At that time, i.e. around 2016, they already knew very well that the pictures and sand samples would be useful to them. They date the idea that grains of sand would look good in jewelry to 2015, when they were just planning the big expedition. Then, as always, they collected a souvenir “sample” on the beach of the Panamanian island of Isla Coiba – and Lenka connected it in her head with the manufacture of earrings, which she had already tried a few times at home.

We sent sand home to our parents, to friends we met in the world, or in letters. Each weighed a few grams

“Like the ones with a hardened bed with a hollow hole in it. Pictures are usually inserted into them,” she describes, adding that she thought it was nice to make original gifts and souvenirs.

“My friends really liked them. They told me: Make more of them, in a different color. It goes well with my clothes,” she explains. And so their business was born.

Photo: company archive

In order not to “go out of fashion”, they are constantly inventing new models. However, they too must retain the original idea, the emphasis on the beauty of the sand and minimalism.

They launched the unconventional brand a year later on the mentioned one-year trip around the world. They collected not only experiences, but also sand samples, photographed interesting places. “We sent sand home to our parents, to friends we met in the world, or in letters. Each weighed a few grams,” they describe.

They visited eighteen countries in a year. They started with those where it is expensive, the first was Bolivia. “We suspected that we would run out of money over time. That’s why we left Asia for last. And we are saving Europe for old age or when we can travel with small children,” the couple agree.

During the expedition, they also built a company in the virtual world, on social networks, where they also did very well thanks to beautiful photos and funny observations. But they started the business in full only after returning from the world in 2017.

Designer and artist Janja Prokić: Jewelry is like a talisman, it gives strength and protects

Style

Initially, they had a workshop in their apartment in Olomouc. Today it is a children’s room for their two young daughters, and they recently moved the production a little further, to a larger one. They currently have about four hundred and eighty samples, types of sand in it.

They emphasize that they come “only” from the states, and there are dozens of them, where Czechs like to go. “They really liked Greece, where there are many islands and beaches. For example, we have Santorini four times. And you know what’s interesting? Sand from one beach often looks completely different. It varies in roughness, color… It depends on where you pick it up.”

Other popular countries for a “Czech” holiday include Italy, Iceland, Portugal from Europe, and Jordan, the United States, Dubai, Thailand from exotic countries…

Photo: company archive

On one of his travels, in Thailand. And they also hid local sand in their supply.

If you don’t have your own sand, but you like jewelry, just choose. Either simply by the color and shape, or by the place where the grains come from, and you have some sympathy or relationship with it. On the company’s website, you can find a list of locations that Lenka and Jan have in their collection. “Eighty percent of the sand in the workshop is our roads. The rest is completed by the customers,” they explain.

He also mentions that their goods are also successful among foreigners. Sand from Prague sells quite well to them. These jewels are bought by tourists who usually meet Malý at design markets.

“One is, among other things, in front of Prague’s Rudolfinum. Foreigners often tell us that you can’t find many nice, small souvenirs in Prague. I mean the almost unbreakable ones that you can easily put in your backpack or on the plane,” says Ms. Lenka, adding that she understands a similar attitude. Not everyone wants to take a t-shirt, tin, matryoshka home from Prague…

According to her, of the colors of jewelry sold in the open air, those with black sand from Bali, pink sand from Indonesia and also jewelry with crushed seashells sell the most. When buying on the street, the decision is usually made by how it impresses the buyer at that moment.

“We also offer bulk prices for jewelry at the markets. After all, foreigners are used to bargaining. If they choose more pieces from us, we will include everything. And we know that they usually actually take more of them.”

Ms. Lenka clarifies that the customer will pay hundreds of crowns for one. In addition to the tried and tested earrings, bracelets are now in demand. Their model for women and men is different: “Men have it on a rubber band, women have it on a string.” Men are more comfortable, they don’t want to tie or untie anything…”

Photo: company archive

One more thing is important for them: preserving the beauty of the areas where the material is collected: “To make a piece of jewelry, we only need a tablespoon of sand, it’s not worth filling a PET bottle…”

It reveals that they can estimate their customers quite accurately years later. Nevertheless, he sometimes surprises them: “Recently, we have had a lot of rings sold at the markets. We have them mostly adjustable, almost everyone can put them on.”

He doesn’t resist even special wishes that arrive here and there: “We also made a gold engagement ring. He succeeded. We only say to similar requests: We are not goldsmiths, we do not normally work with gold, there is also the possibility that the jewelry will not turn out according to your expectations. It hasn’t happened yet, but a warning is definitely in order.”

A tablespoon of sand is enough to make a piece of jewelry. People should also find out if the beach is protected by law. In Sardinia, for example, collecting sand is punishable by prison

After all, they consider honesty and helpfulness to be another prerequisite for success. This is also why they offer clients the opportunity to stand behind them in the market and order jewelry in person. When it is finished, they hand it over to the customers again. And when comparing purchases and orders, they also discovered this: the market is more in demand for cheaper, hypoallergenic steel, silver leads the way in the online store.

In order not to “go out of fashion”, they are constantly inventing new models. However, they too must retain the original idea, the emphasis on the beauty of the sand and minimalism. “We don’t do tsingrlátek,” they agree.

And one more important thing for them is to preserve the beauty of the areas where the material is collected: “We only need a tablespoon of sand to make a piece of jewelry, it’s not worth filling a PET bottle… People should also find out if the beach is protected by the law. For example, in Sardinia, you can even go to jail for collecting sand.”

And which beach do the two of them or the four of them like to go to the most? They tell me that their list of “must see” countries has been crossed off by the kids: “Otherwise, we love Mexico. We spent over four months there while traveling around the world. But now we have to wait for the daughters to grow up a bit.”

The goal of their foreign trips is thus far mainly Lithuania. “We have facilities there. Honzík’s mother is from there. And with our first daughter, we were in Greece, Spain and Jordan, where it is truly beautiful. We are considering Cyprus…,” they think about other expeditions.

Leave a Reply