When she visited a psychic, who claimed to advise successful business people, Monica Yichoy was told she should be making jewellery. Needing something to keep her occupied after surgery, she decided to go for it, and hasn’t looked back since. Based in California, Monica dabbled in several different careers before finding her true calling, but now couldn’t imagine doing anything else than creating jewellery. Her one-of-a-kind pieces are all designed and handcrafted by Monica in her home studio, aimed to make their wearer feel pretty, feminine and empowered. Monica chats to us about making jewellery for fast-paced women, taking her grandfather’s advice and her favourite Netflix show to binge-watch.
How did your brand begin?
“I read a newspaper article about a psychic claiming she advised successful business people. Out of curiosity, I went to see her. She said I should be making jewellery. At the time, I was getting ready for two foot surgeries and would need something to do during my recovery, so I decided to try it!”
"I read a newspaper article about a psychic claiming she advised successful business people. Out of curiosity, I went to see her."
When did you realise your passion for jewellery design?
“After making beaded jewellery for a while, I learned jewellery fabrication and then set up a studio in my home. I really enjoyed getting lost in the design and then focusing on crafting the piece. I loved working with my hands and it wasn’t long before I realised this was my passion.”
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
“Flora, water, and architecture provide much of my inspiration. I find them romantic and beautiful. I think teardrop shapes are curious - they can signify so many things. It could be an exclamation mark, rain, water, joy, happiness, sadness, anger or love.”
"We all lead fast-paced lives. Despite how rushed she might be, I want my jewellery to help my customers feel special, beautiful, pretty and self-assured."
What techniques do you use to create your jewellery?
“I use filigree as an embellishment or decorative element to add something pretty and romantic to the piece I’m making. However, because I’m not using filigree in the traditional way, I pick solder each joint one at a time.”
How do you want someone to feel when they wear a piece from Monica Fiorella?
“We all lead fast-paced lives. Despite how rushed she might be, I want my jewellery to help my customers feel special, beautiful, pretty and self-assured. Right from the first moment she puts it on in the morning, throughout her day, all the way till the evening.”
Can you recall a particular moment with a client that will stay with your forever?
“A mother and her young son stopped by my booth at an art festival. The boy was so completely engrossed in my jewellery, he looked at everything carefully. He started asking me how I made it. He was asking such detailed questions for a child his age!”
"My grandfather told me to think carefully from the perspective of the other person."
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
“My grandfather told me to think carefully from the perspective of the other person. He encouraged me to think of their motivations and concerns. I do try, though I do not know how accurate I am, but I think it has helped me be more empathetic.”
"I would love my jewellery to be known as the brand to purchase when someone wants romance, love, beauty."
If you hadn’t become a jewellery designer, what would you be doing?
“I have been a computer programmer, an industrial engineer, and a financial analyst. So, I would probably still be sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer!”
How do you wind down after a busy day in the studio?
“I exercise during the day. I like science fiction, fantasy and Japanese animation television shows. I also might do a sudoku puzzle, because I love looking for the patterns. I live close to Napa and Sonoma, so when I have time, I might go to a winery.”
Favourite series to binge-watch on Netflix?
“I binge-watched Sense8 on Netflix. It really emphasised what I said earlier regarding considering the other person’s perspective. It put me in an entire range of emotions.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
“I see myself working out of a studio, somewhere customers can visit and shop. I would love my jewellery to be known as the brand to purchase when someone wants romance, love, beauty.”