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PICHULIK

Katherine-Mary Pichulik has been assembling jewelry using older pieces for as long as she can remember. It all started as a hobby - Katherine-Mary had no formal training as a jeweler. and is, in fact, a qualified pastry chef. When backpacking through India, she crafted a necklace out of camel decoration. And the idea for Pichulik was born. Inspired by the use of rope and thread, she returned home and started sculpting neckpieces that just two months later she showcased at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Inspired by travel to exotic places; indigenous crafts and textiles; African and Middle Eastern ornamentation and ceremony as well as the journey within - Katherine-Mary starts with a feeling or interest, which she then interprets with materials from all corners of the world.

As the brand has grown, so has the complexity of the pieces. Increased use of African stones. Infusion of symbology. With each collection, Katherine-Mary pushes the boundaries as she strives for Pichulik to become a well known African brand that truly represents its spirit.

As much a fashion statement as celebration of female empowerment, Pichulik jewelry tells the stories of powerful brave women. It starts with Katherine-Mary’s mother, who has been running her own business for over 30 years, and her great-grandmother, the first woman to sing on the BBC Radio in South Africa and also a successful owner of her own clothing boutique.

THE INTERVIEW

What are the 5 things you cannot live without?

  • My team
  • The people I love and my family
  • Spiritual practice or a connection through meditation or prayer
  • Access to music
  • Access to some sort of writing - my journal or pen so I could make my experiences onto something

If we are talking about more superficial things around clothes and garments, I love:

  • Lipstick
  • Espadrilles - I cant live without a pair of espadrilles
  • Lots of brass jewelry - I will swim in the ocean with jewelry on, naked but with bling; three bracelets and earrings
  • Scarf - I always carry a scarf with me wherever I go. I use it to wrap my head. Or if you want to surprisingly go for a swim. Or go on a long train ride. Its the ultimate to create shade.

What’s your favorite song?

The song that makes me incredibly happy for some reason is Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay Lady Lay’ 

Your favorite quote?

Maybe not a quote but an ethos I try to live by is ‘You have two options. Either you reach towards love or towards fear.”

Another one I really like is ‘You can either practice being right or practice being kind.’ - Anne Lamott

Who would you love to wear your pieces?

It’s not a specific demographic of woman. Its just the woman of a certain spirit. Women who are courageous, compassionate, kind, conscious, have a sense of humor and who appreciate storytelling.

So from Maya Angelou. To Oprah Winfrey, Ariana Huffington, Jada Pinkett. There are so many. And if you were talking historical figures .... , it’d be the French writer Colette. Or the French poet and writer Anais Nin. Or even Frida Kahlo...

Could you tell us more about the women you work with?

I see the brand almost like an umbrella - I love women to come through and actualize their greatness through the different vehicles we have. And I am not interested in mass impact but really impact on individuals and their lives, their finding a gift and materializing it.

One of the women who literally started with me from the beginning ... is now a manager of our shop [in Johannesburg]. She underwent a lot of growth within her time in the business. And she now also manages social media with our press agents.

And another woman - Nadya - started as an intern and she wanted to grow into business. And I realized I could give her administrative or operational roles. But her gift is being a fashion designer. So we’ve expanded the business to ‘ Pichulik by Nadya’ whereby she has a percentage and she designs clothes for the brand and also under partially her label.

Two other women started as crafters and one is now Assistant Operations Manager and the other manages our online shop.

So there is a big push towards additional courses, additional trainings. That’s the model.

What super power would you like to have?

I’d like to be able to heal [others]

What's your vice?

Essential oils. I like things that smell nice. I have a lot of perfumes, essential oils, balms. I’ve got an addiction to that. And I’ve got to be careful. Because sometimes I put lots of different oils ... and I can smell like I’ve gone for a massage. Very aromatic.

All photos courtesy of Pichulik

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