“I have learned that with the power to be honest and vulnerable and to share our story, we can make a difference.”
As COO at Paris Jewelers, Chau Lui – who co-owns the Edmonton-based company with his sister Trang – has quite a legacy to uphold. The parents of the duo, who moved with their young children from Vietnam to Canada, founded the company after training as a goldsmith once they arrived in their new home country. Honoring this effort, along with their ancestry, motivated the sisters to launch The Asian Heritage Hope Collection, a new set of earrings and pendant necklace both featuring rose quartz detail. In an effort to combat and quell a surge in anti-Asian racism over the past year, 100% of the net sales proceeds of the set will go to the Canada-based Asian Solidarity Fund and Stop AAPI Hate. , an American nonprofit organization.
“I saw a lot of hard work growing up,” Lui says of what inspired the collection and her initiative, and adds that her mother would communicate with customers via a Vietnamese-English dictionary once the first Paris Jewelers store. opened in St. Albert, Alberta. Yet despite the launch and growth of a small business (which now has 23 stores in four provinces) – and the realized ambition to “build a better life and future”, as Lui says of his parents – the family has seen their experience degraded by incidents of racism that they have continually encountered in Canada. It’s a problem, she points out, that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we grow the business, we would hear that our brand needs to be more ‘Canadian’,” she recalls. “And about a year ago, we started getting messages saying, ‘Please do not use the Canadian flag. You are not a Canadian company. We felt really disheartened. These are things I try to forget, but I have learned through the power of being honest and vulnerable and sharing our story, we can make a difference.
Until recently, you could not find photos of Him and his sister in the product marketing materials for Paris Jewelers. “It was as if for every person who celebrates [our background], there’s another person who says, “Don’t say you’re a Canadian company if your owners aren’t from here.” But Lui goes on to say that she and her family are committed to sharing their story in order to inspire and uplift. “We have this business and this platform – how do we use it to do good? I want to set an example for my own children. “
This is one of the reasons behind the creation of the Asian Heritage Hope collection and the design of its element of restitution; the pieces were presented today in honor of May being Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI) here in Canada, as well as to mark the birthday of Chau and Trang’s mother, the game. And the small pieces are enriched with symbolism, notes Lui. “Rose quartz is one of my favorite stones; it is known as [a symbol] universal love and deep inner healing. And we used a hexagon [because] all internal sides and angles are equal. I choose to believe that this is the way people should be treated regardless of their shape, size, race. “
Although this offer honors the courage Thu has shown throughout his life, this is not the first time that Paris Jewelers has honored this notion through design. Last year, the brand launched the Resilience collection, created to recognize the sacrifices and tenacity of frontline and essential workers from all walks of life. “We are so inspired by them,” said Him. The collection showcases the Pantone colors of the year 2020, yellow and gray, and is comprised of artful items rendered with citrine and gray moonstone accents; a portion of the proceeds from sales of this collection is donated to The Frontline Fund.
“We want people, when they put on these pieces, to remember their own strength,” Lui says, adding that working on the aforementioned collections has “saved their lives throughout the past year. They gave me hope.
Paris Jewelers has responded to other issues brought on by the pandemic, including expanding financing options for clients who are struggling after losing a job. “The world has changed, so we must change and adapt as well,” notes Him.
She noticed one thing that hasn’t changed, but rather evolved, is what jewelry fans are looking for these days, including yellow gold rather than rose gold pieces (which have captivated customers ever since. several years). And she’s excited about the idea that once we come out of the COVID-19 crisis, “people will be very comfortable being bold,” mixing it up and making a statement with their own way. ‘dress. Style is a way of communicating emotion, after all.
And that is precisely why He and his family have taken the approach they have to running their business and being so aware of the meaning of their work; it emphasizes how much jewelry, even if bought for oneself, is a celebration of sorts. “Jewelry is an emotional purchase,” she says. “People have to connect to it.” They also need to maintain it, and the brand offers a range of care plans for customers to keep their precious parts clean and in good repair. “We think jewelry is a special step,” says Lui. “You can have it for your whole life and pass it on for generations to come.”
In this way, the creations found at Paris Jewelers embody the question of importance at hand with the launch of Asian Heritage Hope pieces; that history and the future have a direct line to be attended to in order to prosper.