Introduced by a mutual acquaintance, a distinguished Ambassador in London, my initial encounter with Queenie Singh brimmed with an electric sense of anticipation. The gateway to her world opened with an invitation to attend her private event for her luxury brand, Jewels by Queenie, a captivating affair nestled within the stylish confines of London's trendsetting restaurant Amazonico in Mayfair. Amidst the opulent and artful ambiance of Amazonico, our initial exchange set the stage for a subsequent rendezvous at Soho House - Little House Mayfair, where our conversation unravelled like an evocative tapestry, spanning geographies from Delhi to Mumbai, Syria, Dubai, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and ultimately, London; a narrative woven with threads of inspiration, aspiration, and profound depth.
Queenie's presence was an embodiment of autumnal London sophistication, elegantly draped in an immaculate black Balenciaga Autumn coat, flawlessly complemented by checkered pants and knee-high patent leather, D&G boots, a sartorial harmony that encapsulated her refined taste. Every detail, from her impeccably styled hair to her flawless jewellery and the subtle allure of gold matte nail polish, was a testament to her flair for elegance and sophistication, embodying an aura that exuded timeless grace. Queenie Singh's journey unfolds as a tapestry of transformation, a metamorphosis from her reign as Miss India to a celebrated model, columnist, award-winning jewellery designer, and ultimately a revered holistic wellness practitioner. Her narrative, a breath-taking mosaic of accomplishments, transitioned from the glitz of the modelling world to the pinnacle of success in establishing her renowned jewellery and skincare brands. A mother thrice over, with a 24-year-old son, a 26-year-old daughter excelling in both modelling and a jewellery business, and a charming two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, she effortlessly balances her life between Mumbai and London. After our engaging luncheon, she dashed off to attend her daughter's pre-school event, a testament to her dedication as a mother.
Her commitment to wellness, steeped in yoga practices and holistic principles, is seamlessly intertwined with her academic prowess, a Masters in Mathematics, an eloquent testament to her beauty, intellect, and multifaceted persona. Hailing from an affluent Delhi family, her upbringing was shaped by her father's successful enterprise in refrigeration and air conditioning, an environment enriched by the presence of a doctor sister and an engineer brother. Despite her allowance for modelling and beauty pageants, her father's conservative ethos gently nudged her towards a career in business, steering her away from the glitz and glamour of Bollywood. Despite hailing from an affluent family, she charted her own course, forging a successful empire devoid of external capital investments, harnessing the earnings from her triumphant modelling career in India as the foundational pillar for her flourishing enterprises. Today, Queenie Singh shares with us her journey, an emblem of self-navigation, determination, and a relentless pursuit of living life on her terms, navigating the realms of success and inspiration.
What inspired you to venture into the jewellery industry and create Jewels by Queenie?
My foray into Jewels by Queenie is a story woven from the rich tapestry of my upbringing, a canvas painted with hues of passion and pivotal moments that defined my journey. Growing up amidst the vibrant culture of Delhi, my roots were a blend of academic pursuits and an entrepreneurial legacy. Despite the tempting prospects of academia, pursuing a Master's in Mathematics in a family entrenched in engineering and commerce, the glamorous legacy of my mother as a former Miss Delhi beckoned me. Stepping into the world of modelling and attaining the prestigious Miss India title catapulted me into a realm of brand representation and runway glamour. Yet, amidst the dazzle of that world, a deeper calling resonated within me; the captivating allure of jewellery. Modelling served as my creative canvas, allowing me to birth Jewels by Queenie in 2003. Empowered by the earnings from my modelling career and guided by my family's heritage, I delved into crafting statement pieces resonating with elegance and opulence. My innate affinity for assorting stones and diamonds became the cornerstone of my craftsmanship. Before formal jewellery training, I honed this craft, sculpting dreams into exquisite realities. The journey began with designing pieces for a contract in Hong Kong, orchestrated through our trusted family jeweller.
Launching my brand required investment. I collaborated with my family jeweller in Delhi, who provided the initial gold needed, while a partner in London supplied stones on a consignment basis. Leveraging the earnings from my modelling career, I invested my own money into the venture, debuting with a collection of fifty pieces. The success of my debut collection swiftly facilitated the settlement of all payments to my collaborators, signalling the genesis of a narrative steeped in self-reliance, resilience, and an unwavering passion ingrained in every meticulously crafted creation.
The grandeur of my inaugural jewellery collection showcased across cosmopolitan cities embodied more than a mere business launch. It was a tale etched with self-reliance, resilience, and an uncontainable passion radiating through each creation.
Balancing between Mumbai's vibrant allure, where it all began, and the refined tapestry of London, Jewels by Queenie has been an impassioned odyssey. It's a narrative that breathes life into the timeless essence of elegance, a testament to a creative spirit driven by an unwavering dedication to crafting adornments that encapsulate not just opulence but narratives of enduring beauty and grace.
What is Jewels by Queenie? What differentiates it from other luxury jewellery brands?
Jewels by Queenie is an embodiment of emotions woven into gold and diamonds, transcending the ordinary to become wearable poetry.
It's an anthology of statement pieces that stand the test of time, a symphony of elegance and allure that has graced cities from Syria to Los Angeles, London to Mumbai. Each creation is a chapter in a narrative of timeless sophistication. What sets Jewels by Queenie apart is its distinctive style, offering pieces that are more than mere accessories, they are expressions of enduring elegance and value. Crafted predominantly in gold, they exude opulence and sophistication.
My brand's footprint spans vibrant cities worldwide, from the captivating charm of Syria during the Villa Moda launch to biannual showcases in LA, London and Dubai, and annual showcases in Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, Bahrain, Paris, and various cities in India. The unexplored territories of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh also beckon, reflecting the aspiration to broaden the brand's horizons. Notably, each collection bears the mark of exclusivity, limited to a mere hundred pieces. This limitation emphasizes the meticulous craftsmanship and unwavering dedication poured into every single creation.
What sets your newly launched skincare brand, Beauty by BiE, apart from other skincare products in the market?
Beauty by BiE transcends the ordinary in skincare; it's a revolutionary journey merging state-of-the-art technology with transformative beauty. This collaboration between my vision and Dr. Dinyar Workingboxwalla, with over five decades of expertise, reshapes beauty into a holistic experience. BiE embodies 'Beauty in Everything,' celebrating the inherent radiance defining genuine beauty. Dr. Workingboxwalla meticulously crafts each product, infusing them with ethically sourced ingredients and eco-conscious packaging, a testament to our unwavering commitment to responsible practices. Our mission extends beyond skincare; it's about inspiring and empowering individuals at every life stage. In a landscape of evolving beauty norms, we provide tools to unveil unique beauty potential. Embracing clean beauty, we merge scientific formulations with potent ingredients, ensuring each bottle delivers promised results. Dr. Workingboxwalla's legacy guides our brand, rooted in delivering remarkable, lasting skincare solutions. What sets Beauty by BiE apart is the fusion of advanced technology with Dr. Workingboxwalla's curated range, proven to enhance skin quality with consistent use. Our products are available across various retail platforms, including prominent online stores, cementing our commitment to accessible, effective skincare solutions.
What inspired you to launch a skincare brand?
The inception of my skincare brand stems from a pivotal chapter in my life, spanning from 2005 to 2008. During this period, I spearheaded transformative makeovers for the Mid-Day newspaper, a wildly popular weekly column that resonated deeply. It revolved around revamping individuals from various walks of life, using stylish makeovers as a catalyst to elevate their self-assurance. The column's success was undeniable and became a highlight of that era. Alongside, I contributed columns to Times of India and a monthly social column for Hello Magazine India.
My collaboration with Dr. Workingboxwall and my unwavering belief in the transformative power of grooming and fashion further ignited my passion. Witnessing the remarkable metamorphosis of countless girls and women through our collective efforts has been profoundly gratifying. One particular instance stands out vividly, a grandmother I assisted with a makeover exuded newfound confidence, embarking on a successful modelling career at an age where such pursuits are often considered unlikely. It's a testament to the potential for transformation when one consistently utilizes the right products and adheres to a disciplined skincare routine.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur, and how have you overcome them?
As an entrepreneur, I've encountered a multitude of challenges that have shaped my journey. Moving to London introduced a mix of excitement and cultural adjustments that impacted both my personal and business life. Balancing the demands of family and my brand required careful prioritization and constant adjustment. Despite these hurdles, my brand continued to shine. Each challenge served as a catalyst for innovation, prompting me to adapt strategies and strengthen my brand's foundation. Rather than simply weathering storms, I learned to harness their energy for growth. Overcoming these obstacles has not only shaped my business trajectory but has also fostered enduring resilience, defining my entrepreneurial voyage as a testament to perseverance in the face of adversity.
How do you see the future of the jewellery and skincare industries evolving, and how do you plan to stay ahead of the curve?
For jewellery, I focus on crafting unique, customizable pieces while ensuring ethical sourcing. In skincare, it's about scientific advancements, harnessing potent ingredients for effective yet clean formulations.
The future of both the jewellery and skincare industries holds exciting transformations driven by innovation and evolving consumer needs. In jewellery, there's a growing trend towards personalized and sustainable pieces, emphasizing individuality and ethical sourcing. Skincare, on the other hand, continues to lean towards clean, science-backed formulations catering to diverse skin concerns. To stay ahead, I prioritize innovation, leveraging advanced technologies and sustainable practices in both sectors. Adapting to changing market demands, staying attuned to consumer preferences, and maintaining a commitment to quality and sustainability remain pivotal strategies for leading the way in both industries.
Can you share any insights into the creative process behind designing your jewellery pieces?
My designs draw inspiration from a myriad of facets, vibrant colour stones, the diverse array of people I encounter, the captivating essence of cities I visit, and the sheer beauty found in everyday life.
The creative process behind designing my jewellery pieces is a continual journey inspired by an array of sources. Every six months, approximately 80% of my jewellery collection undergoes a transformation, each release a reflection of evolving inspiration. I have a vivid imagination. Once an idea takes root in my mind, I collaborate closely with the artists who have been by my side for over two decades. There's a remarkable synergy between us; they have an intuitive understanding of my vision and style, almost instantly translating my concepts into tangible, breath-taking designs. The symbiosis between my vision and their expertise allows us to transform these ideas into exquisite pieces that encapsulate the essence of my inspiration.
How do you balance your time between managing your businesses in the UK and India?
Balancing my time between managing businesses in the UK and India involves strategic delegation and a robust team structure. In India, both my skincare brand and jewellery business have strong, dedicated teams. With a significant presence in India, I maintain an office that serves as a hub for operations, allowing me to oversee the activities and offer guidance when necessary. Having a capable team in India enables smooth day-to-day operations, ensuring that both businesses run efficiently in my absence. Regular communication and periodic visits to India allow me to stay connected with the teams, provide insights, and align strategies while managing affairs in the UK. This balanced approach enables me to nurture and expand both ventures across different geographical locations while ensuring each retains its unique identity and essence.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women looking to start their own businesses?
For aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women, my advice is based on personal experience. Firstly, trust your vision and instincts, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth. Secondly, build a robust support network of mentors and like-minded individuals for guidance and diverse perspectives. Thirdly, resilience is key, learn from failures, staying determined and adaptable. Continuously learn, update skills, and prioritize innovation. Lastly, maintain a healthy work-life balance for sustained success. Entrepreneurship's journey is unique; believe in yourself, focus on goals, and let passion drive you forward through the twists and turns.
How do you stay updated with the latest trends in the jewellery and skincare industries?
My ongoing dedication and passion keep me informed about the latest trends in the jewellery and skincare industries. Throughout my life, I've maintained a strong interest in skincare, and my immersion in the field has been longstanding. My enthusiasm and continuous engagement keep me well-versed and well-read, enabling me to stay updated with the evolving trends and innovations in both the skincare and jewellery domains.
I experienced a moment of regret during my children's challenging early teenage years; it's the only time I wished for a different outcome. However, I made amends and rectified the situation to the best of my ability. Apart from that period, I hold no regrets. I believe in learning from experiences, and even during tough times, I made sure to address and overcome any regrets, allowing me to move forward without dwelling on them.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
I draw inspiration from Queen Rania for her impactful humanitarian work, grace, and elegance. Her commitment to meaningful causes resonates deeply with me. Additionally, my late father remains a figure I greatly admire and respect. He was an exceptional man, not only as a father but also in his character and values, serving as a source of inspiration and guidance in my life.
Were you ever discriminated based on your gender or ethnicity?
In my journey, I've faced subtle discrimination, particularly due to my gender. Society often confines women to domestic roles while giving men precedence in business and other important matters.
It's crucial to break free from these limiting stereotypes that restrict opportunities based on gender. I wholeheartedly believe that everyone, irrespective of gender, possesses the potential for equal accomplishments. Although we're often assessed based on daily outcomes, I've come to understand that true worth isn't solely derived from performance. It's not merely about working hard; achieving results requires strategic and smart efforts. My husband contributes significantly to childcare in London, defying traditional norms, while I support my children financially in India. Overcoming these barriers is crucial, fostering a culture where individuals are recognized for their abilities rather than confined by societal gender expectations.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In a decade, I envision my skincare brand being valued at over one billion dollars, solidifying its place as a significant player in the industry. Additionally, I aim for Jewels by Queenie to attract investors and expand globally, surpassing its current scope and becoming a renowned global entity.
What do you consider the biggest accomplishment in your career so far?
My most significant career accomplishment is sustaining my jewellery brand successfully for two decades. Despite numerous challenges, including navigating through the complexities of the COVID era and managing personal hurdles, my jewellery brand remained resilient. Throughout these years, I relentlessly pursued profitability, ensuring the brand's survival and prosperity. Additionally, my efforts were recognized through multiple awards, including accolades for my transformative weekly makeover column in the Mid-Day newspaper, and exceptional jewellery designs. Achieving recognition as the best jewellery brand, and garnering international acclaim has been a testament to the dedication and commitment I've poured into my work. These achievements serve as milestones in a journey marked by perseverance and a passion for excellence.
What role does sustainability play in your brands, and how do you ensure ethical practices in your businesses?
Sustainability and ethical practices are integral to our brand ethos, particularly in the realm of clean beauty. We prioritize sustainability across every aspect, from packaging to product creation and usage. Our commitment to clean beauty involves conscientiously sourcing ingredients, ensuring they're non-toxic and vegan-friendly. Our aim is to set high standards for ethical practices by incorporating sustainable choices into our processes, ensuring our products resonate with environmentally conscious consumers and promote a healthier, more ethical approach to skincare.
How do you want to be remembered one day?
I aspire to be remembered as someone who epitomized resilience, creativity, and empathy. A person who dared to venture beyond boundaries, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth.
I hope to leave behind a legacy of inspiring others to pursue their dreams relentlessly, irrespective of obstacles. Being remembered as someone who made a positive impact, not just in business but in uplifting and empowering individuals, especially women, would mean the world to me. Ultimately, I aim to be remembered as a catalyst for change, someone who contributed to making the world a little brighter and more compassionate.