From Lilla Karancsi, Founder and Brand Ambassador
One day four years ago, I was on a journey from my Hungarian home to a client company meeting in Switzerland. Reflecting on the courage-creativity link while driving, my thoughts were interrupted as I slowed my car to get a better look at a small group of buildings. They looked like they had been constructed about three hundred years ago. When I stepped into one of them, I was surprised to find a group of artisans working away on porcelain moldings and precious metals. The artist’s soul in me was instantly fascinated, and the more I learned, the more I wanted to know. Porcelain making had long been a tradition native to Hungary, but it never occurred to me how it was done. When I found out that this beautiful craft was quickly becoming a dying art, I wanted to know why and what was needed to save it. I was horrified.
Back on my way to my business meeting, I set my mind to figuring out how I could help save Porcelain-making, because I wanted to buy some of the unique pieces I saw being made in that factory. Soon I was designing pieces that I thought would look stunning as jewelry, and began networking with craftsmen, artisans, other designers, and metalworkers to bring my vision to reality.
I wanted to do something that reflects my values and the best of Hungary. Creating porcelain jewels didn’t just make sense due to the long history porcelain-making in Hungary, but because the art is a world-famous symbol of class. The medium suited my creative desire to explore forms of beauty and develop my own unique brand of it. Whereas I used to worry about letting my artistic side show, I discovered a deep well of nurturing support as mentors, artists, friends, practically my entire world was cheering from the sidelines for me to move centerstage with my vision and follow fearlessly where it led me. My world had become larger and I in turn became a student once again, but this time a student of creativity itself that had been set free from limitations and preconceived notions.
Nurturing that freedom led me to Germany, specifically Berlin, because I wanted to be inspired at the heart of a creative hub thriving with fashionistas, artists, painters, designers, and art and design management professionals. From Day One, this was a collaboration of many creative people who became dear to me, friends such as Cornelia, Armin, Eszter, and Florian, among others, who took turns mentoring, protecting, and encouraging me so that I could grow as an artist in my own right. My brand was selected as a case study in the Berliner Design and Medienschule Halina’s. It was the first truly creative thing I had done in years, and it was the first time I felt equally happy.
Then life, love and business brought me to Paris where my creative wings matured. I started to enjoy taking in the flamboyance of Ampir (Empire) style and more actively participating in the luxury, haute couture, and high jewellery world. Captivated and influenced by Parisienne haute joaillerie, my distinctive style emerged. My exposure to the environment crystallized my vision for a signature debut collection. Working with collaborators locally and remotely, our creations became more defined and sophisticated. I led the whole operation like an opera conductor guiding a symphony, but in this case, each transformative movement of porcelain from design to exquisite jewel required coordination of designers, artists, porcelain makers, painters, goldsmiths, brand creators, and packaging experts. It was as though we, as co-artists, were working on the perfect musical composition, which is why I derive harmony and inspiration from high culture art forms like opera, contemporary ballet, or even epic house music.
And so, the PorzeLLLan brand, with its historical roots in Hungary, an idea born in Berlin, and a concept matured in Paris, had begun its journey toward its debut. It still had hurdles to overcome, marketing chiefly among them. I already had realized that the key to saving the amazing porcelain-making tradition was to update it for the 21st Century. However, becoming established meant learning the complex world of jewellery business rather just the artistry behind jewellery creation. It led to a second period of doubt as I grappled with how to strengthen the business.
I wanted to reintroduce fine porcelain making to people and markets that had not seen anything this unique on offer. It seemed like a good idea, a sound and promising idea, but because of the years I spent preparing for my oh-so-practical legal/corporate profession, I ended up in an existential tug-a-war that pitted my practical job against the creative entrepreneurial world that I wanted to build. It was never the “right time” to launch, especially with many people doubting the concept and even doubting me as a woman heading her own company. The lawyer in me made me cautious and the girl who was brought up to believe that only men can run companies was fearfully wondering, “Are they right?” PorzeLLLan, my great hopes and aspirations, and the mission which fellow artisans by now were cheering for me to take on, all hung in the balance and stood frozen by my personal crisis of confidence.
Then came mid-Summer 2016.
Don’t miss the dramatic final chapter in ‘My Story – Part III: Acceptance’