For Women’s day, we thought who better for you to get more acquainted with than our very own Karin Rae Matthee, owner and designer of Dear Rae Jewellery and the head of our team. She opens up about what being a woman means to her, both personally and professionally, and sheds light on her own recent journey of self-discovery.
When did your love for jewellery begin and why do you love it?
I first started creating objects in silver and brass when I was ten years old. My dad used to make jewellery as a hobby and he had a little workshop at home. I loved going into the workshop and experimenting with metal. It was a great space for me to get lost in and simply play.
I really enjoyed the feeling of making an object in precious metal that would last forever. I often gifted people with the objects that I made and the joy that it brought them added to the excitement and anticipation of creating.
Can you explain to us a little bit about your creative process? How does the thought behind a new collection begin and how does it grow?
It is very important to me that all my collections start with a story. The story always starts with something that catches my attention. it could be an object that triggers a certain feeling, a person that I meet, or a personal process that I am going through. I then develop a range of jewellery that represents that story. Creating objects in something as durable as metal somehow helps capture the essence of the story for me. My hope is that people who wear the jewellery either resonate with the story or are able to attach their own memories or feelings towards the jewellery. I think jewellery should remind us of treasured memories, impressions and narratives - So that we carry them with us when we wear them.
There is an art in being soft and strong as a woman. How do you find a balance between the two?
Balance is something that I have been exploring and working on in my personal life. Finding our own equilibrium in everything we are and do is one of the most challenging yet important things in life. I think finding a balance in masculinity and femininity is important for both men and women, because growing up we are often taught that we are one or the other. To me, the healthiest humans have mastered the art of showing up with a fluidity of both these qualities. As a businesswoman, I find that I need to show up as both soft and strong every day. Working with people in business highlights this - You need to show empathy and kindness to all, whilst fiercely protecting your own boundaries.
The majority of Dear Rae staff are women (with the exception of a few great gentlemen). Did this happened naturally? What difference do you feel it makes in the Dear Rae environment?
I definitely didn't plan it - It happened spontaneously. It has been such a gift for me to watch so many of the women at Dear Rae develop and blossom into their true essence. I am very excited about the culture that has developed here. There is a sense of endless opportunity for everyone and if you show up with courage and passion, there is space to develop a unique career path. We all have an attitude of "the sky is the limit!" I think it is very healthy.
Let’s talk about self-love. What life experiences have forced you to come face-to-face with who you are as a woman and who you want to be?
I have been on an intense journey of self-discovery over the past two years. I have faced tough life decisions and situations that have taught me that loving ourselves is vital. I have learnt that suffering is often the only thing that pushes us to new perspectives of ourselves and others. It is never an easy journey but we must be grateful for the gift of wisdom that comes from all of life's experiences. There is always a lesson to be learnt.
What tools or resources have been most helpful for you in the development of yourself and of Dear Rae as a company?
I have found the tool of mentorship and collaboration to be the most valuable. Including others into our journeys and celebrating them for their strengths is always so enriching. I am really grateful for the talented people that I work with and learn from every day.
In a modern age where everyone is on social media, your personal account is pretty quiet. Would you say you are more of an observer or can you elaborate as to why you don’t spend a ton of time on social media.
Yes, I prefer to reserve my energy and time for real connections. I can acknowledge the visually inspiring and powerful tool that social media is, especially from a business marketing perspective. I have however felt that for me personally, it is healthier not to engage with social media platforms too much. It often triggers a sense of comparison and falseness that I find steals from my own creativity and growth.
Which strong females have a major influence in your life and work?
Wow, that is a tough question. I am surrounded by so many incredible women who show up for who they are.
I was very lucky that in my childhood I developed close relationships with my mother, sister and both grannies. They have and all continue to inspire me with their effortless elegance and unique creativity. The women who I work with at Dear Rae have all challenged and inspired me and some of them have become my closest friends. Observing someone's journey nearly every day really does teach you so much about the strength that we all carry. I am blown away by their courage.
This year I have also walked a road with a business mentor. She is a very dynamic and powerful woman who has taught me to play in business. I have a handful of close women friends who have surrounded me with love and strength when I struggled to show up wholeheartedly. All these women, their stories and unique spirits inspire me in all I do.
Images: Maike McNeil