In conversation with Carla Kabbabe – the woman behind Claurete Jewellery. By Mathilde Bach Stougaard

As you might know The Fashion Industry Database (FID) supports small businesses and locals where we can – but what does that really mean in this day and age where online shopping is enormous and many creatives don’t even have stores. They do pop-ups or have stockists, right? Is global fashion local if it’s a creative you support somewhere else, or does local really mean down on the corner only? That said, this week we make local fashion global and introduce you to the Canadian based Jewellery designer, Carla Kabbabe, with the business Claurete.

I have asked Carla 10 questions based on my knowledge about the brand and herself as a designer from browsing on her website.

Oh, and don’t forget to use the unique offers, which you will find at the end of the conversation.

  1. What is your vision and/or mission as a jewellery designer?

My goal is to create a brand that really focuses on solving the needs of jewellery lovers. Especially working women who don’t want to feel restricted by the jewellery they wear. You might be wondering what do I mean by feeling restricted? After chatting with 250+ working women, my team and I noticed that there were several issues they all commonly shared when it comes to jewellery. Quality jewellery that feels great and looks great, was lacking in the jewellery market. We also want to encourage women to buy jewellery for themselves, hence the pricing model.

We made sure to use quality materials like solid 18K gold, 925 sterling silver, and gold vermeil as they are the top premium materials in the market. We wanted every design to have a unique sense to it, meaning, bye bye to boring jewellery! The fit of the jewellery is also very important, our jewellery is dainty and feels great as it has a great fit and easy to control in public. Finally, we eliminated the high mark-ups that most jewellery companies charge.

To sum it up, my goal is to create a jewellery brand that really focuses on the consumer and to make fine jewellery accessible. In every step we take, we consider introducing fun and exciting new ideas and shift away from the traditional and saturated market. The new generation of jewellers is here to make an impact, and we welcome you to be part of the change.



Let’s get something straight. When you talk about gold, you say solid 18K gold, 925 sterling silver and gold vermeil. What does that mean exactly, just so everyone is following the quality standards?

To explain more about the quality materials, we have created a page that talks about these metals. As well as a blog post about the comparison between 14K gold vs 18K gold. In brief words, solid 18K represents an ideal balance between durability and quality in jewellery. As for 925 sterling silver, it is the premium standard for silver jewellery. Finally, gold vermeil is 925 sterling silver layered with an 18K gold plating.

  1. How many years have you been active making jewellery and what is the story behind where you are at now?

I have been exposed to the jewellery industry my whole life, it started as a family business and I learnt everything about jewellery from my family of entrepreneurs. When I was at a young age, I developed a strong bond towards sketching and creating (my creative mindset). When I graduated from high school I decided to study business management at Ryerson University (my business mindset). In between my years of studies, I took on multiple jobs in customer service and sales. I gained a lot of experience from these jobs as it strengthened my skills. During my last semester of university, I was in the works of creating Claurete. I came across an incubator called the Fashion Zone at Ryerson university. I decided to apply and submitted my jewellery sketches. I got accepted, and after many long and tiring nights that lasted for several months. I officially launched my company, and ironically enough I graduated from University and received my Bachelors of Commerce at the same time.

  1. Before we talk about the jewellery, what does Claurete mean?


Absolutely, the breakdown of Claurete represents both my grandmothers

names (Laura+Mariette) and the C stands for Carla, my name. I dedicated Claurete to them, since I love them with all my heart, I wanted Claurete to be a reminder

of how much my grandmothers mean to me. And that is why I chose the name Claurete.

  1. So, let’s talk about the jewellery. I find your rings very unique but also, I can’t help being attracted to the Zodiac range. Perhaps tell us more about your jewellery in general and Zodiac of course…

Thank you for the kind words! As I mentioned earlier, I wanted my designs to be unique and convenient at the same time. The Rollit ring as an example, came to mind when I was trying to solve my own problem which I had with jewellery at the time. I love wearing jewellery but I truly dislike the commitment that comes with it. I wanted to create a ring that I can just wear and forget about. After many experiments and countless sketches, I created the Rollit Ring.

As for the Zodiac collection, I am happy you liked them. There is a funny story behind the creation of the Zodiac collection. Prior to creating them, I was brainstorming some ideas at the studio for the entire week… I remember towards the end of the week on a Sunday night, the idea just came to me, and I remember I zoned out as I held my pencil and sketchbook. 16 hours later of ongoing sketching… I had 12 pieces representing each sign from the Zodiac collection. And what I really love about the Zodiac collection, is that each jewellery piece represents the star constellation sign thus making them represent something meaningful.



Zodiac: according to the dictionary, zodiac is defined as: “Astrology a belt of the heavens within a

bout 8° either side of the ecliptic, including all apparent positions of the sun, moon, and most familiar planets. It is divided into twelve equal divisions or signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces). a representation of the signs of the zodiac or of a similar astrological system. The supposed significance of the movements of the sun, moon, and planets within the zodiacal band forms the basis of astrology. However, the modern constellations do not represent equal divisions of the zodiac, and the ecliptic now passes through a thirteenth (Ophiuchus). Also, owing to precession, the signs of the zodiac now roughly correspond to the constellations that bear the names of the preceding signs.”

  1. I also noticed you have a personality quiz on your website – perhaps you want to tell the readers what that is all about?And of course, I have already completed the quiz (Out of Formal Claurete’s, Casual Claurete’s, and Cozy Claurete’s – I got the result ‘formal’ which I’m not surprised about but my favourite ring wasn’t in the range for that fit (the Rollit ring). However, I looked through all the products anyway but a fun little exercise.

Haha I am glad you participated in taking the quiz! The reason behind creating the quiz is fairly simple, we want our consumers to have fun while shopping on our website. Quizzes are fun, and the personality quiz we created is fairy easy to take. We put each item under three categories: Formal Claurete’s, Casual Claurete’s, and Cozy Claurete’s as mentioned. As the name suggests, each item fits a certain occasion/persona. By taking the quiz, the participant can identify with their favourite type of jewellery which is a reflection of their own personality type.

(Mathilde: I’m sure if I do the quiz again another day, I might get a different result – I mean, I’m not a static person…).

  1. You ship worldwide, right? But what else do people need to know if someone for example wants to order from you and having a product shipped to, for example, Australia? Do you do free shipping promotions?

Yes, we do ship worldwide. Claurete is also focused on creating a hassle-free online shopping experience for jewellery.

We offer a 30 days exchange or return on items that are unused and in original condition/packaging. Shipping cost would be subtracted (about $25 USD) from the total value of the returned item.

We have been maintaining a fairly attractive rate for our return rate percentage. The reason behind the number is explained by our ability to work with talented photographers who capture an image that represents the jewellery piece very well. We avoid retouching the image intensively to maintain it’s real authentic sense. We even repost and share images posted by our current consumers which can be found on our Instagram page.

Earrings, bracelets, pendants and necklaces are easy to purchase online since they have a universal fit. Our current bracelets have two sizing options, meaning, size can be adjusted if needed. Some of our necklaces have the same option as well.

As for the rings, it is easy to shop online for rings when you know your ring size. Which is why we prepared a ring size guide which can be downloaded online and printed from home. Pretty easy, right?

It costs $25 USD to ship to Australia. And yes, we sometimes offer free shipping during major occasions. Simply sign up to our newsletter and stay posted on our latest promotions.

(Mathilde: I am about to try the guide, so all you out there, ask me anytime if you are curious about how it turned out – also as I might order the Rollit Ring. I’m still considering…)

  1. When people buy jewellery online, what should they think about? I can imagine it would be hard to order the correct size and in fact that has stopped me from buying a ring a little while back?

You are absolutely right, online shopping has some risks associated with it. But it depends on the angle you are viewing online shopping from. Shopping online can save a lot of time, and gives the shopper the ability to browse comfortably and a minute to think about the item they want to purchase. It also provides the consumers with images of other people wearing the product, which can help the shopper get a sense of how a piece looks like in person.

A client of ours told us several weeks ago during an interview we had with them, that they love shopping online for jewellery at Claurete because it replaces the need to converse for hours with sales people in person, which can be overwhelming.

They were shopping for a ring at the time, and they knew their ring size in advance – size 6.5. With a few clicks at Claurete they chose the ring they liked, adjusted their size under the drop-down menu from the description, added the item to the cart, and voila. Their package was shipped to their home hassle free.

Normally, companies have a high return rate, due to many reasons including misrepresenting the items they are selling with the content they are delivering.

My goal is to provide real and authentic images that represent the brand accordingly. Consumers are always encouraged to leave a real and honest feedback as it helps us understand what our consumers truly want and love about their jewellery.

You make a valid point regarding not buying a ring online in the past, which is why we created a ring size guide and a necklace size guide which can help the shopper find their sizes more accurately online as mentioned earlier.

Finally, our customer service team is here to help. We are always ready to chat and help our consumers find the products they need. We can be reached at

  1. What is your most popular piece at the moment?

I would say the Rollit Ring is one of our most popular pieces. Thanks to it’s glamorous features, convenience, and uniqueness.

(Mathilde: interesting, that was the first ring that I actually thought of buying. For me it seems to be a ring that can go with almost everything and the fact that you can stack it is a feature I like).


  1. Where would people most likely get the chance to meet you outside of Canada?

We are always considering any opportunities that may arise, including pop-ups, fashion shows and other jewellery expos. So far we have hosted events in Toronto and Vancouver in Canada. We have sold online to various locations including the UK, Australia and Dubai. The best way to know about our future events is to follow us on social media and join our newsletter. We normally post our news and events on there.

  1. What are you currently working on and what’s next?

I am currently working on a new collection, which I will be sharing with everyone shortly. All I can say is that: it’s edgy, unique, and makes a statement. So stay tuned.

Thank you so much Carla for chatting with me, it has been a pleasure and for all you readers out there, please see the links to Claurete’s FID profile below or use the links in this article. And you are lucky today because Claurete now offers 10% off any purchase when using the code” FID10″. When you sign up to the e-news, you will also get a free guide about how to clean your gold.

Mathilde Bach Stougaard is the Founder and Creative Director of FID.


Ri Fashion Studio – Finally, I’m having my old cardigan repaired! By Mathilde Bach Stougaard

We live in a buy-and-get–rid-of society so what happens with getting something repaired? Is it really cheaper and easier to buy something new rather than having it fixed by an alterationist?

I decided to find out and I must admit I have had a hole in the sleeve on my cardigan for much longer than I should have. I didn’t stop wearing it though (except sometimes…). It was still valuable for me, however my plan was to buy a new cardigan but now, I don’t have to quite yet (and this one has lasted me for years – only place I could find it browsing in the city at that time was David Jones, yes).

Perhaps I should start asking, why didn’t I get it fixed a long time ago? That’s a good question and while I can find a few excuses, it probably came down to it not being visible enough for me to do something about it quickly – however, I always felt annoyed that I hadn’t found the time for doing it when putting it on.

So, finally I really wanted to take it to an alterationist and I wanted to go to a small place rather than a big chain. I don’t live too far from Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in Brisbane so I decided to check out the options there. There is a place called LookSmart Alterations with around 20 different locations and then there is also place called Ri Fashion Studio, which I have passed several times whereas the other one is a bit hidden, I think. Anyway, I decided to give Ri Fashion a go, and even LookSmart Alterations has a good online appearance while Ri Fashion Studio could probably improve on that front in various ways, I decided to still give them a go.


Photo credit: Ri Fashion Studio

I rocked up wearing my cardigan and was met with a smiling and friendly staff member, who quickly consulted with a colleague about my options. I wanted to add an edgy detail on all the borders but that wasn’t recommended, as that would be tricky to do. A couple of times I didn’t understand what was being said as they did consult in a different language but as long as they explained it to me in English afterwards, I didn’t mind. I was in doubt if they understood my requests fully though at first but at the end I felt confident that they understood me.

So we decided to make the sleeves a bit shorter, move the original sleeve edge up and that way would also cover the hole. And who would had thought, we then suddenly realised the other sleeve was slightly broken on the edge but nothing major though. I decided to get it all fixed up.

Quickly I put it on, decided the length and was told to pick it up around a week later.

When picking it up, I was met by a different staff member who was also friendly and helpful. As I had already paid for the service ($35) when I handed it in, it was just a quick in and out this time.

I got home but then realised that the sleeves weren’t sewed the same way for some reason. One was stretchy and the other one was stiff. That was no good, so I decided to take it in again. It is a woollen cardigan and it’s a bit stretchy so having no stretch in one sleeve didn’t work well and I guess it should have been the same for both sleeves no matter how it was done.

This time I was also meet by the friendly staff and there weren’t any problems. The lady at the counter accepted the return as she understood the issue.

The next pick up went well and I checked the cardigan while in the store (which I should have done the first time) before going home. After a wash I checked again and it is all good now.

I have always washed my woollen cardigan in the washing machine on the wool setting and on cold wash. Ideally, I should hand wash or hang it out but I like it to be washed properly compared with my hand washing – but it does mean that is has shrunken over the years but I don’t mind as long as it still looks okay (not like turning into a baby cardigan if it has been washed on warm). And it seems to keep the size now and has for a long time.

The cardi is repaired and sleeve looking good!


Flay lay by Mathilde Bach Stougaard

Even though the cardigan wasn’t done properly the first time, I would probably go back as the service was good and they quickly made up for their mistake. I will try another alterationist in Brisbane in the future as part of blogging about my experiences but I would still choose Ri Fashion over another big chain to support small businesses.

If you have ever used them, please feel free to write a review on their FID profile. I also want to add that the first time I visited them, another customer started talking to me about how good they were and that she always used them for everything (they do more than just alterations, anything from alterations to made to measure). I think I was just a bit unlucky with my first visit but only a second visit can tell, right? I did mention I wanted to write a blog the first time I visited, which the lady there was happy about…

I was planning to get a new cardigan and had already been browsing online to know about my options but that’s’ for another time now. And I’m just saying, it’s not easy to find from a small or local business! Would love to hear from anyone who knows of other places…

If you are looking for one, you might find my research useful before making a purchase.

I was mainly looking for one with round or v-neck, middle length, buttons and semi or long sleeves – did a quick search and found the following, see links below.

Psst, this is my favourite purely from the look! Next time I buy a cardigan, this is it – just need to try it on first…


Photo credit: Scanlan Theodore

Recommendations from FID community
Scanlan Theodore
By Malene Birger
Country Road

Google “Black Cardigan” / images / womens (also tried ‘shopping rather than images but looked like the same stuff more or less)
WoolOvers #1
WoolOvers #2
WoolOvers #3
Black Pepper

Instagram search
Miranda Murphy


Last month, I was lucky enough to attend The Meraki Fashion Show as Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). Held at The Met in Brisbane, the decadent runway show had the electric feel of an Alexander Wang New York runway – dark lighting, loud music, free-flowing champagne and elite guests, all dressed to the nines.

Designer Q


We arrived early to a gorgeous red carpet setting along Wickham Street. After embracing the opportunity to grab a few photos, we spent the rest of the lead-up to the show in the exclusive VIP area. Here, there were drinks flowing and gorgeous cakes and treats embellished with Luxe Agncy, the promoters of the event (and yes, it’s agncy) and What’s Hot TV production and events. This was a lovely opportunity to meet, socialize and network with influencers and creatives in the local Brisbane fashion community.

Bec McMillan



Before long, it was time for the Meraki show to begin. ‘Meraki’ is a Greek word used to describe doing something ‘with soul, creativity or love’ – when you put ‘something of yourself’ into what you’re doing. And that is exactly what was delivered. The celebrity MC of the night, Bec McMillan, brought an incredible energy to the show; pumping up the crowd throughout the night. The designs were gorgeous, the crowd was enlivened; but most importantly, the message behind the show was beautiful. Meraki set out to improve representation for people with disabilities in an industry where that almost ceases to exist; to ‘bring visibility to disability’. The show featured models with disabilities, including award-winning writer, presenter and consultant Lisa Cox. The evening wrapped up with an auction of pieces and other gifts, with all proceeds going to charity in support of Red Nose Australia in honour of Jayce Michael McMillan, son of Bec McMillan. All in all, it was an incredible presentation, and a night to remember.

Keep scrolling to see some of my favourite looks from the show…




READY for Robyn Ready? The Maya Dress in a rich olive colour, by Mathilde Bach Stougaard

There are many ways you can support local fashion creatives, and here is one – let me take you through the process of having a dress created by Robyn Ready, The Maya Dress..

How did I hear about Robyn?

When I was looking for fashion professionals to connect with as part of developing my business concept, a fabric supplier suggested me to get in touch with Robyn. So I did. Then, I went to the La Trobe Popup market in Paddington, where for the first time I met Robyn in person and got the chance to see her designs.

Why did I choose to get something made by Robyn?

I had a chat with Robyn. She was nice (which I always value but more about customer service another time) and she spent some time talking me through her way of working, the garments and I quickly tried some pieces to get an idea of the clothing, sizes and styles to my body shape and preference. It was clear to me fairly quickly that Robyn was very skilled and being trained as a pattern maker. Having worked for a bridal business, I believed she knew what she was doing professionally and the designs also reflected this. Another factor was that Robyn creates  make to order pieces, which means you can find one of her designs that you like and then she will create it for you in your size (she has standard sizes to choose between and she can guide you if needed, based on your measurements). You can, for example, get a different fabric, have smaller changes made to the design or you can simply choose an existing created garment.

See pictures of The Maya Dress further down the page but here is the design, which can be created in different styles.

The process of creating the dress…

So, I went home and checked out some more of Robyn’s designs online and I gained an idea of which styles I was interested in – I just knew I wanted a dress.

When I visited her home studio in Ashgrove (Brisbane), she took my measurements and I decided which one of the designs that I liked the best. We then talked about fabric, after which she said she would get back to me with pictures of what was currently available or coming in.

So she did but then I realised I was pregnant shortly afterwards and it would be silly to order a dress that I couldn’t nurse in. After some time I got in touch with her again because perhaps we could make some changes to a dress and that way make it suitable for breastfeeding when going out. Not a problem. We could look at some options so I jumped online to look for ideas for openings at the front and then I looked at my current nursing dresses for inspiration. We then decided how to make some changes (and I was aware it had to be possible to use with a current design of hers).

Regarding fabric, this time I decided to go with one that Robyn had used before for this type of design after she contacted me about fabric options. This can sometimes depend on what currently is available from the fabric supplier, which also means they are more unique if you prefer to have something that not many other people have.

I then visited Robyn again to try the dress on before she made the final adjustments with the nursing details (you don’t always have to come back, it was more in this case when we altered it slightly).

Then next time, the pick up! And so I did and it was ready to be worn…

To sum up, the process depends on whether it’s purely made-to-order or whether there is also an element of made-to-measure in the purchase. For me, with a combination of these, it meant following:

1. Visiting her to go through nursing options (on top of email conversations about this)
2. Choosing / approving fabric options – we did it online as I could see pictures from previous similar styles and I knew that type of colour would go with my tone)
3. Visiting again to try on…
4. Picking up my new dress!

A simpler version is simply to order from what’s shown online and then picking it up or having it shipped (in fact, Robyn also sells quite a bit to the US).

If you want to see fabrics available, you would just have to add one more visit to the above mentioned steps unless you decide based on the ideas that Robyn is sending images of to you online – it depends on whether you want to see and feel the fabric or not.


If you prefer to have a garment shipped, the prices are as follows:

$5.00 – Australia wide
$15.00 – the US and the UK.

Shipping can be arranged to other parts of the world (please contact Robyn for a quote).

Returns are accepted (shipping costs paid by customer).

Depending on the type of order, then turnaround time varies (if it’s a made-to-order, turnaround time is on average two weeks).

Where is the fashion brand at?

Robyn created the brand ‘Robyn Ready’ around 2008 and has since developed it to be a made-to-order business (and there can be made-to-measure in there too on a simple level). As a trained pattern maker, she’s very skilled and describes her business concept as “wearable – affordable – clean lines and beautiful fabrics”, which makes it accessible for many. She is in the process of building her online presence but currently the best place to get in touch with her is through Instagram and Etsy, also to see designs and what’s currently happening.

What’s unique about Robyn Ready?

The designs and styles are created in such a way that you can easily fit different sizes for the same design, because it sits on the body easily while still looking good. Great for online shoppers and in fact Robyn’s return rate is very low.

Four things to remember as a customer…

1. You can’t just pick whatever fabric type you like and bring it for a design, it has to go with the type of design, which is also partly why Robyn suggests fabrics. Mine is 100 per cent polyester (wash care label inside).

2. If your design isn’t standard from the online options, remember to ask, discuss and agree on a price / price level before starting the process. The full price of the dress with maternity alteration is $165 but as a normal dress it’s $145 (this may vary depending on price of the fabric chosen).

3. Check out or ask about payment methods available to avoid doubts about this. I received an invoice and paid online from home but in this case payment can be cash, invoiced for direct deposit or PayPal.

4. Remember to ask about design details, for example if you can choose how to close the design at the back of the neck like in this case for the garment. I just went with the choice of buttons as this would be most suitable for a dress to nurse in (different closures can be used, the original dress had a tie back neck). As a customer, you could also talk with Robyn about what buttons you like or how to arrange that.

Here it is – my new dress!

Here you see the end result in full from Robyn’s Instagram account. This dress can also be made as a top as imaged in the top of this post, or a maxi dress, with short or long sleeves and with or without a collar (see more images on Robyn’s Instagram account).


I’m very happy with my new dress and I plan to keep it for a long time, not just for times it can be used for nursing. And who knows, perhaps I would like it to be tweaked somehow after I finish breastfeeding but it can easily be used as it is, which I definitely plan to. Like other garments, sometimes you have to get used to wearing something new. In fact, every time I have worn it, I like it more and more.

Also, I tend to ask people about the dress when I’m out and one said it looked like a type of dress from Country Road or Witchery. Another person commented on it without me asking anything and when I have looked for new accessories, assistants would be like “that’s a perfect colour for your dress” if I was wearing it at the time I was browsing around.

If this has spiked your interest or whether you are curious to know more, check out Robyn Ready in the FID Directory, where you can find contact details, know where to meet her and links to online sites etc. (keep in mind, the directory profiles are still being developed).

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and please leave comments and feedback – I will reply to them all.

As this is the first blog post about how to go about ordering a creation, please feel free to let us know if you want someone to be featured, if you know someone who does or tell your story about an experience with a fashion creative.

Mathilde Bach Stougaard is the Founder and Creative Director of FID.


BOWERBIRD COLLECTIONS: Spring 2018 Dusk Collection Launch – by Samantha Haran


At the turn of a windy street-style path on Enoggera Terrace, Paddington, is a beautiful little store. With furnished wooden doors. And an electric blue header-board. A header-board that reads Bowerbird Collections.

It was a Saturday afternoon when I first visited wondered up this path, to the tune of my Google Maps voice. Where was I going? The launch of Ellie and Peta Sweatman’s anticipated Dusk Collection . I had not much prior knowledge of the brand, and no idea what to expect.

As I reached the entrance, I was greeted by a sea of bubbly faces and invigorated conversation. Champagne, cheese and chat were being passed around a crowd of vibrantly-dressed attendees – I gave my name and entered the scene.

And what a scene it was!


The store was something like a vibrant pocket of quirky goodness in otherwise ordinary street. The interior was decked out in bold impressionistic oil paintings, eccentric home decor and beautiful florals. Vivid and wonderful, immediately intriguing. Complete with vintage wooden floors, and distractingly delicious food platters.

It was not long before the show began. Everyone gathered around the make-shift runway, excited to see the designs. And they were not at all disappointed! The collection featured loose-fitting pieces that seamlessly cascade off the body. These were printed with bright, vibrant patterns – many of which were prints of Ellie Sweatman’s very own paintings that decorated the venue. Upbeat music filled the room and the models gracefully circled the room, showing off the collection. In addition to the printed pieces, there was a range of simple, block-coloured items as well – perfect for mixing and matching.

3 and 7



Ellie and Peta closed the show with a beautiful vote of thanks, surprising each attendee with gift to take home, as well as a chance to purchase the collection items immediately.




It was a beautiful and intimate evening and I would like to thank Ellie and Peta so much for allowing me to come along and share in the experience.

Samantha Haran is the founder of her namesake freelance fashion creative consultancy agency, and current Ambassador for Fashion Industry Database (FID). She attends events and networks with local companies on behalf of FID, and assists the database behind-the-scenes with social media and blogging.