Q&A with the founder of By Invite Only
To Trixie Khong, jewellery is more than just pretty, shiny trinkets. The young founder of minimalist jewellery label By Invite Only believes it can empower not just the wearer but also whole communities, through fair wages and working conditions. And that mantra seemed to have resonated with the public. What was once a side gig to earn some pocket money for Trixie during her university days has morphed into a string of jewellery stores in Singapore.
These days, the minimalist jewellery label – whose classic, dainty pieces are a dream come true for those with sensitive skin – has a new goal: being more climate-friendly. And they’re not just paying lip service to it either.
Trixie and her team of about 40 or so employees have completely eliminated plastics from their packaging, switching instead to paper with FSC certification that uses pulp from sustainable forests. They’ve also been more conscious of the materials they use; think 100% recycled brass, 925 sterling silver, and other metals that don’t cost the earth more through mining. Their new 14K solid-gold capsule collection ‘gldsmth’, for instance, is made with pure recycled gold and conflict-free diamonds.
“In this day and age, I personally feel it is irresponsible of a brand to not be thinking about their environmental footprint as they grow and scale,” says Trixie. “We’re taking what is already out there and giving it a second life.”
Here, she gives us a glimpse into her life and loves as the founder of By Invite Only.
When did you discover your love for jewellery?
When I came across a jewellery store in Singapore, along Arab Street! The helpful owner of the store taught me some basics of wire wrapping and how to assemble the pieces. So I started a jewellery crafting hobby from there. I kept going back to purchase more baubles and ended up with a lot more pieces that I could possibly wear; that when I decided to list them online for sale.
What was the inspiration behind By Invite Only?
The brand started out as a hobby and the pieces that I often created were a reflection of my own style. Nonetheless, I do have sensitive eczema-prone skin and hence I was on a path to create pieces that I could wear for myself. A few years down the road, our customers gave us the feedback that they loved our items because they didn’t irritate their sensitive skin. Now, all the pieces are made without the “toxic three”: nickel, lead and cadmium.
What does a regular day at By Invite Only look like for you?
Now, half of my day is spent catching up with my team. The other half is mostly working on new designs and the launch calendar for the next six months. A lot of my work is future work where I dream up the next collection or plan for the brand while my team handles and manages the day-to-day.
What’s the favourite piece you’ve created for By Invite Only and why is it so special?
This is definitely a difficult one. As much as I love all our minimalist jewellery pieces, I have to say our Diamond Madeline Moonstone Necklace is something that I love having as part of my personal collection. Moonstone is one of my favourite gemstones; embellished on the sides with our conflict-free diamonds and 14k solid gold chains, this piece sparkles in all the right places. It’s something that I will wear forever.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere but especially from our customers. We listen closely to what they suggest to incorporate as part of our designs. Before COVID, a lot of my inspiration came from travelling; now I rely on Pinterest a lot to get my travel-inspired textures, colours and shapes. For example, our recent travel-inspired collection is hugely inspired by Morocco as it’s a destination that I’m constantly enamoured by; I would love to visit once restrictions allow.
What’s the best advice about jewellery you’ve ever received?
Jewellery is to an outfit like punctuation is to a sentence. Your outfit is not complete without it.
What’s the one piece of jewellery you cannot live without?
Definitely my wedding band because it signifies the love of my partner but also the celebration of our union. This is why we’re also looking into engagement bands and wedding rings under our ‘gldsmth’ range. Offering something that means so much more is no easy feat as it has to take the test of time, not only in the material but also in its design.
Where else do you like to shop for the finishing touches of an outfit?
I think fragrance adds a different dimension to your outfit. I would recommend Escentials as it has all the brands I like, including Diptyque and Byredo. Le Labo is another perfumery that I love as it has fragrances that are different from the mainstream.