Made in Vancouver: Husband-wife duo opening conscientious jewellery store in Mount Pleasant

Apr 29 2021, 11:45 am


Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we’re turning the spotlight onto local businesses, organizations, and individuals who are helping to create a healthy local economy.


Jewellery is an especially personal fashion choice.

We wear jewellery on our fingers, ears, toes, around our neck and more, all of them expressions of our taste and style. We want to know where most of our products have come from, and made by whom, but it cab be notoriously difficult to know the story behind the stone. People want to understand where their pieces of jewellery comes from.

The husband and wife team of Keith Lau and Josephine Liu saw that need and decided to do something about it.

 

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Through Noren Studio, they design conscious fine jewelry that celebrates the relationship between the craft and the maker, inspiring appreciation and connection to the wearer behind the story of each piece. Their unique designs inspire and celebrate the intersection of tradition and invention.

Vancity has been supporting people in our communities since 1946, like local artists. As part of our Made in Vancouver series spotlighting local businesses and artists, we talked to Keith Lau and Josephine Liu about honouring the craft of jewellery making through reflective story telling.

At Noren, we take time honoured techniques of goldsmithing and apply them to making understated and beautifully constructed contemporary pieces of jewelry,” they told us.

 

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Both Lau and Liu had experience in the jewellery industry, but it was a trip to Europe before returning to Vancouver that jump started their vision of Noren.

There’s something about traveling that heightens your senses to visual and emotional stimuli and all the possibilities in the world,” they told us. “We returned to Vancouver with a new sense of purpose, to inspire curiosity and appreciation through the stories of craft,” they added.

The Noren items are currently available on their website, but the married couple is about to launch their studio in Mount Pleasant this summer. “We are in the final stretch of revamping our studio and are working towards opening the studio to the public in early summer,” said Lau. The local business has unisex rings, bands, and bangles, with several gold, platinum, and diamond style options.

 

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Their unique designs come from inspirations outside of traditional jewellery making, such as Scandinavian furniture.

I encountered the Siesta chair by Ingmar Relling while looking at Scandanavian furniture,” they told Daily Hive.

“On the Siesta, a cord is passed through a plywood frame and threaded through to a fabric backrest. These functional details are left exposed and double as a design element of the chair. The idea for Staple came to life when I realized the parallels, both functionally and aesthetically, of how a staple holds paper together,” they added.

This innovation and creativity that has created such a following for the Noren brand. It’s also their personal, attention to detail that customers appreciate.

“Jo and I also handcraft everything ourselves to order, from the jewelry down to the solid white oak boxes with a soap finish that house each piece, at our studio located in Mount Pleasant,” said Lau.

 

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With Noren opening up their first brick and mortar storefront, Liu and Lau can both reflect on how they managed to get there.

“Success came from being hardworking, honourable, and reliable,” they said. “We’ll continue to carry these core tenets with us as we look forward to growing the brand.”

It’s exciting to hear these Vancouver entrepreneurs speak about looking forward, because they have exciting goals for the future.

First and foremost, we want to build and grow a sustainable business here in Vancouver. With that said, we have every intention of eventually expanding beyond our own backyard,” they told us.

That’s the attitude so many successful Vancouver businesses have seemed to hold. Starting a small, local business in the middle of a global pandemic definitely has its challenges, but this family managed to see the positives in the struggle.

 

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The first few months of the pandemic were very challenging with our custom jewelry studio being very slow,” they said. “It was important for us as parents to remain positive. The extra time we were able to spend with our daughter was amazing and gave a renewed perspective.”

They even managed to find some time to make Noren a truly family-run business.

“After the first month of lockdown, we had the idea that we could sprinkle in some time with her where she would get to see us work and we could make it a part of family time,” they said.

“The world will most certainly be different once the pandemic ends and we want to help shape it into something better for her.”

 

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Noren Studio is already producing some of Vancouver’s coolest jewellery, but it will be so great when the Vancouver community can soon enter their store, and get to know the married couple behind the elegant pieces they wear with pride.

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