Great minds have vouched for the power of simplicity calling it, among other things, the “ultimate sophistication.” To master the art of simplicity is to be able to create more meaning with less, to go back to the essence of things, to make something look so effortless it becomes inimitable. It’s not an easy feat, but Jessie Bonne, founder and creative director of KULT, is doing it.
A native of Martinique, Jessie spent 7 years in Paris before settling in Mexico City, where KULT came to be. The jewelry brand was born out of the belief that beauty lies in simplicity, and that a timeless piece of jewelry is one that does not define but is defined by those who wear it.
KULT’s minimalist, agender pieces have been featured in publications across the world, including ELLE, L’Officiel, GQ, Robb Report, and the Miami Monocle Guide. But her biggest achievement is what American-German painter, Hans Hoffman, would call “eliminating the unnecessary so that the necessary might speak.” Through the simple elegance of her handcrafted pieces, Jessie allows the necessary, our individual essence, to speak.
How does the idea for KULT come to life?
While living in Mexico, I would not find the kind of timeless, minimalist jewelry that I liked, and simply began to craft some for myself. A few months later, KULT was organically born. I was working as a brand consultant, and even though I would only make pieces for myself and some friends, not thinking at that time of taking my creations to the market, I was craving creating a brand with total freedom for once (without a client on the other side).
I did not overthink it. I just designed a brand that would reflect my desires and ideas regarding jewelry as accomplices of our everyday lives. Precious tattoos that blend with you.
What is the message you want to transmit with KULT?
I want to invite people to appreciate the simple things, value everyday beauty and pay attention to details. I seek to create jewelry that complements you and reminds you to cherish your essence, to stay true to yourself.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty does not have a face or criteria. It does not have to be stunning. I believe there is beauty in everything. True beauty appears when someone or something makes you feel good.
A lot of your pieces are unisex. There aren’t many jewelry brands that focus on the male
market. Why did you decide to do it and why do you think it’s important?
I realized most of the male jewelry would be stereotyped and that there were not so many elegant yet simple options for men. Add to that the fact that I think beauty and the capacity to appreciate it is genderless, and it was clear for me that my brand should be for everybody. It is important to get to the essence of things and get rid of social labels.
From where do you draw the inspiration for your pieces?
I find my inspiration in everyday life and especially in architecture. Sometimes it is an object that captivates me, sometimes it is a building. Architecture and design, with the role they play in our life, the mastering of geometric forms, is fascinating. I’ve always looked up to Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe or Eileen Gray.
You’ve been a Brand Consultant for many years. How has your experience in this field influenced your vision of KULT?
Being a brand consultant helped me create a strong DNA for KULT and give me the impulse to protect it, to take care of all the touchpoints. For me the jewel itself is as important as the packaging and display. KULT is an experience that goes beyond the piece itself, and you must feel the spirit and values of the brand in every interaction.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced in creating your own line of jewelry?
The whole adventure was a challenge because it was not my field. Presenting your creations to the world is definitely a big one. There is the excitement of sharing your vision but also the fear. The desire to attract and the necessity to accept that not everybody will connect to your vision and aesthetics.
What do you think are the greatest achievements of the brand?
I am proud of the way KULT resonates with its people. The most beautiful part of it all is when someone identifies with the spirit of the brand and its timeless, simple design and tells me “it is exactly what I like.” I also love the way it connects people and materializes precious bonds. You can find families, best friends, or lovers who wear the same bracelet.
Tell us about your new collection, Sur Le Fil. What inspired you?
I wanted to go one step ahead and make more solid pieces, using more metal. At the very moment of opening a new chapter for KULT, I found it important to pay a tribute to its essence of elegant simplicity and to the silk thread as part of the brand DNA. Sur le Fil is the simulation of a diamond mounted on a silk. A mix of delicacy and strength, elegance and simplicity.
What’s in store for KULT in the future?
We want to connect with more people, sharing our love for simple elegance. There are also some limited editions coming. I want to offer very special amulets to accompany people and mark the important moments in their lives.
What’s advice would you give to someone who wants to launch their own brand?
Don't overthink, try. There are many things you will learn on the way, and whatever the outcome, in the end you will grow as a person and as a professional.
KULT collections are available for purchase online at www.kultjewelry.com.
You can also find KULT at the concept store Cañamiel in Mexico City, Mrs. Mandolin and Egan shop in Miami, and Naia Tulum in Tulum.
Follow @kult.jewelry on Instagram for more.
Photo Credit 1: Kevin Corona, @kvvcorona