Chain Reaction with Element 7
What started out as a micro-trend that was sprung to fame earlier this year by Hollywood sensation Rihanna, we think that the body chain craze may be here to stay for more than just a cameo appearance in our wardrobes. It is definitely a refreshing change in options for what to wear with your LBD or holiday soiree attending get-ups this season. We were able to catch up with Jennifer Yemu Li, designer and founder of Element 7, a Vancouver-based company that specializes in body chain jewelry. A story of a sartorially distressed young woman and how she found her calling right in her own closet.
SM: Tell us about the inception of Element 7.
E7: It all started in my bedroom closet. I had a girl’s night out to go to but when I looked in my wardrobe it was always the same “I have nothing to wear”. So that day I took some of my broken necklaces lying around and started to tinker around with the pieces. I ended up creating our first leg chain, “Maddison”. When I wore it out, girls who I knew and didn’t know were coming up to me and asking questions like “Where did you get it? Can you make me one?”. That’s when I knew was onto something, and thus the very humble beginnings of Element 7.
SM: What inspires you most when creating your designs?
E7: Many social and cultural influences shape my designs. Element 7 is all about not following traditional jewelry conventions so our designs reflect just that. We want to also celebrate the human figure by adorning it with our designs, and not limiting jewelry to just the neck and wrists.
SM: Tell us about your team.
E7: I’ve been extremely blessed to surround myself with positive and passionate people all of my life. That applies more than ever to my team. Each and every single one of us has an essential role to play within Element 7 and we all complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But we’re not always serious! The best part of our team is that we all get along, respect others and share a common goal with Element 7.
SM: Where is your product manufactured?
E7: We’re passionate about our products and try to be as local as possible with sourcing materials to support other local companies. Our jewelry is lovingly hand finished here in Vancouver, BC and we up-cycle any vintage pendants, chains and metal that we can.
SM: Do you offer made to order or custom designs?
E7: Yes, that is where the most fun is! Often they are made to order or custom due to the rarity or shortage of the material or pendants. We’ve done custom work for recording artists like the lead singer of the Bestial Mouths (California, USA), The Neverdies (Sweden), Dandi Wind, Opaine ( Vancouver, BC), and we have a custom line designed for our muse, Dannish Canadian recording artist Sally Dige called “Doppleganger”, and we’re not stopping there!
SM: You’ve been working with some big names in the music industry, how have you been finding this experience?
E7: I’m always drawn to people who are passionate and driven, so I believe that is my key to working with some amazing recording artists and performers. It’s been an incredible ride so far and we can only foresee more projects and collaborations in the future.
SM: Who is the Element 7 woman?
E7: She is bold, daring, and confident. She knows what she likes and she won’t settle for any less, her taste in fashion and jewelry ranges from avante-garde to being an eclectic vintage lover.She appreciates the arts and music, and can hold a conversation on almost any subject. She can be as prim and proper as she can be fun and quirky, and she’s aware of her surroundings but never easily one to conform.
SM: Where can Element 7 be purchased?
SM: What can we expect from Element 7′s next collection?
E7: Luscious, luscious chains!
SM: One piece of advice for young entrepreneurs.
E7: Be passionate but always regard constructive criticism consciously. Often our passion will blind decisions or realities, if you find something that works, go with it. If it doesn’t, move on and never look back. I believe entrepreneurs never fail until they give up, but they must always keep a clear mind. Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John are two entrepreneurs who I admire immensely and I recognize that I still have a long way to go. But we’ll get there, trust me.eco fashion designers, fashion, jewellery, local designers, shopping local, sustainable fashion, vancouver designers