“There is nothing I can do but to make things with my hands,” she says. “But it is hard to make money from art,” a lesson she learned at the age of 13, going from gallery to gallery to help sell her father’s artwork shortly after she and her family moved to Canada from Tehran.
“I wasn’t doing it for fun, it was for survival,” but there were many lessons learned, says the budding jewelery designer who studied sculpture and painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design.
“Selling his work has made me more assertive today. I am a creative person, but I am constantly thinking about the business side too.” It doesn’t hurt that her husband — my former McGill classmate, Ali Karbassi — has two business degrees and has been helping to get her business off the ground.
But even with all the business chops in the world, no upstart fashion business is going to take off without a great product, and it is here that Maryam really excels.
Maryam’s jewelery caught my eye for its creative use of mixed materials that make a statement, without looking flashy. Keyhani says it works best on a minimalist canvas from the likes of Celine and Givenchy.
Keyhani first imagined her jewelery in her paintings while living in Paris, and then sought out to make her painterly dreams a reality, sourcing feathers and materials from flea markets to make the pieces for herself. Soon, people started asking to place personal orders and Keyhani was making more money from her jewelery than she was from her full-time job. A business was born.
This season, her collection was picked up by the prestigious Valery Demure showroom whose website says: “You can spot a Maryam Keyhani from a mile off, the way you recognise a De Kooning or a Dali from across a long, white room.”
We agree. This month, we are delighted to feature Maryam’s stunning Quilya necklace in our BoF Spotlight. I am sure you’ll agree the results are beautiful.
The Spotlight is BoF’s showcase for emerging talent employing creativity and business acumen to make their mark in the fashion business.