And the journey begins …
It only took one high school project for Jude Benhalim to discover her passion for jewelry. Jude designed her very first jewelry piece at the age of 17. Jude's mother Rana Al-Azm, now CEO of the brand, recognized Jude's talent and love for design and partnered up with her to establish their own brand: J's Designs, Since the very start, Jude's core philosophy was to empower women and portray their strength. 'SHE' was her debut collection, which embodied women's strength and resilience.
At the age of 19, Jude takes part in an eye-opening experience, participating in her first international tradeshow in Paris: Bijhorca, Eclat De Mode; an all jewelry trade fair. Jude was exposed to various international buyers and jewelry experts. She then dedicated her initial years to absorbing and collecting all sorts of information and experience. She dived head first into every opportunity she could find, by getting hands on experience and learning from other established designers.
After gaining some experience and being exposed to the international jewelry world, Jude finds the courage to develop and originate her very own unique approach to fashion jewelry design. Her abstract thinking drove her to experiment with different materials and techniques. She was one of the first in the Middle East to introduce colorful custom dyed and crafted resin stones, an uncommon material in the jewelry industry. Her unconventional use of materials and designs paved the way for huge success in the upcoming years and shaped the identity of the brand.
The year of digital expansion. Jude Benhalim rode the wave of E-commerce and digitalization. The brand launches their very first website, opening the gate to international markets. This milestone exposed the label to international jewelry lovers that became committed clients and provided a platform for Jude to tell her story.
The move from a home-based family business to a professional establishment. With such heavy workload and escalating success, the co-founders decide to move into an office and build a professional team. The mother-daughter duo realized that they couldn't keep up with all the growth without a dedicated team by their side that have later become family. In that same year, Jude and Rana decide to rebrand; it was high time the brand opts for a more recognizable namesake: JUDE BENHALIM.
Vogue Italia features the Urban Rebel collection; a collection inspired by the concrete jungle, the chaotic life of the bustling city. After receiving global recognition and building a bigger fan-base, the founders decide to establish their in-house production facility to keep up with the growth and evolution. It was time the brand had its own production space to give Jude the freedom to experiment and have her creative juices flowing to bring her designs freely to life.
After conquering the digital world, retail expansion was the best way to bring the brand a step closer to its customers. 2018 was the year of retail establishment: an incredible milestone. The founders opened their first seasonal store by the sea, in North Coast, Egypt. A few months after, the brand announces the opening of its first flagship store in Zamalek, Cairo; right in the heart of the capital. Later this year, the duo open an exclusive showroom in New Cairo, conquering Egypt from East to West.
Jude Benhalim is selected by Forbes Magazine among the top 60 women behind Middle Eastern brands: a true honor. The brand continues to receive great admiration and recognition on both a regional and a global level; as well as being spotted on the likes of Celebrity A-listers; Adriana Lima and Madison Beer.
The duo's commitment to success hasn't stopped. Jude, being featured on Forbes for the second time, this time in the top 10 list of Female Entrepreneurs with Brands. The year began with spotting the iconic supermodel Kendall Jenner in Jude Benhalim earrings. This paved the way for many more celebrity features: Chrissy Teigen, Candice Swanepoel, Elsa Hosk, Joey King and Jessie J. The duo manage to thrive and overcome challenging times in the midst of all the chaos in the world, launching an Instagram virtual try-on filter for clients to experience the jewelry during the lock-down in addition to releasing its first fully sustainable collection. The year ends on a positive note when Jude is nominated as a finalist for the Vogue Arabia Fashion Prize.
This year, the duo celebrate the brand’s 10th year anniversary and they have big plans to make it a remarkable one. I am so excited to have reached 10 years of Jude Benhalim. Seeing the growth of the brand over the years makes me so proud. Happy moments, stressful days and a lot of incredible milestones & memories. - Rana Al-Azm It has been an incredible journey. Having grown from a 17-year old dreamer to who I am now, every challenge conquered, milestone achieved and every lesson learned shaped my very own growth and the person I am today, and for that I am forever grateful. I can’t wait for what is to come!- Jude Benhalim