Tasbih Qazi and Hafsa Zuberi have been designing exquisite jewellery since 2016. Their jewellery line – Esfir - offers statement gold-plated and silver pieces of jewellery - that embodies the modern woman. Both classic and edgy, Esfir has eclectic collection of hand-crafted pieces that are perfect for a winter/summer wedding or an evening soiree. In an exclusive interview with You! Tasbih and Hafsa talk about their first love i.e. jewellery…
You! When did you discover your love of jewellery?
Tasbih: Before I can even remember. According to my mom, I had been trying on her pearl necklaces at the age of 3!
You! When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as jewellery designers?
Hafsa: When we graduated from University of Toronto and moved back to Pakistan, we realised there was a lack of options if you didn’t want to wear something traditional, so we decided to make the kind of pieces we thought were missing in the market - a blend of modern and traditional.
You! What is the best thing about your job?
Tasbih: We love watching our vision come to life! Not many get to experience that joy and for that we are very grateful.
You! How would you describe your collections?
Hafsa: All of our collections have real soul, because they're a collection of things that truly inspire us.
You! Where do you find your design inspiration?
Hafsa & Tasbih: In architecture, art, history and even nature, Inspiration can be in the form of anything if you look hard enough.
You! What are your favorite materials to use?
Hafsa & Tasbih: We love working with colorful, interesting gemstones that look different from what you'd usually find in Pakistan, which is why many of our stones are imported as they aren’t available here.
You! What has been the single most important jewelry-making skill you’ve learned?
Tasbih: It would be the art of perfecting details. Each piece is a master piece and requires us to be ultra-attentive to each aspect of the jewellery making process from sketching, casting and picking the gemstones themselves.
You! What is your design philosophy?
Hafsa: Elegance with a twist!
You! What distinguishes Esfir from others? Do you make exclusive pieces or do you repeat your designs?
Tasbih: All our individual pieces tell separate stories whether it’s a caged bird longing for freedom or a regal necklace reflective of historical figures like Marie Antoinette. Each piece is connected to a central theme rather than just being a piece of jewellery.
You! How would you describe your own personal style?
Hafsa: Clean-cut, classic and chic.
You! Who have been your biggest mentors in this industry, jewellery designers you are inspired by?
Tasbih: Internationally it would have to be the eclectic style of David Webb and from the subcontinent, Amrapali, for their versatile range of eastern pieces.
You! What role do you think social media plays in fashion today?
Hafsa: Social media is a double-edged sword, in my opinion, on one hand its easier than ever to connect with the right audience, but at the same time there's so much noise, that you really need to be able to distinguish yourself to build a brand.
You! What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
Tasbih: The fear that artisans would be unable to understand our bold vision when it came to creating quirky designs! Luckily, our local talent is immense and we were able to create exactly what we wanted.
You! How do you want women to feel when wearing your jewellery?
Hafsa: As the name Esfir suggests, ‘like stars’.
You! What does a typical day look like for you as jewellery designers?
Tasbih: No two days are similar - that's the beauty of this job! Some days are spent sketching new designs and others are spent figuring out what colour palette would be suitable for the season! The sheer thought behind each piece makes us think and create around the clock.
You! What challenges do you face in your work?
Hafsa: Being young female entrepreneurs has its own set of challenges, and it was initially hard to be taken seriously in a field dominated by male jewellers. However, we slowly learnt the ropes and now are miles from where we started!
You! How do you deal with copycats?
Tasbih: Unfortunately, we have struggled with this aspect in Pakistan where copyright laws are not strictly enforced. We have tried to tackle some matters by taking legal action, and when that doesn’t work, accepting that sometimes ‘imitation is a form of flattery’.
You! What are some of the jewellery trends you are looking at in 2021?
Hafsa: Oversized pearls, quirky hair accessories, and engraved jewellery will all be coming back in greater force in 2021.
You! What advice would you give to young girls who look up to you and want to enter a career in design?
Tasbih: To just go for it and follow your dream. Use local resources as there are plenty and always be original.
You! Where would you like to take the collection in terms of expanding and different lines?
Hafsa: We are currently working on expanding our range into more bridal, elaborate pieces as we get a lot of requests from brides. In the future, we will definitely be concentrating on more than just jewellery as our aim is to create statement accessories of all kinds - whether that is bags, scarves or even belts!