Jewellery, light & intuition

CHO KONZEPT – jewellery, light and intuition

We always admire people who are at peace with themselves and seem to know that life will always turn out well as long as they follow their calling. More than seven years ago Tanja Heiss followed that call and moved to Paris to found her own jewellery label CHO KONZEPT.

We talked to the designer and multi-talented entrepreneur about her path, the magic of light and the best places near the Seine.

»If you listen to your inner voice, you can feel when it’s right.«
What did you do in your life before Cho?

Quite a few things. After graduating from high school with a focus on education and psychology, I studied dual international business and gained experience in companies of different sizes and industries, from medium-sized companies in the lift industry, to the Renault-Nissan automotive group, to the photography tech start-up Meero, near Stuttgart, in Barcelona, Lyon and Paris.

My curiosity, determination and hands-on attitude not only gave me insight into international business and marketing, production management and the circular economy, but also laid the foundation to get my own small label Cho off the ground. Photography, drawing and creating have always played a big role in my life and could find application in Cho.

What particularly influenced you visually while you were growing up?

The light! I grew up in the countryside. Nothing and no one draw more beautiful lines than sunrises and sunsets in forests, fields and the mountains.

How did the decision to found Cho and move to Paris come about?

On the one hand, this was a process that took years, and on the other hand, both went smoothly. I listen very much to my intuition. And if you listen to your inner voice, you can feel when it’s right. I feel very connected to France, surprisingly even before I came here for the first time. That I would like to live here one day has been clear since my first visit, when I was 16 on a school trip. Who can resist this language, way of life, diversity of the country, art? I made the decision to start my own brand in 2014. What exactly that should be was not quite clear at the time and I lacked the experience, but it should definitely be something creative (smiles).

After my bachelor’s degree, I was offered several master’s degrees and jobs in Paris, and it somehow felt right to emigrate now. In 2018, I took 2-3 months off and sorted out what I can actually do and love. The result was Cho. A small design label where I can express my vision and creativity through sustainable, lean manufacturing of durable, lightweight, beautiful products that emphasise and highlight the uniqueness of everyone. Unisex jewellery, at a fair price.

With which object did it all begin?

The extra-large Circle Ring!

You are in that magical seventh year in Paris. What has the city done to you?

A long journey… the city has let me arrive on many levels.

You say on the Cho website that a fascination with light is at the heart of your creative approach. Would you like to explain this a little?

Light is at the beginning and end of everything. There is the natural light and the light in our eyes. The jewellery pieces are designed to absorb, reflect and mirror natural light. Creating even more light, so to speak. This also means that the jewellery emphasises the beauty and uniqueness of the person wearing it.

Are there places whose light particularly fascinates you?

Mountains, forests, water in different seasons. I especially liked the light in Iceland, Israel and Istanbul. Here in Paris, I love the sunrises in the Bois de Vincennes and the reflection of the water of the Quais de Seine.

Your design is wonderfully minimalist. Is further development in such a clear context sometimes also a particularly great challenge or for the most part a joy?

Thank you! But to be honest, no. The first line should create the foundation. Everything in the Essentials collection revolves around the line and the circle. About contrast, the two extremes. Large surfaces and narrow panels. In a way, the creations represent my view of the world. They reflect the light, just like nature, and we humans (our inner light, of course).

The next collections will be more imperfect, more natural, more deformed. I already have everything in my head and a lot on paper already. Only the time for implementation is not yet ripe.

Do you have any favourite materials?

Everything that reflects, mirrors, lets light through on the one hand, and is rocky, imperfect on the other.  And of course, it must be silver, rhodium, glass and concrete, stone and black sand.

What role does sustainability play in your work?

Sustainability is at the forefront. All our materials are Fairtrade certified, largely recycled and rhodium, although a very rare precious metal, hence the high value, can actually be recycled infinitely.

Do you consciously focus on accessories, jewellery and objects or can your brand also develop in fashion or a completely different area when the opportunity arises?

That’s a good question, absolutely! The designs for the first clothing line are ready. Designing furniture and living space would be a great pleasure for me!

Can you tell us about places in Paris and France that has become particularly dear to you?

Definitely Lyon and the surrounding area. In Paris, the Martin Luther King Park in the 17th arrondissement. This is where nature, currently the beautiful cherry blossoms, and modern architecture meet. For me, it’s a wonderful place to draw on a bench in the evening sun, to watch people relaxing and playing, to marvel at the water reflecting off the many streams, or to go for a jog with a view of the Sugarloaf Church Sacré Coeur at dawn.

Thank you, Tanja!

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