Jewelry has always played a special role in the lives of Reema Motib and Lamia Aleisa. This shared passion for accessories eventually led the long-time friends to launch Lamb & Lu, an E-commerce website that showcases creations by local and international jewelry brands alike, such as Bil Arabi, Lillian Ismail, Donna Hourani, and Carmen Diaz among others, while they were still studying. The Riyadh-based jewelry platform hopes to infuse sentiment back into every day jewelry, and mostly stocks brands with a minimal approach to their designs.
In addition, Lamb & Lu is responsible for The Piercing Annex, a traveling pop-up piercing studio. The unique concept aims to promote safe piercing practices by industry professionals, and features a carefully-curated selection of high-end body jewelry from the crème de la crème of jewelry in the industry, including Maria Tash and BVLA.
Here, Vogue Arabia speaks to the best friends about their jewelry icon, favorite piece, and the best advice they wish they received when first starting out.
What inspired you to launch the website?
Reema: Well, it was really a necessity. Lamb & Lu started as a pop-up and we needed sales happening outside of pop-ups. The Instagram approach wasn’t ideal. I was 19 and Lamia was 20, we were both still in college so we were in no position to open a store. That’s how the website was created.
Lamia: The website was really just a front for us to host Lamb & Lu in the best light possible, when customers were not able to access our jewelry at a physical shop. We always liked to think that our two points of sale, the website and our pop-up shops, should compliment and work well together. It was a way for us to present the brand how we always envisioned it, at a time when we were just starting out our company.
What piece of advice would you have given to yourself when you were starting out?
Reema: Don’t let unsolicited advice get to you.
Lamia: The most important thing to have is drive. The business knowledge comes with trial and error, and your experiences will teach you what you need to know in management, but it’s impossible to grow and maintain a business without a passion that drives your work everyday.
What qualities do you look for when choosing to work with a new designer?
Reema: We have a very specific aesthetic, so that’s always a top priority but quality and price point are a big thing— quality being more important.
Lamia: Quality, design, and personality.
Does each of you have her own role in the process or do you share every step?
Reema: We collaborate on most things but we definitely have different strengths and weaknesses, so we assign roles accordingly. But we do share for the most part, mostly to familiarize ourself with what the other person is doing.
Lamia: Overtime, Reema and I have managed to slip into roles that both compliment each other, and fulfill the needs of our business. I’m never able to get through my daily work routines without checking in with Reema about her opinion on something, and vice versa. But we both managed to take on roles that we’re naturally inclined to. The buying process however, our favorite part, has always remained something we share and enjoy together.
Are there rules for wearing accessories and jewelry, or do you prefer an anything-goes approach?
Reema: What you’re feeling for the day goes. I try to have a live and let live approach when it comes to fashion. People always look so much better when they’re comfortable with what they’re wearing.
Lamia: I have my daily set, and any accessorizing that would go on in any given day would go on top of that. Whether it’s a pair of giant dangly earrings for the days I feel like wearing my hair back, or throwing on a choker because I just can’t seem to let the 90’s go. I’m a huge believer that layering is the number one key to looking effortless, while still managing to communicate your personal style.
A piece of jewelry that you never go out without…
Reema: I have a bullet cut diamond necklace from Finn, I hardly ever take it off; it’s become so much a part of me.
Lamia: My entire jewelry set is very near and dear to me. Each piece has a story or special meaning, and together I believe they’ve come to compliment each other so well. I wear a dainty set of fine wire gold rings that were the first pieces of jewelry I ever bought for myself with my own money, a Carmen Diaz Multi Solar bracelet I got from Reema the day of my college graduation, and a Finn mini looking Glass Scapular necklace— a piece that my sister and I wear together. It always reminds me of the strong connection I share with her. This is just to name a few, but every piece I wear holds a true sentiment, and I would never leave my house without it.
The most precious piece in your jewelry box…
Reema: Believe it or not, I have yet to acquire a piece that’s considered very precious to me.
Lamia: My mother’s lapis and diamond center-stone ring. She bought it when she was just around my age now, and I feel like it speaks so much to the individual the she was. Strong, independent, and knew her personal style well. It reminds me just how similar I am to her, and I feel like this ring is a small trip through time, in which I get to know her at that age.
Your icon when it comes to jewelry…
Reema: Azlee’s designer Baylee always has the coolest set of stuff on. It’s so geometric and modern, safe to say that she’s my jewelry icon.
Lamia: I’ve worked closely with a Boston-based jewelry designer, Sophie Hughes, back when I was completely my student-internship during college. I think it was in working with her that I truly found my love for jewelry, and came to appreciate and understand the beautiful craft that it is. She’s taken me under her wing and taught me so much of what it takes to make something as beautiful as jewelry sustainable as a business and career.
Where would you like to see yourselves in 5 years?
Reema: In a company loft were we can house all our projects and create jobs armed with an extensive tea collection.
Lamia: Still growing. Reema and I come up with new ideas at the rate we breathe. Everyday we walk into the office and we’re like “how about if we…”. My hope is that in the future, our company will be able to tackle all these crazy ideas of ours with even more ease, with a supportive team that we grow together to make it all happen.