Besabijou: The Story !

The inception of Czech elegance in the heart of Madrid...

"Making tradition trendy..."

Its 4:30 sharp and Panela is buzzing with sounds you can't discern from the other.I was just finishing a meeting when I feel a hand on my shoulder with a rather familiar voice-"There you are! I wasn't sure this was you.."

I smile.Jana is her usual self-calm,sweet,ever enthusiastic and beyond all-elegant ! I was curious to know her story and here she was with the answers.We order coffee and I ask away the questions..

(1)Tell me a little about yourself !

"I'm Jana-born and raised in Czech Republic. I've always been a globe trotter. My father was a diplomat and I started off my career as a flight attendant.I go back to Prague very often and have been living in Madrid for nine years now."

You can see how attached she is to her country as she speaks of it.The order arrives and she thanks the waiter in perfect Spanish.I move on to my questions.

(2)How did 'Besabijou' come about ?

"From my roots"- is the pat answer.

"Czech Republic has always been known for crystal-especially the northern part which is famous for the glass production.And I've always been passionate about fashion,accessories and new trends.People walk up to me complimenting me on the jewellery I wear.I think its a good idea to bring it here.

Czech is known for 'Bohemian' crystals and Besabijou aims at bringing the trend to Madrid.

My mom was an entrepreneur and working in IE opens one up to this open and welcoming spirit of entrepreneurship that manifests within the ecosystem.

Inspired-I visited the smaller companies in Czech and picked a small family owned business that made its products with 'tradition and love'.What struck me about this was that the designs were extravagant and different-they had a piece for everyone.The variety was ample and that was how Besabijou started."

I see her eyes wander back-almost nostalgic and I see a hint of the passion that drives every entrepreneur.

(3) Why the name 'Besabijou' ?


"Took me a long time.Result of playing with words,..

'Bijou' is fashion jewellery and 'Besa' is a family name.

Also in Spanish it means 'kiss'-something almost as lovely and desirable"

Clever wordplay I see.And its abundantly clear that Besabijou is a manifestation of herself.She hands me the card and I see the tagline which reads: "SIMPLEMENTE BRILLIANTE".

"My jewellery shines-literally!",she adds.

(4)What do you draw inspiration from ?

"I have a very holistic approach to life -fashion,beauty and wellness are what inspire me."

She thinks harder..looking for articulating her thoughts on such a profound question.

"Its aesthetic beauty that drives me-the kind that has an impact on your soul."

(5)Why Madrid ?-I ask.

*smiles again*

"I'm overwhelmed by the Spanish tradition.Madrid is so 'open' about everything.Its the spirit of Spain that I truly admire."

(6)Where do you see 'Besabijou' in the future?

"I'm looking forward to securing a sizeable client base.The response till now has been overwhelming.We're planning to expand soon.We do have distribution issues beyond Spain...but I will come up with something."

She smiles again and I sense the determination behind.

"Quality lies at the heart of Besabijou and I'm also ting to focus on the designs,patterns and colours.We also plan on bringing in special collections and organising more promotion events soon."

(7)Who else ?

"Lots of people.Being in IE was a huge advantage as the people were very warm and supportive.I have to thank Dave Zinsman from the IMBA-April intake.He is an entrepreneur,very inspiring...and helps new start-ups with the promotion work.Prasad helped out with the footage of the event.He has this unique view which helps capture the atmosphere of the event.I also have to thank Roberto Rivas who works freelance and is very artistic.I couldn't have done the shoot at Palacio de Crystal at Retiro without the support of everyone.

I also thank my brother-Ladislav Besa for the design of the card and Belen Rodriguez,Sandra Corsan for the wonderful help with web development.

The IE world was very helping and inspirational."

(8)My final question-Who do you see wear Besabijou?

"Someone who is not afraid of change,is open to new things-a modern,successful businesswoman.Someone who is elegant,adventurous,like to wear a piece of art and appreciates it for its worth."

That's quite a description-and one that women all around the world seek to identify with :-)

Its quite some time now and we walk out.Jana thanks me and says people all around have been so very nice to her.I begin to see why.Being confident,successful and yet so humble and warm has its own perks.

Here's to Besabijou and Jana !


(MIM Ambassador @ IE Business School/Artist/Occasional writer)