an afternoon with jack of all trades, suhaa butt. as a jewelry designer and restaurateur, her ability to marry her business ventures so seamlessly is an affirmation to the idea that we don’t have to choose between our creative pursuits. we spent a lovely afternoon together conversing about creative process, the foundation that got her here and the gems that make her journey worthwhile.
Narrated by gem
i was raised by my grandparents who were a true love story. they were from different backgrounds, different religions and had families who clashed so they left their families to be together. they fought, they had happy times but they always ended the day with a laugh, and i knew i wanted that when i grew up. now that i’m married, i see that it helps. everyday is a new day. and if you have love as the glue, then you use that to get through what you have to get through. life is life and you can never get through it alone. you probably could but i believe you can’t.
i never imagined myself as an entrepreneur. i wanted to go to hotel school in switzerland because i wanted to be in the hospitality industry if i had to. my family is evenly split between logistics and hospitality and i was clear on not wanting a career in logistics because my husband was already in that industry. part of my culture is that women don’t work. you get married and that’s your job— you dedicate yourself to your family. i wanted to have a balance of both. when i started my jewelry line it was just a hobby that i did at home. my friends would come buy the pieces and that’s how it started. each piece represents the emotions i was feeling while making it. i’m not someone who likes to talk about my problems so i put it into my creations. that’s how i release my what i’m feeling. each piece is very personal which is why most of them are one-offs. i don’t repeat any designs.
we’ve always had this space. we used it for events and other gatherings, it was an open space for people to come hang out. the idea of soy was inspired by melanie. her and rico (her husband) have always been close friends since they came to rwanda and when melanie was leaving her previous job, she told me that she was going back home to the philippines and right then and there i asked her if she wanted to make it our space, she said yes and that’s how soy was created.
my creativity is an outlet for my emotions. for example, the reason why i have blue everywhere is because it’s my happy color. the buddhas represent peace. each one has a mantra- peace, generosity, kindness, self understanding— all the good things you can think about are on your table. whatever your reason is for gathering here, good energy accompanies you.
absolutely. i like open, minimalistic spaces but i equally love cozy, over crowded little spaces filled with everything i love.
it’s like walking on a thread. you have to receive everything that comes at you calmly otherwise you’ll lose your balance and fall off.
by how much i’m able to give back. once i’m able to give back as much as i want to without having to struggle to do it, i’ll know i’m successful.
meeting new people that change my perspective on life.
it’s in every diary i start “sometimes it takes an overwhelming breakdown to have an unbelievable breakthrough.”
my true gemini moments are that i laugh when i cry and i cry when i laugh. the emotional line is very thin and it’s a spinning one. it doesn’t stand still.
shrek- the friendship between donkey and shrek. having a friend like donkey who is constantly giving it to you straight no matter what is really nice. you appreciate it because you know they’re telling you the truth. friends are an appendix of your family. if you have true friends, they never judge you, you never have to impress them, or lie to them. you never have to change yourself. in some cases they are closer to you than your family— they are your family.
being able to love unconditionally and not expecting anything back.