Founded by Judit Járadi and Réka Halmai, fashion-tech accessories label Jurekka debuted in March 2012, with its first collection inspired by Székler architecture motives. Today the brand specializes in laptop bags, tablet and mobile sleeves as well as other small leather goods, focusing on what they like to call “tech chic:” high-fashion accessories exclusively designed for tech gadgets. All items are produced in limited-edition quantities, and meet the highest-quality standards (they are made of genuine leather and premium quality metal hardware). The brand was successfully introduced in the Hungarian market, and their founders are currently working to expand their product range and international market presence. We sat down with Judit Járadi to learn all about Jurekka.
What is your background and how did you find yourself interested in fashion accessories?
After having graduated with a degree in Economic Commerce and International Relations, I started working in the field of European Union policy, which ended up a decade-long career. As a side project, in my free time, I was also volunteering at a European online magazine as a journalist and team leader. However, when I was home with my first child, I realized I needed a new challenge; something that makes people happy but also recharges me. With all the energy I received as a mom, I felt I could do anything – I could change the world!
How did the idea about Jurekka come about?
It’s an unremarkable story I think – you must have heard variations of it from other women’s fashion startups. When I bought a rather fine laptop, I was not able to find an equally nice leather bag; either I didn’t like its style or it was too expensive. I found that there was a large gap between hobo-style crafts sold e.g. on Etsy and leather tech-accessories of major high-end labels. I couldn’t let go of this thought for some time, so I decided to launch my own brand, owing it to this newly discovered niche. So, I can tell you that it was more of a business idea than a fashion project.
Tell us about your decision to use leather to craft your pieces. Are there any other materials just as durable you would find fit?
Working solely with leather was of the concept from the beginning. Nevertheless, with our latest collection we turned to high-tech materials such as Fibercuir, a patented technology of an Italian leather producer that gives genuine leather-like characteristics, such as water resistance. We are very much open to such innovations because we believe that it adds value for our tech-oriented customers.
I loved the concept of color-blocking in your designs! How did that come about?
Color-blocking became a trademark feature of JUREKKA after the creation of the “New School” collection about two years ago. The inspiration behind it was my schoolbag from the late eighties. Those boxy shapes and bright colors had greatly influenced my sense of fashion.
What are the limitations when designing for tech-ware?
We always have to follow and think about the latest tech trends and their effect on design – for example, the physical dimension of the latest models from major laptop and phone vendors. Of course we are not able to cover them all; instead we try to focus on the best-selling gadgets. It is true we need to work within the confines of these sizes and shapes, and sometimes it is difficult to keep up with the fast development but I strongly believe that, for a fashion-tech brand, it is a must.
What is the best way to promote and where is the best place to promote and stock fashion tech accessories?
For a fashion-tech brand, online is the primary sales channel, and social media are the most important platforms for promotion. There is simply no alternative. Most recently, lifestyle stores have started to become more interested in selling third-party fashion items that complement their own products, which is a wholly new go-to-market channel, which is great for us.
There are many established brands selling fashion tech accessories. How would you describe your competition and where in the market would you place your product?
To be honest, I do not think there is strong competition because most tech-accessories brands are rather functional and put less emphasis on following fashion trends. Most of them reject leather because it adds cost to the finished product. I think our concept mixes all these components (function, style, high-end finish), and has its market with design-focused and fashion-oriented customers.
Are you thinking of expanding your range?
Yes, we are working on smaller leather products for earphones, chargers, functional wallets and other small accessories. The idea is that people will buy these impulsively whenever they feel like they, or someone they are fond of, deserve a treat.
What are your future plans?
For 2017, our major goal is to establish JUREKKA in the US market. Luckily, we already have growing online sales in the States which indicates the need of physical presence in the market.
Photography: Turnkó Bálint
Model: Bertalan Barbi (Attractive)
Clothes: INQ Concept