Getting ‘blinged up’ is something most people associate with TV hit ‘The Only Way is Essex’.
But one Aylesbury designer is bringing a little ‘jazzle’ to weddings, celebrity parties and everyday items with her multi-award winning business.
Zoubida Akhtar set up her shiny online business Jazzle Designs after a car crash ended her Bollywood career, customising items with crystals, and now she is adding sparkle to champagne glasses the stars of urban music will be sipping from Saturday night’s MOBO (Music of Black Origin) awards.
The artist claims she can ‘jazzle’ anything, with her website exhibiting everything from hoodies and bracelets to umbrellas and staplers, but she draws the line at body art and that most naughty of TOWIE crazes, the vajazzle.
But it could have been very different. Four years ago Miss Akhtar was one of the UK’s top Bollywood dancers working in London.
She said: “I had an accident and had to have a major shoulder operation.
“If you are out of the game for a little while it’s hard to get back into it, so I was thinking what else I could do and I just started designing. I don’t think if my accident had happened I would have realised there was something else I could do.”
After moving to Aylesbury following the accident, Miss Akhtar did not consider taking her jazzling on as a full-time job until she took part in the 2010 Florence Nightingale Midnight Walk, which she did wearing a T-shirt covered in crystals.
She said: “People said they would like it on their clothes, so I set it up based on the demand.”
Her rise was helped by Friars Square, which gave her a stall to promote her goods, and after being highly commended in the ‘Ice the Cake’ awards, she won three categories at the Wedding Industry Experts Awards 2012, including best wedding accessories in England. They were also named fourth best in the world.
Although Miss Akhtar does have long-term plans to grow and employ more staff, and has been offered space to sell items at the site of the former Jakeman sports shop in Aylesbury, she currently does not want to to set up her own store, believing it could cause her goods to lose their individuality.
She said: “I would need six months to prepare everything to load a shop. It’s an individual style, not something that’s been massed produced in China.
“Every item is different and unique and something nobody else will have.”
Find out more by visiting www.jazzledesigns.com