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Raise Her Up: Esmahan Abdallah

3-minute read

Meet Esmahan, Edmonton-based jewelry designer and co-founder of Buno DesignEsmahan’s design viewpoint reflects years circumnavigating the world. Her statement jewelry is made using recycled and vintage pieces furthering her commitment to reuse and repurpose. 

Jewelry is reflective of personality - and, more often that not, personal history. Esmahan’s story reflects courage, positivity and grace. She’s a mother of two, business owner, designer, and an important voice for the future. 

We spoke to Esmahan about her sources of inspiration, commitment to sustainability and how living on four continents shaped her design.

Esmahan Abdallah Raise Her Up

Photo by Emilie Iggiotti

What inspired you to begin your business, Buno Design?

Buno Design started as an evening wear brand serving the young modest and modern woman back in 2014. When my sister and I were getting married we couldn't find wedding dresses that fit our personal style in the UK. There was a gap in the market and we decided to fill this niche market.

The jewelry was only added to the company in 2018 and after the success we received it became the main product.

What was the inspiration for the pieces you’ve created this season?

I love bold colours and texture and this year, I was inspired by the Coral Reefs. There are a lot of magnificent creatures under the sea and I enjoyed drawing my inspiration from it.

Can you tell us more about what sustainability looks like at Buno Design?

As mentioned, the brand started as a clothing company. In 2016, we released our first sustainable line. For this, we worked with an ethical manufacturer in Turkey that paid workers fairly across their supply chain, and we visited this factory to see the garments being made for ourselves.

In 2018 when we added the jewelry line, we wanted to ensure that sustainability was part of this too. Hence, I create pieces that are made from upcycled and repurposed materials, and source the remainder of materials ethically and from small businesses.

I love giving old, broken or even a vintage piece of jewelry new life. Most people know how to recycle their clothes, but unsure what to do with their old or broken jewelry. That's where I come in. I want to show people how to keep their jewelry out of the landfill, and give them new life. Additionally, I love when clients send me their old jewelry to repurpose into new custom designs.

Esmahan Raise Her Up
Esmahan Raise Her Up
Photo by Emilie Iggiotti

What’s something people would be surprised to hear about you?

I have lived in four continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America) in the last 30+ years, and I can speak three languages fluently! Also, I can't swim or ride a bike to this day./p>

What’re you excited about for 2021?

Although 2020 has been tough on everyone, there have been some positive moments that I am grateful for too. For 2021, I am very excited to decorate and enjoy my new home that my family and I just moved into.

On a professional level, I am  excited to collaborate with some awesome local, creative souls. I am also looking forward to bringing more ideas and designs to elevate Buno Design to the next level.

Esmahan Abdallah Raise Her Up

Photo by Emilie Iggiotti


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