Like the Animals Do: Fua and Company
Borrow Jewelry Designs from the Wild
By TDmonthly Staff
Hanging out at marine parks and zoos isnít how most companies do research
and development, but for Grace Fua of Fua And Company LLC (ToyDirectory),
itís all in a dayís work. Fua came to San Francisco from the Philippines
in 1986, but like many immigrants, memories of her native land have continued
to shape her life in America. Her unique poly-based animal-design jewelry
has been embraced by kids and adults alike, and with a new line for men
and boys in the works, sheís ready to make the move to the national market.
Lady Bug Hairpins
I come from a family of artists, and most of them at some time were involved
in toy design or illustration. Despite this connection, as a child it
was not typical that we would have access to commercial toys, and I was
often left with my imagination and environment to invent things to play
with. Growing up in my tropical country of the Philippines, surrounded
by nature and ocean reefs, I was fascinated by little bugs, animals, fish
and reptiles. Whenever the season changes, various types of small creatures
with their beautiful colors would erupt from the trees, soil and the ocean.
From these, I designed an animal and aquatic line to share my experiences
through my products.
A Company is Born
Although I had been operating a similar company designing fashion jewelry
in San Francisco under the name of Fua Designs since 1998, it was in 2001
that I was joined by three new partners: Stella Phan, Richard Chan and
Nicky Do. After being interested in my earlier work, they agreed to back
expansion and the formation of a new company: Fua and Company LLC. Currently,
I am the Creative Director and Principle Designer.
Made without animal products while celebrating their markings, patterns
and personalities, Fua products reconnect us with our humanity and the
need to celebrate and pass on playfulness, regardless of your age. Five
styles exist of each design forHairpins, Earrings, Necklaces,
Bracelets and PonytailHolders for our
Animal, Bugs, Fish and Reptile accessories.
They are worn, tested and tried well before market, [and feature] custom
multi-thread bands, double stitching, fine craftsmanship, specialty clasps,
reinforced structural components and ergonomics, all of which contribute
to a superior integrity, usability and dependability.
Clown Fish Necklace
Can Moms and Daughters Agree?
Our market is pretty broad and versatile. Clients range from gift shops,
fashion retailers, novelty shops, museums and spas, to salons and specialty
stores like zoo and wildlife shops.
By providing a wide range of styles and colors and drawing from universal
and multicultural themes, by keeping originality, practicality and durability
while maintaining a low price point, we can successfully market to teenage
girls, women of all ages and parents.
A lot of my customersí favorites are the Red Lady Bug, Pink
Lady Bugs, Green Froggy, Clown Fish, Mandarin Fish
and French Angel Fish designs. Demographically, the hairpins and
bracelets are commonly chosen by and for teenagers. Earrings and bracelets
[are chosen] for ladies and ponytail holders for children ages 7 and up.
We are planning on extending other design avenues while maintaining
the feel and uniqueness of Fua & Company's work. We also hope to continue
to branch out nationally and internationally, drawing and appealing to
many [tastes] worldwide.
Many avenues of the industry are headed toward technological advancement
and focus, particularly in the gaming industry. I believe that there is
a skewed saturation with this type of evolution and focus. A casualty
of this is the loss of simple enjoyment of playing and social interaction
[possible with] tangible products. We are adapting by not following this
trend, but instead providing some alternatives.