How Maureen Saturne Made Passion Profitable With INDIVIJU

Photo: FLRS Global for The Volta

Photo: FLRS Global for The Volta

For some, a side hustle involves braiding hair or tutoring high school kids. But every so often, some of us are lucky enough to make money in a discipline we've studied in school. Maureen Saturne, 30, would be the first to admit she started her unisex jewelry brand INDIVIJU as a passion project. But it soon took off and four years later the sleek, artfully shaped jewelry is a strong brand. 

maureen saturne

1. How does clothing design and styling translate to metalwork? Are you using the same creative muscles?
I feel fashion right now has a lot to do with how it will perform on the market. Designers are creating in such a way to meet the needs of ever changing consumers. Whereas in styling, you are bringing each article of clothing to life so to speak. You pair items together to create looks or as some would like to refer to it, art. The idea of what's trending translates to metalwork. I enjoy designing pieces that are transitional and easy to wear everyday. The pieces are created to fit to one’s day-to-day lifestyle.

2. How was your upbringing in New Jersey shaped by your Haitian background? Was there ever a moment you stood out because of your heritage?
I grew up in a very traditional Haitian household where my father's broken English was law. He was a very strict man and I wasn't able to do a lot of the things my American friends did. Haitian food was served every night and American foods were a seen as a delicacy. I yearned to have American foods at home. It's funny because it's the complete opposite for me now. Being Haitian made me stand out day in and day out. High school was particularly hard because I didn't relate to a lot of my black friends and didn't understand a lot of reference and jokes that were used. It wasn't until college where all of that changed. 

3. What's the biggest misnomer about being in a creative field?
Most people I talk to who aren't in the creative field have this notion that we only have fun at work. While I love what I do in both instances, there is a lot of hard work that happens behind the scenes to create the things you see. Also, a lot of creative jobs are high pressure environments. 

4. How do you think your brand aesthetic is dictated by your lens as a Black woman? 
I am heavily inspired by shape and natural imperfections of the hand at work. I feel that my aesthetic can be appreciated by many. When I create, I tend focus more on design itself then I shift my perspective on who is the kind of person that will wear it. INDIVIJU caters to individuals who wear art not only to make a statement but to manifest the power of self. 

Photo: FLRS Global for The Volta

Photo: FLRS Global for The Volta

5. Why did you settle in Brooklyn? Does the borough inform your work in any way?
I have family in New York and for several summers we would come up and stay with them. Brooklyn seemed so vibrant to me, even then. I had a feeling that I could, without much of a stretch, see myself living here even before realizing what field of study I would go in.

6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be and what would you be doing professionally?
When I first visited Paris back in 2014, I immediately fell in love with the cityscape. The windy, narrow streets, the facade of buildings with iron railed balconies, and overgrown vines draped along rooftops, it truly is a beautiful city. I wouldn't mind doing what I do now but if I had the opportunity to work in architecture I totally would do so. The city in its entirely is picturesque. 

7. When did you first realize you were a Black girl?
I grew up in a predominately white town, and for a long time we were the only Black family on our block. My earliest memory of my Blackness was when I visited a local hair salon to get my hair styled for a 6th grade dance and the stylist apologized and told me she didn’t know how to do my “kind of hair”. Luckily, a Haitian friend of mine's aunt recently open up shop and was able to squeeze me in for a last minute touch up.