Zana Zelephant is Susanne Bauer, a German designer living in South Korea, who makes adorable jewellery for girls. Her very cute pieces are colourful and fun; a necklace might be strung with hand-painted wooden beads, purple pom-poms, pendants featuring fabric gold stars, silver ballerinas with pink tutus, or yellow knitted bunnies hanging from adjustable cotton cord. Her wooden toy watches come in neutral “grown-up” colours; heart, triangle and cloud shaped rings are fun; while metallic gold-and-silver hair clips bursting with colourful shooting stars, hearts and rainbows are eye-catching and playful.
Susanne studied process technology and engineering, and went on to work as a quality engineer for a solar company in Leipzig. But her husband’s work took them to Malaysia, where they spent five years, and then onto Seongnam, south of Seoul in South Korea, where they have now been living for a year.
Her daughter, who was born in Malaysia, was interested in accessories from a very early age. Susanne searched everywhere for stylish children’s necklaces and toy watches but finding nothing available, decided to make her own. People liked her designs, so she sold them; she made more; and Zana Zelephant was born. Her work space is currently her kitchen table at home.
Living in Malaysia, she found it hard to source local materials and bought through Etsy. But South Korea is “a haven – like paradise,” she says, finding most things she needs at Namdaemun and Dongdaemun Markets. Susanne buys only materials which are child-friendly – safe and easy to wear.
Susanne’s designs are born through experimentation and trial and error, while ideas spring both from her own imagination and customer requests.