By Aisha Hassan on October 11, 2023
In a twist of serendipity, Jeslina Hashim reached out to us around the same time we first saw her beautiful pieces at The Datai Langkawi. With their bold pops of color and gleaming semi-precious stones, it was obvious why these expressive necklaces were so popular. Worn alone or stacked on top of each other for maximal effect, these handmade jewelry accessories added effortless flair.
“Bhatoo” is a play on the Malay word “batu,” which means “stone” or “rock.” And stones are undeniably the bedrock of Jeslina’s brand — once she finds the right ones, she crafts each piece herself on a made-to-order basis to honor both slow production and the uniqueness of every creation. Jeslina’s exclusive collection for Dia features one-of-a-kind items, including necklace-to-bracelet pieces, and she shared more about her process in the interview below.
How was Bhatoo by Jeslina Hashim born?
About twenty years ago, I was travelling in Italy and found some gorgeous turquoise stones at the flea market. I brought them back, strung them into bracelets, and gave them to friends of mine…They kept asking for more, and I haven't stopped since.
How do you find inspiration, and what are some things that have been inspiring you lately?
Travelling has always been a passion of mine, as it allows me to explore new cultures, immerse myself in different landscapes, and connect with fascinating people along the way. But what truly ignites my creativity and inspires me to design jewelry is the profound impact that these journeys have on my artistic vision.
Every time I embark on a new adventure, I am filled with a sense of wonder and curiosity. I find myself drawn to the intricate details of local craftsmanship, the vibrant colors of traditional clothing, and the unique symbols and motifs that hold deep cultural significance. These elements become a tapestry of inspiration that I weave into my jewelry designs.
Designing jewelry inspired by my travels is not just about creating beautiful pieces; it’s about encapsulating the essence of a place, capturing its spirit, and sharing it with others. Each piece becomes a wearable memory, a tangible reminder of the incredible experiences and connections I’ve made on my journeys.
How do you choose semi-precious stones to use?
Oh, I just love spending time touching and selecting my stones. The gorgeous colors and cuts are definitely what I look for when I select them for my pieces. I try to find something from everywhere I go, and the most special ones so far are the Tuareg Amulets I found in Morocco, which were made by the nomads in the Sahara.
Describe Bhatoo by Jeslina Hashim in three words.
Personal, fun, and expressive.
Tell us about the Rondelle, Keira, and Convertible Collections you made exclusively for Dia.
The Rondelle collection is made with bold colors, but in a simple and clean design for that minimalist look. The Keira Collection is named after my daughter — it’s fine, beautiful and full of beauty. Keira pieces are designed to be layered. As for the Convertible Collection, this is meant to be super fun and for those who want an instant stack without the fuss.
How do you want people to feel when they are wearing your pieces?
Oh, definitely fun and personal. We hope you layer Bhatoo by Jeslina Hashim pieces with your other special ones that you've collected over the years, and have layers of memories on you.
What advice do you have for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs?
Find your own niche and style…And always look for inspiration in everything you see.
What are some challenges you’ve faced?
Balancing work and travel! And just better time management in general.
What is the most fulfilling part of running Bhatoo by Jeslina Hashim?
It has to be dealing with all my collectors and designing customized pieces for them… I love seeing them receive their pieces and how happy it makes them. Sometimes, I come up with new ideas based on what they want, and it’s been incredibly rewarding.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.