American Dream Comes True for a Local Jewelry Designer at the 2007 Oscars
It started with a simple dream of a better life 15 years ago and continued with a dream of owning a business 2 years ago. Anna Balkan’s restless desire to re-invent is prominent in her jewelry and was very well received by Hollywood celebrities and influential media at the events surrounding 2007 Oscars.
“I love it” was the resounding response to her jewelry and so it became the name of her company...
It has been a long journey for Atlanta based Jewelry Designer Anna Balkan who created ILI Designs in 2005. A native Russian, Balkan came to New York City in 1992 alone, with just $100, jobless and speaking only Russian. Through hard-work, determination and a love of fashion, Anna learned to speak English, earned a college degree and in just 4 years landed a coveted position with a top IT Consulting Firm in the US. But the story did not end there.
From a young age Balkan developed a passion for jewelry design and a need to be creative. At age five, she made her first set of rhinestones earrings for her mother, who still has them to this day. Through the years, Balkan nurtured her creative side through painting, sculpture and clothing design. While pregnant with her daughter Alexandra, she returned to her childhood passion for jewelry design. In her short career as a jewelry designer, she was quickly discovered by Harold’s and Bloomingdale’s.
What makes ILI Designs stand out?
“Jewelry should be a conversation piece and I design with that in mind – you either love it or hate it, but it is never boring. I like my jewelry to surprise my customers. My new designs are all about converting into different looks and accessories. The success of my signature Circles of Life necklace in L.A. was overwhelming. People would come to see me as they heard others talk about the circles. I gave away over 50 in swag bags.”
Since her return home she found herself with many new business opportunities starting with orders for upcoming Red Carpet events, TV and Movie stylists’ inquiries, radio, TV and magazines contacts and interviews, upcoming charity events participation and more.
What would you recommend to other designers?
“I really hope my story inspires others to discover their true talents and take that next “scary” step of putting yourself out there. There are many talented artists and what they need to know is – you can make it all happen if you truly believe in yourself, network your butt off and simply and unconditionally help others. You never know how the puzzle pieces are meant to fall.”
Balkan uses her talent for design in philanthropic endeavors throughout the community including Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Red Cross, The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children and The Susan G. Komen Foundation, to which she donates a percentage of her proceeds.
Celebrity and event pictures are available upon request.