Mvintage is writing a new chapter in its story of success with the opening of a flagship store in Valletta and a new larger jewellery kiosk at The Point. Founder and designer, Krystle Penza created the brand from a pipe dream into a household name in Malta. Stemming from a passion to create a legacy for her newborn daughter, Krystle developed Mvintage into a community dedicated to the empowerment and support of women. With ten years of experience in the jewellery industry, she took her fate into her own hands and turned a gamble into a success story. 

Today Mvintage is a flourishing Maltese brand on an incline; celebrating achievement in the face of adversity and devoting its triumph to the individuals who have supported and inspired the brand. Having created her brand turned sisterhood, Krystle details her journey with Mvintage and the story behind its success.

1) What was the inspiration behind creating Mvintage?

My life and journey so far have been instrumental in inspiring Mvintage. I’ve always been surrounded by strong and ambitious women spurring me on towards achieving my dreams. As a result Mvintage was built on the pillar of empowering other women; illustrated through our collections, campaigns and philanthropy. I wanted to build a community rather than a brand; one aimed at inspiring other women to dare to dream bigger and fight relentlessly in the pursuit of their goals, to break free from being typecast in one particular role and to embrace their potential. This is how the name Mvintage came about, M being an abbreviation of I am.  I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, an entrepreneur, an artist, a playful girl re-creating vintage jewellery pieces from my mum’s collection; updating them with a modern twist.

2) Your core values are Women, Family and Fashion. How did these values come to shape your brand and in turn your designs?

These values are intertwined with one another. Each needs to be present within the brand for it to be successful. In particular Women and Family are inextricably linked. I was raised by a strong and powerful mother which lead me to want to pass on that same strength to my daughter. In doing so I also wanted to build a community she could look up to; to illustrate a foundation of willpower and success fortified by the might of women. Mvintage was inspired by my family and in turn has become a family in its own right. Mvintage jewellery is more than just metal and stone; I use my designs as a means of telling a story and in doing so aspire to give women the ability to express themselves and exude confidence. Our pieces are infused with symbolism so that each woman can create her own little narrative with her jewellery. Fashion comes into play by balancing the wearability of a piece with its significance. Our designs are sleek and dainty making for timeless pieces that will maintain their trendiness as well as their meaning.

3) How does your role as a mother impact the way you foster your brand?

I started Mvintage 7 years ago when our daughter Francesca was born. My life was fulfilled with a new perspective and purpose spurring me to set an example for my daughter; together with my husband I always teach her that anything is within her reach when ambition and determination are applied. Most of all I want to teach her to believe in herself, and to do so I need to show her through my own ventures. With Mvintage no obstacle or hurdle is impossible to tackle, when one goal is achieved another takes its place; the sky is the limit when it comes to one’s dreams.

4) Your mother has been a great influence in your life; can you talk about it?

My mother has indeed been my greatest inspiration; she is the strongest woman I know; single mother, breast cancer survivor and until today a loving force to my sister, and her grand children.  My mother taught me all the values I treasure; she has sowed in me a love for family and taught me to be honest and work hard for anything we want to achieve.   She has stimulated a great courage inside me; led me to push my boundaries, taught me to never give up and to get back on my feet every time I fall and fight back harder.  These are the same values, principles that I hope to pass on to my daughter.  I dedicate Mvintage’s and my success to her.  I hope to make her proud and I hope that she can see that all of hard work has been taken on board.

5) Why did you build a female-focused team?

This stems from my childhood and being surrounded by inspirational women; being raised by a strong mother who taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. I wanted a team to mirror the values I hold dear and to impart this wisdom on. Mvintage is a community built by women for women so it seems fitting that the brand is driven by a female-focused team ready to take on each challenge with a positive attitude. Mvintage hosts a second home for all of us; we are one big family.

6) What do you look for in team member?

When selecting a team member I take our core values, Women, Family and Fashion, into consideration. I look for someone to represent the brand as passionately as I do myself; with a dedication to empowering women, a devotion to family and an eye for fashion. Everyone can achieve what they set their minds to; in this respect I need strong people around me who can handle working independently and efficiently with other members.  I believe this comes naturally if they share the same passion for the brand and believe in its potential the way that I do. The Mvintage family is made up of individuals who encompass all these values.

7) Building up on the core value of Women being an integral component to the brand’s identity, how are women celebrated and supported by the brand?

My mission is also to inspire the women around me; colleagues, friends and family in joining me to make Mvintage more than just a jewellery brand but also a community of women committed to helping and supporting other women. Mvintage is a brand set by women for other women from different aspects and we take all causes on board. Apart from creating designs destined to empower women, we celebrate inspirational individuals by highlighting them in features and telling their stories, which we feel are intimately linked in the story telling of our brand. In addition Mvintage prides itself on philanthropical work devoted to the support of women from all walks of life and situations.

8) Mvintage has a distinguished Maltese flair, how do you incorporate traditional elements into such sleek and modern designs?

Our island is small and mighty with a colourful history and rich traditions. I wanted to highlight these elements and reimagine them in a wearable yet striking way. I’m proud to be Maltese! It is part of who I am and my collections reflect this. Every artist is inspired by their surroundings and the same is true for myself. Whether it’s the architecture inspiring an ornate design, or hues of the country being my muse for stone selection; I love to incorporate my pride into something wearable. I draw particular inspiration from traditional Maltese tiles when creating intricate pieces.

9) How do you feel the brand has grown and developed with you over the years?

The past few years have been a journey of self discovery for myself and the direction of the brand. As previously stated, the values I built the brand with have in turn come to define what Mvintage is today. Just as I myself have dedicated my time to empowering women, be it my team, family or supporting charities, the brand too has come to be a force by transforming into a sisterhood. This year is of particular importance to us as we want to keep striving to increase awareness of our mission. With the launch of our flagship store and expansion of our kiosk, we want strengthen the belief in one’s goals by looking at Mvintage as an example. What was once a pipe dream has now become an affirmation of my abilities and of the women around me to build something special.

10) What has been the greatest reward in creating Mvintage?

There’s a song by Rachel Patten called Fight, one verse has always stuck out to me ‘I only have one match but ill make an explosion’. I created Mvintage from nothing. I had doubters along the way questioning my sanity and capabilities. However my resolve to prove them wrong was stronger than their doubt. Failing was never in the equation. Now I look at Mvintage, our stores, our team, women wearing our pieces, and the satisfaction is the greatest reward one can ever experience.

11) What is the significance for you in opening Mvintage’s first flagship store? And what’s next for the brand?

This is a milestone for us; we’ve been working towards this for years. I cannot contain my excitement that we have finally reached this stage in the business.  Our strategy at creating a flagship store is the first step into placing Mvintage on the franchising market.   We see a lot of potential and have a lot of plans for Mvintage. Step by step we intend to keep going and growing the Mvintage community.

12) What would you attribute the brand’s (and your own) success to?

Perseverance. Mistakes are not a failure but rather a stepping stone to success. Mvintage wouldn’t be where it is today without a few obstacles along the way. Another important factor in the brand’s success is building a strong team filled with members dedicated to the growth and progression of Mvintage.

13) What advice would you give to young women hoping to follow in your footsteps?

It only takes one match to make an explosion! Believe in yourself… always, nothing is impossible in life!

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