Only a matter of months ago, Benjamin Kallweit founded Bijelle, a jewelry company based in Monaco. We stumbled across his work through social media and were instantly captivated by the elegance and simplicity of his work. We wanted to learn more about his story as well as his favorite spots in Monaco.
Ichtus Magazine seeks to showcase creators and their personal stories. What inspires them? What is their best advice? It’s our hope to share these creators’ stories in hopes of inspiring others and celebrating their art.
At Ichtus, we started the process of delving into Mediterranean creators’ inspirations and passions. And we wanted to share the story of Benjamin for the delicate designs, often inspired by the beauty seen in nature, that he sells in his shop.
The idea to work in the jewelry business came to him at a bar in Germany with a friend. They discussed the possibility of opening an online shop, and the next day they dived right in, Benjamin says. He was born near Frankfurt, Germany. But growing up, he often vacationed in Monaco, fell in love with the city and knew he wanted to move there one day, he says.
Several years ago, he moved to Monaco, and in 2021, he started his company Bijelle to focus on the French market. While many saw this pandemic season as a setback, Benjamin saw it as an opportunity to build his brand and improve his French. The heart behind Bijelle is to share the chic, elegant style of the Côte d’Azur but intertwined with what’s trending on social media, he says.
Creating a business plan is important, but for Benjamin, the best piece of business advice is simply to do it. “The most exciting ideas are coming up by starting, not always planning every little detail,” he says.
Although his brand isn’t even a year old yet, Benjamin already has plans to grow. He hopes to continue collaborating with bloggers where they can create jewelry with stories behind them. Currently, Bijelle sells its products online but is already available in-person at La Réserve à la Plage, a restaurant-meets-store in St. Tropez. But Benjamin hopes to expand his partnerships with local shops and offer more in-person experiences on the Côte d’Azur.
Heading to Monte Carlo soon? Benjamin recommends lunch at Avenue31. Order their Medtierranea lunch special: a compilation of an appetizer, their fish of the day, a glass of wine and an espresso. For apéritifs, Benjamin enjoys Cantinetta Antinori, an Italian restaurant that originally opened in the 1950s. Today, its Monte Carlo location offers live music and tempts with its Kobe beef prosciutto and rosemary focaccia.
For dinner, Benjamin loves Coya, a Peruvian-inspired restaurant with Mediterranean views and DJ music. Nosh on their Pulpo Rostizado, a dish with Mediterranean octopus, black chickpeas, avocado, olives and chipotle. Indulge in one of their 40 tequila choices, or mix it up with one of their Peruvian cocktails.
For drinks, he insists on Buddha-Bar, a lounge nestled in the Monte Carlo Casino with an extensive bar menu. Try its Oh My Dog cocktail, a concoction of white pepper-infused gin, Pama liquor, raspberry cordial, lime and lemonade.
For more libations, Kallweit says to head to Twiga, a restaurant and bar just steps away from Monaco’s Japanese Garden. Sip on their Skinny Colada, a mocktail with Thai coconut water, strawberries and pineapple juice.
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