What/who is Maskarades?
Hi! 👋 I’m Alicia, I’m 30, French and I live in Berlin. If you want to know more about me, you can read this page. Maskarades was a dream of mine since a while. Childhood apart (I never managed to draw anything acceptable), I’ve always felt the need to express my inspiration in any way possible. So I started with brasilian bracelets, experimented mask making, tried sewing, dreamcatchers… until I began to feel satisfied with some results. That’s when Maskarades came up, with the first pompon earrings. Since I’ve extended a lot the shop with items from my travels or treasures I’ve hunt for a long time! Last but not least, Maskarades means freedom to me. After years and years working for others, I’ve been highly unsatisfied about the way companies treat their employees, and this is why lately I decided to quit my job and focus 100% on Maskarades now. It’s risky and a full of challenges/working late evenings, but when I do sleep, I’m at peace with myself.
What does Maskarades mean?
Maskarades come from mascarade in French which originally means a disguised parade. Nowadays it is commonly used to describe something that isn’t what it seems. For me Maskarades is an ode to the art of disguise and spectacle. I’ve always been fascinated by costumes and show make-up, light effects, mise-en-scène… I wish real life had more of it. So I do my share. I dress up as if every day was a show and go crazy with jewelry. Why wait for once-a-year festivals when every day can be a celebration?
Which products are handmade?
At the moment creations made either by me or my stepmother Yao are mostly earrings and deco (dreamcatchers & macrames). You can respectively find them here and here. I’m handcrafting many other pieces from the e-shop, but I only count them as creations if it involves product design, as in thinking and creating a full unique piece, not just adding a pendant on a necklace chain. Of course I’ve got a lot more creations in the pipeline: many bracelets, more dreamcatchers, even bath bombs!
Where do the other products come from?
The rest of the products (armlets, necklaces, decoration..) are from various places around the globe! It started in Cambodia where I lived and collected my first necklaces; on my way back from to France I fell in love with amazing notebooks coming on the website very soon; last summer I went to Istanbul again and found amazing hamsa hand tiles along with several great earrings.. I’m now thinking on going back to get some amazing lamps they have there. At spring I also had the pleasure to go to Lisbon and found lots of nice pendants that I make earrings with! In a nutshell, this is a soon-to-be Ali Baba cavern 🙂
How to get a better understanding of the products?
As I’ve been working on the online shop on my own, I could not yet take as many photographs as I wished, nor measure and weigh all items before to list them. I will continuously add more in the next weeks – in the meantime feel free to message me for additional photos, exact sizes, etc. I’ll gladly send you some more! If easier for you, you can even WhatsApp me now.
Nota bene: In the case of earrings, the weight and dimensions are for one earring.
How good is the quality of the items?
I understand this is everyone’s first concern when purchasing anything. Before to get into details, know that I do no list items that I’m not happy with. It can happen that some products have flaws, which is why I review them one by one before to ship any parcel. Now about materials quality, they are of course not all equal. If you are highly concerned about metal alteration, I recommend you this large stainless steel selection. Earrings usually don’t change colours. The most senstive items of the shop would be the non-stainless steel rings: make sure to read “How to take care of the products?” hereunder to extend your jewels’ lifetime.
What are special hooks?
Special hooks are optional add-ons for earrings. There are three kinds:
• different hooks to swap if you fancy it [for free]
• clips to replace the hooks if don’t have pierced ears [€1]
• ‘premium’ hooks (sterling silver, plated gold..) if you have allergies [€2]
For more on the hooks, click here.
How to know which ring size is the right one?
The sizes referenced in the shop are based on US standards. Make sure to measure the finger you wish the ring to fit on before to order! You can find more information about it here.
How to take care of the products?
Simple habits can help you taking care of your jewellery:
• Tassel earrings can rapidly look like your hair after a long night of sleep. To make them look at their best again, brush them from top to bottom with your finger (or a very thin comb). If the tassels are made out of silk and brushing them isn’t enough, you can try to gently humidify them with a bit of water on your fingers (from top to bottom again).
• Rings are crucial to protect from water to prevent the metal from oxidizing. Make sure to always remove them before to wash your hands or to shower. Of course same goes for swimming and dancing under the rain.. 🙂 One advice I heard several times but haven’t tried yet is to apply a transparent layer of nail polish before the first use.
What are the payment options?
For secured transactions with card, I’m using the payment gateway Stripe. You can therefore pay with Visa, MasterCard, Maestro & American Express credit cards. As I’m a small business and I understand many of you feel more confident to pay with PayPal, I also added it to the payment options. On request I can activate payment via bank transfer if needed. Last but not least, because my boyfriend is all about Bitcoin, you can now pay using the Lightning Network.
How do returns work?
As defined by European laws, you can return one or all items of your order within 14 days after reception of your package. Exceptions are: on sale products and goods made to order. To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition as the one in which you received it. Any item that is not in its original condition, is damaged or has missing parts for reasons that are not due to our error won’t be accepted. Before to make a return, please write me so I can send you more instructions. In case of return of your entire order, the initial shipping costs will be reimbursed, except for tracked delivery. The costs of delivery of the return are your expense. We recommend returning your item with tracking, as we do not accept any responsibility for missing packages. If you want help with returning the package, I can get you a prepaid DHL QR code to show to a nearby shop, in this case the cost will simply be deducted from the refund. Your refund will be sent automatically to the initial payment method used when placing the order, within 14 days after receiving the returned goods.
Are exchanges possible?
You can use your right to return to exchange an item the same in another size/colour or for another product of the same price. If you wish to exchange an item for a more expensive product, you’ll have to pay the difference. The process is similar to a return (read above), except that instead of refunding your money onto your bank account, we will send you a store credit. Same conditions apply than for a return (your item must be unused and in the same condition as the one in which you received it; shipping costs remain at your expense). Before to make an exchange, please write me so I can send you more instructions. For full terms & conditions, please read this page.
Why is there no VAT mentioned on the website?
As a small business in Germany and according to the Art. 19 I German VAT Act I’m currently tax-exempted. Therefore after completion of your order, you will receive an invoice with no VAT on it. For more information about this, you can click here (translation available in many languages).
How are the items shipped?
Since the German post doesn’t accept goods in envelops anymore, I have switched to DHL for shipping. The good news is, I can now ship worldwide (see below for shipping destinations). The less good news is that I now have to send all orders in a package, which sometimes feels frustrating from an environment point of view when it’s for only one small pair of flat earrings, for which an envelop would have been totally fine! This is why I recycle and reuse a lot of packages, bubble wrap and gift wrapping paper at home, and I invite you to do the same. I’ll write a more in depth blog article about this soon!
What are the shipping destinations?
Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom & the USA!
Let me know if your country isn’t available. Kindly keep in mind that for all non EU countries, import taxes may occur.
How does the free shipping work?
Free shipping is automatically enabled for any basket over €45 in Germany. It will pop up among the shipping options, look up for this little symbol 🎉 and enjoy!
NEW: for *nearby* Berliners, I’m currently working on a free bike delivery by myself for anyone living in a radius of 2 kilometers around Mauerpark, no matter the amount of your basket (no minimum). To know if you’re eligible, enter your address on Google Maps here and see the distance it says. If it’s less than 2km, select “local delivery” as shipping mean. I hope to implement this automatically on the website soon, so local delivery will appear only based on your address.
What is local pick-up?
⚠ Summer 2020 update: I momentarily deactived this option as I haven’t returned to markets yet. I’m planning on going to Mauerpark again from August onwards (to be confirmed). Local pick-up is for Berliners who want to save shipping – for your wallet and for the earth! As I’m very often at Mauerpark on Sundays, we can easily meet there for a pick-up in person.
What is in the pipeline?
A LOT! At first I want to equilibrate a bit more the shop and develop things like bracelets and home deco. Slowly but surely I’m adding outside brands for notebooks and soon enough books too! As you can read above in the “Which products are handmade?“, I’m working on several new creations. At the same time I’m constantly taking more photos of all items to give you a better e-idea of what you’re getting 🙂
Where else can Maskarades products be found?
If you’re in Berlin or coming here for holidays, you can find me in the summer on Sundays at Mauerpark. I’m also regularly hosting events – you can find more about them on the Facebook page. I’ve been asked by several shops to add some of my items in their boutique, I’ll update it here once it’s official.
How to get the latest news?
Best way to stay in touch is Instagram as I’m posting there every day or so. For major updates, you can subscribe to the newsletter – you won’t get more than one per month, it might even be only one every couple of months… For events, as said Facebook is the place to be. Last but not least, you can keep in an eye on the blog!