This week on FEW Members' Corner, we would like to introduce you to Kajal Naina, Founder of Kajal Naina Jewellery, her eponymous fine jewelry line.
Hello Kajal, why did you decide to become a jewellery designer?
I am a fine jewellery designer, an entrepreneur, an art lover, a mother and a wife. I didn’t begin my professional life as a jewellery designer. In fact, I am a trained dentist and happily and successfully worked as one for about 10 years. I had to make a tough decision to change career. I am originally from Nepal and moving to different countries in the last 10 years made it difficult for me to continue dentistry. But I do believe that everything happens in life for a reason.
While growing up there were things I loved: I always had a strong passion in fine arts. I was also very good academically and I wished to become a doctor. Finally, I ended up being a dentist because I saw it as a compromise between arts and science. But that urge to explore my artistic side more had never quite left me. So this career crisis actually turned out to be a wonderful opportunity where I spent time doing the things that I loved. Amongst other things, I enrolled in jewellery school …and throughout that time I remember coming back home from school so happy every day.
That was in early 2016 and I have not looked back since. It’s been a very exciting and interesting journey till here. The many years of living in a few different countries have widened my horizons to different cultures, styles and perception of beauty and today I have my own jewellery brand which is growing every year.
The jewellery industry is very competitive, what is your USP?
For me, jewellery tells a story. My jewellery line named after myself is an assortment of elegant pieces that can be worn on a daily basis ranging to more elaborate necklaces and bespoke pieces which could be collected as family heirlooms. By drawing inspiration from my surroundings – people, nature, culture, the sky and stars – my pieces tell their own stories. Everyone deserves to feel special, which is why I work closely with local and international artisan craftsmen to produce beautiful jewellery at affordable prices.
So far, what's the most challenging part of your journey?
I am primarily an artist. I thrive when I am creating. But to be able to do what I love doing I had to go into business. That was my biggest challenge… getting into something out of my comfort zone. This was new to me and there were things about running a business that I didn’t know. I’ve made mistakes. But I have taken the challenge head on and started educating myself a lot of things related to business. I’m still learning but it feels good to see how far I have come now.
We love your new AUM collection! What inspired you?
This new collection was highly inspired by my deep connections with AUM since my childhood days and my love for yoga. AUM is the basic sound of the universe; so by chanting it we are symbolically and physically tuning in to that sound. Our AUM Collection is an ode to this connection to all living things; it’s a celebration of your connection to all living beings, to nature, and to the universe.
A FEW WORDS OF ADVICE
On building credibility and trust
I am always honest, try to be fair and give my best in whatever I undertake and I think it probably reflects outside as well. So far I have always had good relationship with people I have worked with, my suppliers, manufacturers, artisans. As for my customers, from day 1 I have worked with the belief that I am not just selling a piece of jewellery. I am selling how I understand and value the need of anyone who comes to me. I give them my genuine self, my expertise, my designs, a lasting piece of meaningful jewellery and my ability to communicate interesting information about what they wear. And my customers have understood and valued me and my work as well.
On the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business
1. Are you passionate about what business you are about to start? Are you willing to give it your all? If you don’t believe in it fully no one else will.
2. Do you have the knowledge, expertise required to run that business? If not- it is always better to do your homework, invest and learn the skills you need.
3. If you are serious about running the business properly then make a business plan. Even a relatively simple one will serve as a map to keep the business in track and helps to focus on what you’re trying to accomplish. I made the mistake of starting without one but once I did that things have became much clearer and easier.
Happiness to me is being a loving wife to my husband, a great mother to my kids finding the right balance between family and work. Personally, I’ve faced a lot of ups and downs in life. But I have always seen the positive side of things, never given up and always found success in different capacities whatever I put my heart to and hope it continues in the future too. As for my company, it’s still in the early growing stages but the love and appreciation from my customers and the overall great feedback I have received has been very motivating. Company success to me is every time we bring a smile on our customers face.