Her mother fondly called her “Jack of all trades” Adity Karande a Mumbai girl settled in Pacific Northwest is the founder of Moonbeams Jewelry. She shares her journey with OFC, a journey which started in a bead store.
The girl from Mumbai…………….
I was born and brought up in Mumbai. It was an interesting time for India.The country had a lot of ambition and was caught between tradition and modernity; something I saw in my parents.I’ve carried both of those values with me throughout my life: Honoring the integrity of tradition and celebrating the inventiveness of the contemporary.
Makes US her home…………..
I came to the US in 1986 when I got married. Right before that, there were a lot of deaths in the family and struggles, so I had to grow up quickly. By the age of 24, I had lived a complete life. Unlike many of my peers, I had the ability to run an entire household; financially and every other way. It was almost like being a veteran by that point. So, moving to the U.S. was like starting anew. Not coming with any identity, but a clean slate. Nobody knew what I was about.
Life before Moonbeams
Before I began Moonbeams, I worked in finance for quite some time. Later, we decided to relocate, as by that time I had two little kids and wanted a slower pace of life. Life had gotten so busy at the time that I wasn’t able to spend much time with my kids. I quit my job and decided to be at home. My husband traveled extensively and I thought it was important for me to be a full-time mom and invest time in my children’s lives; to help carve a path for them unique to their passions. Not one to sit still, I volunteered at their schools and mentored kids in math and reading. Held workshops about diversity at different school districts and small businesses, and on art as a therapy for children and adults. It was a fun time.
How does your Indian heritage affect your jewelry?
My Indian heritage is a big part of what inspires me. I love the old, traditional jewelry from India. The artisanship is just exquisite. Also, the idea of heirloom jewelry and the great stories of emotional connection in each piece are very soulful to me. When you wear pieces worn by your mother, grandmothers, and other generations, it’s like those people and their energies are with you. And, it’s like they wanted it for you and gave it to you to carry their legacy. India has had suchstrong family structures that these jewelry pieces carry amazing stories of their journeys.
A Jewelry designer?
The story behind how I became a jewelry designer is an example of how certain people come into your life and change its trajectory and before you realize, it’s too late to look back.
A few of us (school moms)would meet monthly for meditation sessions. One of us pitched the idea, that we should take this ritual out to the community and have meditation gatherings. The result was a success. Then we thought, why not have some fun with all of these wonderful women who we were meeting? What would come to be known as “Goddess Parties,” we would share stories, eat, teach and learn crafts (I would teach hasta mudras), be a support to each other, enjoy our time, and end the evening with a guided meditation. These gatherings always reminded me of the time in India when women in the neighborhood would come together in the afternoons and work together to make amazing pickles and sweet and savory snacks. We’ve lost that support system for women in today’s pace of life. It can be so rejuvenating. One Goddess party, we decided to make simple bracelets. A friend took me to a bead store. I thought I had gone to heaven! Everything else is history.
Did you always want to be a jewelry designer?
I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to do in my life, because I enjoy a lot of things and was relatively good at whatever I set my mind on. My mother used to fondly say I was a “jack of all trades and master of none,” I would fix the turntable, the fuse, the toaster, do some cool artwork, cook for fun, help my mother draft her case papers for work. When I got older, I just enjoyed working in finance, loved reading white papers that my husband wrote for the IT Industry. No matter what I did I had always wanted to do the best job. I studied ancient Indian art and architecture in college with the intention of doing interior design. Whatever I ended up doing, I knew it would have to be something creative, or I would have to make it creative.
I was very happy that jewelrybrought me back to my background in design. I feel like the gemstones talk to me. Interestingly, there have been numerous instances where a client calls to make an appointment to see the jewelry. While I could have various pieces to show them, I feel drawn to make something completely new and it happens that the client has always ended up buying that piece. This has happened a lot, so it’s hard to ignore these stories. And, how could I not offer that to the world?
When you set off on this path, were you worried the space is already too crowded?
In reality, when I set off on this path, I was not thinking about anything. The creativity was flowing through so rapidly that I was just happy that I still had an “artist” left in me. I’ve always felt that the competition isn’t “out there,” it’s within you. It’s the perfection in your expression that finds a market.
How do you distinguish yourself from the rest?
I’ve never been conscious of trends, because they come and go. The work that speaks to me gives a sense of home, continuity, and is time-tested. So, not falling for being a trend and channeling work that stands on its own is a journey in itself.
Being inspired is essential for an artist or creator. I believe its part of your soul’s expression. There’s a stream trying to come out from you and you need to let it flow. And, inspiration is all around us. Watching simple shapes to complex organic forms, colors of sunrise and sunsets, and nature in its glory is inspiration enough. But, art provides us the opportunity to liberate some of our honesty. So, immersing yourself in the grandeur that surrounds us and manifesting it through the stories that want to tell is very important. And, they just happen.
Your signature style?
I have been told that my jewelry is organic, very feminine, and timeless, but my style is always evolving. It’s important to evolve, to move forward. With your experiences, you need to be one with whatever happens. For that, your soul needs to evolve and your expressions need to evolve, into a higher consciousness. It is a journey; it is your soul’s journey to evolve and be universal almost. So, my style evolves from an intuitive place because creating is a very meditative process for me.
What were your main hurdles in this venture so far?
More than the external hurdles I face with Moonbeams, I deal with my own narrative. Circumstances in my life have made me take a step back for myself. I had lost the art of finding out what was important for my growth and would revert back to the status quo. It’s like being in the 12-step program almost. I think this has to do with being a woman and based on my personal experiences. Women are expected to take a step back for the benefit of others, and we learn to forget to care for and advance ourselves in the process. So, I have to be very conscious about expecting and asking that for myself. We forget how important our own stories are in what we do.
Your biggest achievement in life
Seeing both of my sons on their path to something special has been one of my proudest moments. With Moonbeams, I have had small moments. I love when women have told me stories about how my jewelry have helped them feel empowered or confident during vulnerable times. I’ve learned that my work makes people feel something, which is important. It’s important for me to put that healing intention in my work, which I hope brings honor to the women wearing it.
Who is your target audience?
My target audience would be women who are ready to tell their stories and celebrate themselves.
Adity’s dreams going forward
In our digital age of 3-D printing, the dreams for my work can be just about anything. I hope I can make a small difference in educating women on the intricacies that go into the making of any kind of art. I want to help revive old forms of art which are nearly lost, especially in war-torn regions of the world. It’s infuriating to think that traditions which have expressed so much are being neglected and lost. And, the right of women to congregate and express themselves in such forms of traditional art is also being lost. And, I would love to incorporate these styles into my designs.
Advice for women entrepreneurs?
Advice I have for women entrepreneurs are also advice I have to remember for myself.
First, you need to add value to whatever you’re doing in life. Have moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance yourself and understand that it takes courage to stretch your limits. Show your power to fulfill your dreams. Where there is love and inspiration, you can’t go wrong. So don’t give up trying to do what you really feel called to do.
Second, always try to be extraordinary.
The best/worst thing about having your own business.
The best thing about having Moonbeams is that I have the ability to work at my own pace, but that also means it never ends. You become a wonder woman as you deal with anything and everything thrown your way: marketing, finance, customer service and actually making the product. There’s a yin-and-yang here and you learn a lot about yourself in the process. I am a one-man show here and firmly believe in that. Apart from seeing through my vision and inspiration in every aspect of my work, and knowing that my hand has touched every part of it, it’s about taking responsibility for everything. Having that sense is very emotional, almost spiritual, that you want everything to be “right,” and you open up almost a divine flow to course through your work. If somebody gets my jewelry, it’s about the whole package and the process, not just the piece. It becomes an expression of me, and you are then selling your dreams.
That’s who I am, and that’s how I lead everything in my life.
Check out Moonbeams Jewelry : http://www.moonbeamsjewelry.com
Written byOur Frontcover Desk