Around these parts, we like to learn about and from people who are running their own businesses – business we love and admire, and the ladies who are running shit behind the scenes. In this edition of mind your business, we talk to the Avneet Basi, a Canadian jewelry designer living in Brooklyn who is making some of the most gorgeous, vibrant jewelry I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot). I am obsessed with her work (check out Krysos + Chandi here) so of course I had to track her down and ask about her inspiration, her favorite pieces, and any advice she has for aspiring jewelry designers and entrepreneurs.
milieu: Tell us a bit about your background. Were you always into jewelry? What made you decide to start your own line?
Avneet: I moved to NYC to attend FIT, though I learned more at my first job than I did at school, which I think happens a lot. Real world experience is so invaluable! I have always loved jewelry and have always wanted to have my own line and that’s what precipitated my move to NYC. After working for other companies and brands in the industry and soaking in as much experience as possible, I knew I could branch out on my own.
milieu: What kind of research did you do for the business side?
Avneet: Admittedly, not that much! I spoke to a friend who owns a small business about how to get my business registered with the city/state and what kind of tax software to use, but other than that, I felt like my work experience before launching my business was what gave me the confidence to take the plunge. I am sure there are things I could have done better in terms of planning but it’s been a learn as you go type of path.
milieu: What inspires your designs? How do you choose your materials?
Avneet: So much! Travel, textiles, geometry, color and the list goes on. I tend to get ideas randomly and then I explore a few and after a few rounds of prototyping and self-editing, I come up with a tighter selection of pieces that make it to the line. The line has a balance between cast metal pieces and the non-metal pieces like our range of rope and leather bracelets and tassel and bead necklaces that have a lot of color. Often times, the design really helps me choose the materials.
milieu: What’s the most challenging part of running your own business?
Avneet: Since the business is still growing, I’d say being one person doing 6 or 7 jobs – I do everything from design, to production, shipping, marketing, retailer outreach and administrative tasks like order management and ordering supplies. I think getting an intern down the line is something that will ease the workload and allow me more time for creative exploration. I do enjoy the hustle but it’s not something that can sustain itself.
milieu: How do you get your name out there? Have you found promoting yourself challenging/easy/fun?
Avneet: That’s the hardest part for an up and coming brand, especially in the jewelry industry right now since there are so many other brands and it can be hard to distinguish yourself from others in such a saturated market. I think social media can be a great tool – Instagram has changed the way we interact with each other and how brands connect with customers and that’s been really fun. I think partnering with bloggers and doing giveaways is another fun way to get the name out there but trying to maintain the momentum can be challenging.
milieu: What’s your favorite piece?
Avneet: The trikona rings are so unique and versatile, two things I really try to keep in mind when designing, so I’d have to pick those. There’s nothing like them out there and I think the endless ways to stack them is what makes them so great.
milieu: Knowing what you know now, is there anything you would change if you had to start all over again?
Avneet: Yes and no, because I think you can learn the most from making mistakes and it’s inevitable that mistakes, no matter how big or small, will happen. I’ve been fortunate to have some great successes in the short time since the business launched and despite the mistakes and failures, I wouldn’t change much.
milieu: Can you give us any insight into new collections, new projects or collaborations?
Avneet: I’m working on new pieces for SS16 and as always, trying to incorporate lots of color and uniqueness into the pieces. No collaborations on deck for the moment but I would love to pursue this – there are lots of other makers and designers out there that I admire, so it would be really fun to collaborate on a piece or collection.
milieu: What advice would you give someone who is looking to go into a similar business for themselves?
Avneet: Be passionate, because when you experience the mistakes and failures, your passion and drive are what you’ll need to get you through the rough patches. Running your own business is hard; so make sure that you absolutely love what it is you want to do. Know your competition and where your brand fits into the marketplace but most of all, believe in yourself because if you have that confidence in your product and brand, you can really soar.