Why this jewellery startup is a favourite with celebs like Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Huma Qureshi
Vinita Michael launched her eponymous luxury jewellery label in 2015, and has since become a favourite among Bollywood celebs like Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, Jacqueline Fernandez, and others.
Started as a bootstrapped company in 2015, Vinita Michael’s eponymous label creates intricately crafted pieces of jewellery like earrings, necklaces, brooches, bangles, and cufflinks.
Based in Dubai, the label’s collections are available on its website, and boasts of a large Bollywood clientele including actors Deepika Padukone, Kareena Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Huma Qureshi, and Jacqueline Fernandez.
Speaking with HerStory, the 33-year-old takes us through her journey of being one of the most sought-after designers.
The road to entrepreneurship
Although originally from Kerala, Vinita grew up in New Delhi. She learned Bharatanatyam as a child, and was always surrounded by and adorned in beautiful costumes. That, she says, is where her interest in jewellery began.
“For as long as I can remember, I have always been creatively inclined. My fascination with jewellery began at a very young age, especially when I was getting trained in Bharatanatyam. The nine pieces of jewellery worn by a Bharatanatyam dancer during her performance make for a vital element of her costume,” she explains.
However, it was only much later that Vinita started considering design as a career option. In 2004, she began studying design at NIFT Gandhinagar, with a specialisation in Jewellery and Precious Products. Four years later, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree.
After graduating, Vinita worked with industry giants like Amrapali, Ganjam, World Gold Council and Anmol Jewellers. In 2011, she went abroad to pursue her higher education in Gemology at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in California, USA.
The next year, she moved to Dubai and collaborated with regional design houses Mikura Pearls and Monsieur Fox. She was also a visiting design faculty at the GIA campus in Dubai.
In 2014, Vinita began working on her own brand, and it was finally registered as a UAE-based jewellery firm in early 2015. The brand’s product development and administration is based in Dubai, while marketing and public relations are handled by teams in both Dubai and Mumbai.
Vinita faced a few challenges while starting up, including finding the right craftsmen and setting up the brand’s ecommerce platform. With time, she was able to navigate through the obstacles and arrive at what she wanted.
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Crafting the jewellery
“I see my designs as a concoction of intuition and logic. There is a method in all the madness,” says Vinita.
The first step in developing a collection is the trends forecast. Vinita works closely with the Swarovski team to study the trends and materials that will be relevant in upcoming seasons. Based on this study and her own experiences, she decides the chief inspiration.
This is followed by the word board and mood-board development, and then the design ideation stage, where initial sketches and models are created. After further refinement of designs, which looks at stone setting techniques, weight and dimension of the jewellery, the first sample is created.
“For me, one of the most important aspects of jewellery is comfort. I believe that when a woman is comfortable, she is effortlessly charming. After the sample is created, we try it on to ensure the weight is perfect and it sits right on the body,” Vinita explains.
Once all these factors are approved, the sample is finalised and the complete product is created. The pieces, priced between an average of Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000, are created with Sterling Silver, 18K Gold, Swarovski crystals, diamonds, and precious gemstones.
The road ahead
Vinita has been working as a designer for over a decade, and has successfully created a name and space for herself in the jewellery industry.
She was named one of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)'s top 50 Women Leaders at the Global Brands Excellence Awards 2016, was a finalist at the Dubai International Jewellery Week 2013 and 2014, and was listed among the top 20 jewellery designers at the AuDITIONS jewellery design competition 2008-09 by the World Gold Council.
Recalling the best moments in her career so far, Vinita says,
“Being commissioned by the WGC to develop an exclusive 18K Gold jewellery line in 2009 and creating a bespoke Hair Jewel for Tresemme Arabia's New York Fashion Week (NYFW) runway in 2016 were high points in my career, but I feel the best is yet to come.”
In the next few years, Vinita hopes to further expand her brand’s retail operations in international markets. She says that her ultimate aim is to become a globally recognised jewellery label, associated with premium material quality, craftsmanship and unique design concepts.
For other women entrepreneurs trying to climb the ladder and establish themselves, Vinita has three simple but impactful pieces of advice:
“Never undermine the importance of work experience, always be open to learning and evolving, and believe in hard work and perseverance.”
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)
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