My Journey: A Personal Note

This post was written by the designer in November 2014. This brand is first and always a personal journey , an exploration and challenging of skills, the refinement of the person and the product and next maybe a commercial venture.

Excerpt from the original post.

From the desk of Maithili Kabre

 …it’s been almost 10 years  that I first dabbled in jewellery. Yes, 10 years. ( since 2004) From buying wire at the local hardware store with a China-made plyer & cutter that he recommended.

I also remember getting sequins & small beads from Golden Store, Mahim. It is a small embroidery store here. So, excited I made my first loop earrings by entwining sequins in wire and well, looping them.
They were rather pretty I thought. And so, I set off to Colaba to buy some real beads. The guy sits there even today, at the corner of Mandlik road & Causeway. It was quite near college then ( Sir JJ College of Architecture). So judging by my liking for distraction, I made some quick jewellery instead of getting by with my architecture assignments first.
Its perhaps the confidence that comes with being new & naive, but I actually went then showed them to Aarti.S of OMO, Bandra. It was one of the first truly original & trendy stores in The city.
I remember her telling she would love to keep them, and she did add some sound business advice regarding pricing. It was definitely useful as a newcomer.
So that started my first experience as making and selling something. Being absolutely self taught, self sufficient, and just trying everything with sole sincerity.
I do brag about the last point, as perhaps it is that point that made me write this today.
As I joined NID soon after passing out from JJ, I definitely did not take jewellery seriously. As a part of Lifestyle Accessory Design as my Post graduation, I could as a natural progression opt for furniture or accessories for spaces. I was quite hell bent to stay away  from personal/ fashion accessories. My course co-ordinator & valued mentor there would vouch for this, my utter resistance to the idea. In all my persistance and architectural snobbishness, I did not even think an internship/ final project should be anything other than furniture/ home.
So yes, no training or experience of a fashion/ jewellery house. Not that my portfolio then would help indicate any interest/ talent/ skill in that direction!
But somehow, I gave new direction to my hobby after post-graduation. That was SWA- a fashion jewellery label. A refined sense to the jewellery came about, design school does that to you I guess! This was 2009, 5 years after making MS wire & sequins jewellery. ( Note: we have no relation to the new apparel brand which incidentally also has a same logo now)
I tried multiple things with Swa with diverse materials, collections. It was new, it was fun. There were acrylic collections, wood & brass, Indian enamel work beads. It was great. Sourcing, making, marketing, approaching magazines, getting features. We even started selling in 2010 online, and that soon expanded to 3 different sites. It was a key experience to gain because selling online was relatively new in 2010.
I had refined my craft, but much more was left to be done. I remember writing an essay in JJ, on design and it had a line that a fashion designer should know the craft of tailoring. Once you know technique, the sky is the limit with the aid of a designer’s imagination.
Around this period of self reflection & restlessness, Rockstar the movie happened.  It set the ball rolling or something, for here was a film absolutely brave in its expression & style. This director knew what he was doing. He knew his craft, had the ability to bend it whatever way and was fearless enough!
So that was it, I formally trained in hand-crafting fine jewellery at IIGJ, Mumbai. Knowing how everything is made right from scratch opened up every little inhibition that I may have had as a designer.
The confidence of real knowledge and an honesty in process, the combination of this new technical know how with the rich design process followed at NID. I couldnt be more at peace with what I would be doing here on. And so after much refinement, experiments and decsions I am today again at Maithili Kabre.
Too proud of my craftsmen and their art, because I know the meditative patience that it takes. Of my process and design because as much as jewellery making can be a hobby, designing it is a profession. Working with Swarovski elements adds to the luxury of our design language. Being a trained architect, I struggle with over the top, but I dont constrain myself when it comes to glamour with elegance.
Back to many paragraphs ago. The bragging of sole responsibility. I have been asked at many stages with great curiosity by laymen, colleagues, people I may know: where do you get beads from, where can we get material, how do you get features? , whom to contact? can you make the jewellery in this photo? , why dont you do this, why dont you make bigger pieces? Why not diamonds?
After 2,5,10 years ( 12 years as of 2016) of figuring things on my own, I dont care if I may seem arrogant, but seriously there is only one way to do things- Go figure! Its all out there. Its out there in this city, where I hunt on foot for my resources. Its inside me what my design language and strategy would be. It is my journey, and I have had it my way. I consciously tread far from taking undue credit and piling on to people I know who couldve accelerated this process. Im fiercely my own person, it has taken me time not being super savvy or connected. But all along even in moments of disillusion, one thing was clear there would be no undue credits I would give or take.
Every person in this journey has been and will be credited. At this stage of my life and my brand’s life, we both realise that we are in a commercially competitive sphere now. As i get to know the working  of the industry and as we take on new roles and challenges, one thing is clear and has to also be borne in mind- the Product always wins & the Process is the king. The day I become fluff, I may no longer practice   my skill  and craft. But yeah, that as a possibility seems rather bleak and against the grain of me . …
…Its not about what I know for the past year. Its what Ive been doing, continuously, persistently. Nothing ever was built in a day. Its an ongoing process, and has been  a consciously independent journey.

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