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Hidden Gems: Meet Ida Tongkumvong of Pearly Rights

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ida Tongkumvong.

Hi Ida, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
During the pandemic, I was doing anything and everything to keep myself occupied. In desperation, I decided to start making my own jewelry. I was left with extra jewelry supplies and decided why not start selling my own handmade jewelry? I have always wanted to start my own business, but I never thought I’d actually go through with it. I was too scared of what others would think of me. I didn’t want to put myself out there with the fear of being judged. I was petrified of the embarrassment that could follow if no one was interested in my jewelry. Fortunately, my boyfriend really pushed me and supported me throughout the entire process, and slowly but surely I gained the confidence to start my business. I first started off by creating my logo and then created an Instagram business profile. After creating enough jewelry, I released my first drop with baited breath, so anxious that it would all sit on my page untouched and without interest. But as soon as I turned off my phone, I began getting notifications from people purchasing my jewelry and commenting how much they loved it! I was in disbelief, but as drop after drop passed with demand continuously rising, I finally felt that weight lifted off my shoulders, and since then this process has been much more about the art and creation that drove me to want to start in the first place.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I am and always have been a very driven person, which definitely does have its pros and cons. In order to succeed, I will always set goals for myself and put myself up to a very high standard. When my jewelry was selling out drop after drop, I felt this pressure to constantly come out with new pieces that would sell out even faster than the previous drop. When the following drop did not sell out as fast as I had hoped, I felt like I let myself down and that I failed. It made me question if the pieces I was releasing were up to the same standard I had set for myself in the past. This in turn made me doubt my self-worth, causing me to lose a lot of faith in my abilities. However, this experience has also taught me that drops are very unpredictable. Pieces that I wasn’t extremely proud of would sell out in seconds, and my favorite pieces that I thought would be a fan favorite would sometimes not even sell. I’ve learned to be kinder to myself and not base my success off of how my drops went. I kept pushing through and continued to work hard, putting a lot of time and effort into each individual piece. If I sell out in 20 minutes or not, I can confidently say that I am very proud of my work.

As you know, we’re big fans of Pearly Rights. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
My jewelry business is called Pearly Rights, and I sell one of a kind handmade jewelry on Instagram and Depop. Recently, I have been aiming to create pieces that cannot be replicated, which is what I believe truly sets me apart from other jewelry businesses. I am most proud of all the time and effort I have put into my business. I spend a lot of time editing each photo, making each piece, and creating an aesthetic for my brand that I am really proud of. I function as a one-woman band. I make the pieces, come up with new designs and concepts, edit the pictures, configure and organize orders, interact with customers, manage the brand’s account, advertise, and ship the items. I used to model the jewelry, but I have recently started an ambassador program, which has been a really great way to get others to model my jewelry as well as get the word out about my business. I donate 20% of my proceeds to an organization each drop. I have donated to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, organizations combatting the climate crisis, and organizations involved in supplying aid in Yemen. All together, I have donated almost $1,000 to 15 organizations and have fulfilled over 300 orders.

How do you think about luck?
My parents immigrated to the U.S. from Thailand so that they could give me and my brother a better life. Being able to grow up comfortably allowed me to focus on my education, which involved discovering all the problems that exist in this world. I consider that knowledge of profound importance, and so I consider myself extremely fortunate. From the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to donate as much as I could from each sale to the causes I cared so much about. I am incredibly lucky to have friends and family who are so supportive of my business and understood and admired the good that came with my work. Knowing that I can always count on them is what truly keeps me going, and that has been the luckiest part of my life and this entire experience.

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