Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonam Naidu.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Originally born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Canada, I developed an admiration for fashion at a tremendously young age which was inspired by Bollywood cinema. Like most South Asian young girls, I too twirled around in my mother’s clothes and sometimes my very own creations to my favorite harmonious Bollywood jams. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to be an actress, but the older I got, the more I realized I was so much more in tune with the overall glamorous portrayal of what actresses flaunted. Hence the obsession to make a style statement came into play – I began adorning myself in loud prints, brazen colors and accessorizing my western silhouettes with bangles stacked to my elbows, ginormous clip-on earrings and bold lipstick.
Through the years of high school, I embraced a more daredevil style persona – turning a blind eye to the riches of culture and adapting the relevant western influences I experienced through music, dance, friends and commercial fashion. My fond memories of high school entail hours at the mall and hours a night perfecting my outfits for the following day of school. Aside from fashion, I loved Art and English – art allowed me to express my creativity in ways that were completely fresh to me and English fascinated me to read and learn more, so that I could comprise compelling written work. I was fortunate to have the same English teach in grade’s 11 and 12, who sincerely encouraged me to keep writing and passionately express myself, as he ensured I had a special gift with words on paper.
After high school, I worked in retail as a visual merchandiser and sales associate and enrolled in a Fashion Marketing and Management Diploma program. Upon graduation, I landed a six-month internship with Vancouver Fashion Week as a Media Relations Coordinator and worked full time as shift supervisor for a costume jewelry store. Being apart of the management team in a jewelry store, granted me a completely unique experience, expanding my knowledge greatly on leadership skills and inspiring me to style/layer accessories in unconventional ways. I also, persevered exceptionally at my internship – delivering high numbers and creating meaningful relationships that presented a handful of writing opportunities from local and international independent publications.
The internship with Vancouver Fashion Week, gave me a sincere taste of the cut-throat industry of fashion and I was greatly inspired to experiment more and do more. I started organizing my own photo-shoots, utilizing myself as the muse and styling my own head to toe looks. Once I became confident and comfortable in front of the camera, I began brain-storming innovative concepts, putting together mood boards, sourcing for clothes, scouting for a creative team, and executing photo-shoots. I certainly wanted to incorporate my love for my culture into my line of work, therefore began working within the South Indian community in my city. I had successfully united my passion for western and Indian fashion into my own respective playground of art. My journey as a fashion stylist, rewarded countless opportunities within the fashion industry: runway coaching and event production, frequently writing and contributing fashion-related content, collaborating with the finest artists in the game and freelancing full-time.
Hustling for several years, I became exhausted with the whole wash, rinse, repeat cycle and ventured on a solo trip to Los Angeles for two weeks to unwind and re-discover my purpose. I knew no one in the city, but thankfully for social media, I was able to reach out to, to some remarkably talented artists in the city. Within my third day in LA, I knew I wanted to move here for good. Completely running with that notion in mind, I made the conscious effort to sincerely get my feet wet and landed gigs working in wardrobe for the BET awards, Katy Perry, Timbaland and interning at Style PR – one of the most prestigious PR showrooms in Los Angeles within my first year of travelling back and forth from Vancouver to Los Angeles.
When I returned to Vancouver for a good several months, on the grand scheme of things and for the world of social media, I was doing the most. Although internally, I felt incomplete – the things I was doing no longer fulfilled me and it was the scariest feeling I recall experiencing. At that point, I felt like fashion styling was no longer serving the purpose of my core values personally or professionally. I heavily switched my focus to writing for numerous publications in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Toronto and began working with artists of all mediums to bring their stories to life for unique platforms. Simultaneously, I was constantly shopping to experiment with my personal style and I was taking on a project here and there that enhanced creativity.
I went back to Los Angeles for a few months to find some inspiration and reclaim my creative journey – I coincidentally founded Namaslay Designs a month after experiencing my dry spell with styling. Chokers made a huge comeback that year and I remember really wanting a camouflage printed band choker to amplify my spring/summer outfits. I found one that I somewhat fancied but had no desire on spending $70 on it. My boyfriend, at that time suggested for me to just make one. I looked up some tutorials, did some basic research, thought back to my experiences working in the jewelry business, went to the local jewelry market in LA and got all the supplies/tools I needed. I ended up finding the perfect camouflage printed trim fabric, alongside a handful of other beautifully embroidered trims and some other cute trinkets to bedazzle them with. I played for weeks – exploring my new craft, sketching, brainstorming and creating unique pieces with a dose of my culture. I began wearing them out and women sincerely gravitated towards my creations and started asking me for the price for my chokers. I realized I had created something special and something that is entirely mine. It was kind of a moment of clarity – the perseverance, hard work and years of dedication diversifying my talents had finally made perfect sense. Namaslay Designs was born within three months and I finally originated a space for all my skills to work in unison together.
I made the official permanent move to Los Angeles in January 2019 and got engaged to the man of my dreams that I had met on the second week of my first trip to LA. Professionally, Namaslay Designs is my full-time commitment and dedication to create a significant imprint as a revolutionary brand in the fashion industry.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It hasn’t been the smoothest road and there has been a handful of struggles along the way – minuscule and major hardships, setbacks and serious contemplation. I feel that all of the above is something that every artist experiences on his or own term, every journey is different and completely tailored to each artist and professionally we undergo diverse challenges to become greater versions of ourselves.
Although, I would have to say that the greatest challenges I experienced were internal – continuously thinking that I wasn’t doing enough, or that I wasn’t talented enough or my general awareness of self-love that I was lacking immensely. All these personal insecurities led to greater ordeals and created a lot of uncertainty in significant decisions that I faced to make while rising in my creative journey. I’m not quite sure when I had overcome some of these mishaps that I faced and still face at some points within my creative profession. What I do know though, is that I had enough strength to call myself out on my own bullshit, embrace the reality of what I was feeling and how it was impacting my personal and professional life.
I think it genuinely comes down to the strong concept of self- love and how much respect you have for yourself to attain the courage in making a significant change. Are you willing to sincerely commit to the best version you possibly can for yourself – and yourself, period? I strongly live by the motto: “the most important relationship you are in … is the relationship that you are in with yourself” I learned to create a lot balance in my life – committing to healthier routines, taking time out for myself to indulge in hobbies, spending time with those that uplift and inspire me to be the best version of myself and slowing my role significantly.
Please tell us about Namaslay Designs.
Namaslay Designs is an innovative cultural initiative that is passionate about instilling confidence. While striving to exert rags and riches into brilliant hand-made creations, I take pride in inspiring confidence through emblematic symbols, bold colors and unique design aesthetic. Quite dominantly apparent, our pieces radiate a dose of south Indian flare. This is something that I am extremely passionate to keep consistent and coherent within the brand as I wish to one day explore the world and incorporate the diverse abundances of all rich ethnicities. I am committed to bridging the gap between cultural and gender boundaries and hope to initiate a strong message of being a brand that embraces and respects any gender, sexuality, ethnicity and religious background.
As of right now, we stock mostly earrings and chokers – some that embody powerful universal messaging and some that are simply trendy pieces. Recently, I finished curating my second collection and I am working relentlessly on finalizing the finishing touches to have it launched June 2019. My novelty collection is completely different than my first – I find that it is more wearable, in sync with the infamous trends of this season and overly unique. I branched off from chokers this season and focused greatly on longer and shorter necklaces, statement earrings and even a few cuffs. I bought back some of my signature pieces in a more exaggerated and fabulous form and I introduced completely new notions that sincerely challenged my abilities as a jewelry designer/curator. Earrings are my best-sellers and I’ll have plenty of diverse styles to offer with this new collection – I’m super excited!
What sets Namaslay Designs apart from any other business is my commitment to becoming a universal movement with a revolutionary identity. I’m wanting to create a brand that is recognized beyond the common foregrounds of accessories/jewelry and cultivate an identity that is truly inspiring for individuals/artists globally. This year, I am also working on launching a passion campaign project – ‘Speak Your Truth’ within Namaslay Designs. ‘Speak Your Truth’ will share the hardships, endeavors and ground-breaking voyages that people have experienced in finding the courage to allow their confidence to radiate from within. The platform will highlight and triumph stories of individuals in niche communities, while simultaneously starring in a beautifully coveted photo-shoot series. ‘Speak Your Truth’ will grant the imperative limelight to share one’s remarkable story, celebrate one’s imperfections and authentically live one’s truth. This will be a collaborative playground for artists of all mediums to get involved and create something truly magical.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Absolutely nothing. I truly believe that everyone’s journey is unique and special to them – a journey that we all must lay out the puzzle pieces for ourselves. At every given moment, we made the decisions that we thought were the most suitable and rewarding at the time. Whatever the outcome was from these decisions, may have impacted our lives as either setbacks, mistakes, failures and/or triumphs – on the grander scheme of things, lessons and experiences that do define the person we were meant to be.
We live in a generation, where people are on this intense quest to live a perfect life. But what is the definition of perfection? And how are you ever going to get remotely close to the ideology of what “perfection” is if you haven’t experienced imperfection? The journey is all about embracing your flaws, imperfections, and mistakes because they help make who you are supposed to be. I don’t believe in the concept of hitting the reset button and starting the journey all over again with different strategies in place. However, I do believe in the power of respecting yourself enough to make amends with your past, realizing that the decisions that you had made were all for a reason and you are exactly where you need to be today.
- Website: www.namaslaydesigns.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: Business @namaslaydesigns | Personal @sonamnaidu