The Year That Was: Isharya

2018 saw a flurry of startups in every lifestyle sector, be it food, fashion, wellness, beauty and more. Bengaluru is always buzzing with activity and there’s always something new and innovative with myriad choices to pick from. Many promising new ventures set shop in the city this year. Here’s a lowdown on some of them that left us impressed hands down…

BY NAMITA GUPTA

Defining modern Indian glamour, ISHARYA is inspired by India’s intricate and vibrant style, blending modern techniques with heirloom details to create on trend, high quality gold-plated jewellery that is provocative and sophisticated. From dramatic chandelier earrings to jewel encrusted cuffs, statement necklaces and bold cocktail rings, each piece is designed with an Indian inspiration, translated into a modern silhouette to create a contemporary piece relevant to a global woman. There was a clear void in the market so when sisters-in-law Gauri and Radhika Tandon couldn’t find what they were looking for, they decided to make it themselves. What started out as a hobby shifted to the forefront. ISHARYA, an amalgamation of their children’s names, IShaan, ARmaan and ArYA, is also the perfect blend of their respective talents. The brand soon grew organically and is today sold in over 60 countries worldwide and recently opened doors in Bengaluru. Isharya has been spotted on Hollywood A-list celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian, Halle Berry, and Jennifer Lopez, as well as their Bollywood counterparts Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt. Here’s what Gauri and Radhika have to say…

The idea behind Isharya: Gauri, based in Mumbai, oversees the design team based in Bandra, Mumbai and Radhika, based in Silicon Valley, California, manages global branding, sales and marketing. Our collective brand vision and the fact that we are family make it easy to defer to each other’s judgment and rely on each other completely. We are sisters-in-law and were headed down much different paths prior to the launch of Isharya. Radhika was a practicing intellectual property lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area and Gauri, a graduate from the London School of Economics, had relocated from Los Angeles to Mumbai. Both of us had a passion for jewelry and custom created their own designs for family and friends on the side. After noticing a void in Indian-inspired, luxury, statement jewelry in the market, we created the concept Isharya in December, 2004. What started as a hobby, quickly grew into a successful business,catching the eyes of celebrities, retailers, and editors. We focused full-time on growing the brand that has now grown from the two sister-in-laws to a team today that boasts over 35 full and part-time members across the US and India offices.

Highpoints of the journey: We have had our favourite icons wearing ISHARYA like Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, Eva Longoria, Sophia Veregra, Cindy Crawford, Kim Kardashian and Linda Evangelista wearing our products on the red carpet and have been featured on TV shows like Gossip Girl and Modern Family and in the movie Mission Impossible. The list of Bollywood stars is also endless. From Jennifer Lopez to Kareena Kapoor Khan – we love all our Isharya women. Most of our designs are inspired by nature, architecture, global travel and India’s rich heritage. We also love to take age old jewellery making techniques and apply them in new and interesting ways. We frequently use mirror glass to mimic Indian polki, also known as rose cut diamonds.  We use Indian style enamel as a way to infuse color to our pieces and take inspiration from exotic gemstones and their natural beauty.

Challenges and struggles: We like to push the bar when it comes to design and often, factories don’t want to invest the amount of time it takes to achieve what we have in mind. We have often done R and D and sampling for designs for 10-12 months before they go into production, only to be shelved because the output didn’t meet our vision. Finding factories with our passion and patience has probably been one of the biggest challenges. We have worked with American, European, Middle Eastern and the Indian markets over the past 15 years, and we’ve learnt a simple rule: What works in one market may not in another. Understanding what works where aesthetically as well as the role jewellery plays in each market culturally has been a great learning for us.