We had the good fortune of connecting with Manasvi & Rujuta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Manasvi & Rujuta, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“Anything is Possible”
We (Rujuta and Manasvi) met in 2019 serendipitously – It was at a time in our lives when we were both looking for a deeper meaning behind our work, and wanted to explore Jewelry as our way of making a difference to people’s self-expression.
We named our Whatsapp group, ‘Anything is Possible’ as the context in which we wanted to continue our dialogue around this idea –– A reminder to go with the flow and experiment, because, why not?
Little did we know that we were all on the verge of a pandemic. But this affirmation helped us stay true to our intention, even when there were times when nothing moved. It is what keeps us going every day as we grow, through the highs and the lows of scaling a small business and the many hats we wear. Because all that is important is to focus on the small joys through our journey. And then, anything is possible.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Since we were little girls in India, we have collected jewelry and deeply cherished this part of our identity through festivities, rituals and our everyday lives. Later as we traveled, worked and lived across four different continents around the world, our sensibilities were influenced by some very diverse women who had one thing in common – being uninhibited. Saeyri means poetry and we design modern, eclectic and distinct jewels with these women in mind; embracing our Indian origins through technique, inspiration and story. We work with a small team of 2 artisans in India, who bring our vision to life with their uncanny understanding of materials and mastery over the craft.
Challenges and how we overcame them
We’ve been bootstrapping our way through a pandemic. And it comes with a whole set of challenges. The most effective way for us to reach our audience has been through highly curated in-person markets, which were shut down through our launch. Re-creating the same success with the digital marketing machinery is incredibly expensive when starting up. Thankfully the markets are opening up again and we are going to be on the road doing craft fairs through the rest of the year! Since we are bootstrapped, we do a lot of the work in-house; that has us investing a lot of time in learning and growing beyond just our design skills, which in turn slows us down. Also, as first-time founders, navigating the uncertainties of running a global business through a pandemic has been challenging. Our rich community helps us strengthen our resolve beyond what we can imagine alone and we often find advice that helps us get through a lot of these challenges.
Infact, if we were to start again we would have focussed on building our community and sharing our story much before the launch, in order to cultivate curiosity in our brand and create engagement. Customer development is arguably as important, if not more than, product development. Additionally we learnt to keep a buffer for the unknowns behind running a small business. And remind ourselves that we should take every opportunity to celebrate our wins, no matter how small they seem. That helps us get through the rougher patches.
[sa-ey-ri] [noun] Saeyri means poetry. Our modern jewelry is designed for those with an eclectic taste; crafted with classic tools by artisans rooted in local traditions.
Each Saeyri is a medium of artistic expression, for both the maker and the wearer; designed with love by Rujuta and Manasvi.
We want to create jewelry that transcends time – to be well loved, to be shared. Our designs are made in small batches, with intention and attention to detail.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place we take any of our friends/family who visit us is the 17-mile drive. It’s a beautiful drive, with stunning views. A drive over the Golden Gate bridge with our favorite song playing also never gets old. Other favorites are visiting the Palace of Fine Arts and spending a lazy Sunday at the Presidio Picnic. Bring a puffer jacket and catch a breathtaking view of Golden Gate bridge sunset at Battery Spencer. SF and the Bay Area has a lot of beautiful hikes – just google it up and you will find a hike suitable for all ages, seasons and reasons.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Running a small business is like having a baby. It takes a lot in the early years and we have to always be available in service to our customers and team. Our whole lives have been reworked and revolve around Saeyri. We couldn’t do this if our partners and kids weren’t supportive. So the first credit goes to our partners Sumin and Gaurav and kids Mrigaa and Naunidh who do everything they can to help out. Next we want to credit our friends and family who are radically candid with their feedback, hold us accountable, cheer us up when we hit rock bottom, give us support and company in our in-person markets, spread word-of-mouth about our brand or just lend us an ear when we want to vent! There are too many names to mention, but you all know who you are 🙂
We work across two time zones and launched in the middle of a pandemic. We were very lucky to have a team of artisans who were quick to adapt to technology to make this work through the pandemic and release our collection in all the odds. They showed a lot of patience and perseverance and we were able to deliver such desirable quality.
Last but not the least, we are lucky to be surrounded by an amazing community of small business owners and creatives. They have taken out time to speak with us, give us feedback, given us a shout-out, collaborated with us and answered even the silliest of our questions.
Photographers Lara Kaur – https://www.instagram.com/lara_kaur/ Sahil Lodha – https://www.instagram.com/aquaariesraw/ Storyloom Films – https://www.instagram.com/storyloomfilms/ Tanushree Vaidya – https://www.instagram.com/tanushreevaidyaphotography/ Models Aja – https://www.instagram.com/aja_lauren/ Daman – https://www.instagram.com/_dkaur/ Yashmita – https://www.instagram.com/yashmita_baswana/