We had the good fortune of connecting with Neelima Narayanan and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Neelima, what do you attribute your success to?
I would say the attribute to my success is how I choose to make my work! My practice started as a meditative passion project, rather than with the intent to grow as quickly as possible. I began selling my jewelry because, while wearing it, friends and strangers would ask how they could buy pieces of their own. Now, I devote one day a week to my practice, either to fulfill orders or experiment with new designs. I make, source, and produce on such a small scale, this way I am able to work very closely with my clients to create something that they love and hopefully will keep forever. I see jewelry as an extension of the body and as a mode of self-expression for the wearer. My clients seem to really appreciate that–I think that is how I have found my success.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My work in Jewelry making really started as an artistic practice but has developed into a larger project than I thought, which I love. Moving towards the future, mass production is something a lot of small business owners are faced with. There is a lot of pressure to upscale and to be bigger as a form of measuring success. But I think small business and staying true to small curation is more sustainable and creates more desire for the work. I am often faced with a lot of people asking to produce more but I find it defeats the purpose of value – or I become disassociated. I really think about sustainability as a part of my practice, everything is made to order and I am very conscious of the materials I use. I find with my designs and anyone who buys my jewelry realizes how jewelry develops memories, it can be passed down, worn every day, and made you feel special. That is what I strive for. The challenge is definitely with limitations of how many designs I have available. I am lucky to say inventory is hard for me to have, but I feel it is most satisfying to know I continually need to make. Also, I always wear my designs, because being my own client is important, because if you can’t like what you make you probably should not do it!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I am originally from Singapore and India, so finding good food is important! Also taking a nature trip is great way to have the best time! The beauty about LA is being able to get access to different cuisines plus being next to nature. Never have I lived in a place, where I can go from the ocean to the desert, to the mountains within a few hours.  So one thing is for sure I would dedicate some time to do a small road trip, either to Joshua tree, see a live show at Papi and Harriets or do a camping trip to Big Sur or Catalina island! I would also take them to Malibu to my favorite beach El Matador.

For Breakfast my go to chiliaquilas spot would be Restaurante Tierra Caliente and also it is close to my house. If it is the first time my friend visited LA, for dinner I would go to Musso & Frank dinner for the old Hollywood vibe and get a dirty martini. For drinks, find a local watering hole in silver lake for natural wine or cider where we can listen to live piano on Sundays.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandmother and grandfather who has always inspired my artistic practice. I spent most of my childhood in my grandmother’s garden in India and taking road trips across in my grandfather’s vintage Mercedes. They have inspired me to look outwardly and reflect inward. They influenced my relationship with materials and nature. I would also say my mom, dad, and sister who have supported me despite being countries away. Also, my friends who have become my family here. They have supported me throughout my journey and continue to encourage me.

Website: https://www.ulsiomen.com/

Instagram: @ulsi.omen

Image Credits
Photo: Reid Calvert

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