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Pipa & Bella- Accessories as Self Expression

A conversation about creating jewellery and a business together

Cousins and friends Shuchi and Komal get together to design stunning accessories for the Pipa and the Bella in all women.

At My Big Red Bag, we have a bit of an accessorising fetish. We believe that accessories are not just a fun way to change up your style and everyday look; but that they can also be strangely empowering (if you’ve ever walked into a meeting wearing your favourite purple scarf or your mother’s tiny diamond earrings, you know exactly what we are talking about).

And one of our latest obsessions are the beautiful designs from Pipa & Bella. We spoke to one of the brand’s masterminds -Shuchi Pandya- about their inspirations, their business model and about converting real life relationships into work-relationships.

Thanks for taking some time to talk with us during a very hectic season, Shuchi!

About Pipa & Bella

Pipa is a Spanish colloquialism for a woman who is fun, vibrant and bold, whereas Bella in Italian connotes a more demure, classical and understated beauty. Every woman has a bit of a Pipa and a bit of a Bella in her, and her own personal aesthetic depends on where she falls on this curve.

The Pipa & Bella jewellery brand caters to the kind of women who are confident in their own personal style- wherever on this spectrum they lie, and are willing to own that style unapologetically.

The brand sells through multiple distribution channels (You can take a look at their range here). A lot of the selling is done by stylists- women who want to be jewellery entrepreneurs themselves and have been enabled to help other women discover their style with the support of Pipa & Bella. They are provided with start-up kits and are trained to match a customer’s personality with the right pieces for her. This match-up depends not so much on the externals like the shape of one’s face or the size and colour of one’s neck, but also on the kind of personality a woman exudes and the jewellery that will complement it.

On working together with Komal, her cousin

Komal and Shuchi are first cousins who grew up in different parts of the world- Komal in New York and Shuchi in Mumbai. They had both worked with their fathers’ jewellery businesses and often talked about doing something fun together- something that allowed them the flexibility to create and develop a business on their own terms. In 2010 Shuchi moved to the US for a MBA, while Komal was busy with her first child. It was when she chose to come back to India that the two decided to take the plunge and finally develop the blueprint of Pipa & Bella.

While they both do a bit of everything, Komal handles more of the creative side of the business- all the way from conceptualising to sourcing to production design, while Shuchi is responsible the business side of things- including the marketing and overall strategy.

They have their share of disagreements, but the key to their excellent working relationship is a willingness to always try the others’ idea, even if-occasionally- with reservation. This ability to be open minded and supportive of each others’ ideas has held them in good stead over the years.

As Shuchi laughingly pointed out- even in their design inspirations she is more of a Pipa- inspired by everything from Jamini Roy to Mumbai street fashion to her travel in vibrant Latin American locations such as Cuba and Colombia, while Komal is more of a classicist- citing Italian architecture and the Jazz Age as some of her inspirations.

On Shuchi’s Personal Design Aesthetic and Favourite Piece of Jewellery.

Shuchi remembers being on her mother’s knee- entranced with her great grandmother’s silver belt-that she used to wear over a saree. It is her absolute favourite piece of jewellery and she has repurposed it as a cummerbund, a collar-piece and a necklace. She loves it versatility and the link to her history that it provides.

From her own collection, she’s fond of the Ranibag Ring (unfortunately out of stock at the moment) -which she fell in love with the moment she wore it. She also believes that the ring has been lucky for her, with things on the business front looking up the moment she put it on.

Shuchi’s Suggested Pipa & Bella pieces for:

For someone understated who doesn’t do a lot of jewellery:  the Sofia Strand necklace- classic, beautiful and timeless

For someone big and brassy who likes all attention on herself- a reality TV star:  The equally eye-catching Flora Blue Necklace

For someone who travels and needs something simple to convert her look from day to night- The gorgeous green-blue Midnight Minaret earrings which can be understated or dressy as the moment demands, and the ultra-glam Stardust Pentagon earrings.

And finally a couple of My Big Red Bag’s favourites

As fans of the Khaleesi how can we resist this chunky-chic Daenerys necklace (it matches our pet dragon perfectly)

We adore these nature-inspired lovely green Blair Earrings

Continuing with our love for all things green, we love this Emerald Dynasty Ring which adds just the right amount of Joan Collins to our evening look!

Shuchi has also been kind enough to share a discount code for our readers, so if you want to buy something from Pipa & Bella, just go ahead and use the code FRIEND2014 for a 15% off before the 5th of February 2014. *

*Conditions Apply.

Editors Note:  The recommendations above are based on the editors’ personal tastes and opinions- these are NOT PAID endorsements. My Big Red Bag takes no responsibility for the availability of the items described above after the time of publication.

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