We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Vemulapalli & Pooja Kavi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy & Pooja, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
One night over a couple glasses of wine, we were talking about how we wished we could find fun, unique statement jewelry that didn’t look like all the cookie cutter styles we saw most places we shopped. If we did find something that stands out, it was either cheap, fast fashion or a whole paycheck. As we continued to talk we realized that many of our favorite pieces in our own collections were keepsakes and family heirlooms from India that had been passed down over generations. Each of those earrings, necklaces, and rings were influenced by local traditions and had their own story, and that’s what made them so special.
And that’s how the idea for SANGAAH was born! We make modern statement jewelry that is inspired by Indian culture. Handcrafted by artisans in NYC, each piece is sustainably produced from recycled brass in small batches and 14k gold plated. Through attention to detail and high-quality materials, our modern heirlooms are meant to be worn time again, not just for special occasions.
SANGAAH in Sanskrit means “community.” As a brand rooted in cultural curiosity, being inclusive and diverse is at our core.
We welcome all people who are openminded, and strive to be their own unique self. Everyone’s story is unique and deserves to be told, and we want each person who wears our jewelry to feel empowered and proud to be themselves!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It took almost two years for us to launch our brand, despite many setbacks and roadblocks along the way. Neither of us had specific experience in making and designing jewelry so in essence we started from scratch. From design to production, each step in the process was new to us and finding the right partners that aligned with our values took time. But we knew that we didn’t want to sacrifice quality or take shortcuts on bringing our vision to life.
In March 2020 we were set to launch and then the global pandemic hit, and our business came to a screeching halt. As our production is centered in NYC where the epicenter of Covid was in the early stages. This meant not only that we couldn’t produce our jewelry, but also our partners were the most at risk of contracting the virus. While it was a disappointment to come so far only to stop for the foreseeable future, we were so thankful that all of our artisans were safe and as New York started to open again, they were able to safely come back to work.
After getting through all of the unknowns, we were able to finally launch in November 2021 and haven’t looked back since. There have still been ongoing challenges with supply chain issues and just the normal ups and downs of life, but the main lesson we’ve learned is that no matter what gets thrown your way, you can overcome it. It may take some time, send you in another direction, or be completely different than what you expected, but you can get to the other side.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We’re big foodies and love to try out all the new spots. Some of our favorites include Across the Pond, Rice Piper and Cibo. And you can’t miss being outside to enjoy the weather at places like Lon’s on the Hemosa and Lou’s at Papago.
Arizona is the sunshine state so getting outside and moving on the best trails at Piestewa Peak and Camelback are a must too. Or relax at the spa at the Phoenician or Sanctuary when you just need to chill.
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?
We are proud minority and female owned business that supports other small and female owned businesses throughout our business. From design to production, we’ve been so fortunate to partner with other businesses that share our values of inclusivity and community.
Once incredible resource here in Phoenix is The Foundress. They are a fiery group of female entrepreneurs, from all types of businesses, that have been so helpful as we started from the beginning. From their monthly speaker series to their small group masterminds, the thought leadership and collaboration has been priceless.
Stephanie Neisel – Gothgloss Creative