Today we have another edition of our Real Talk Q&A series, which highlights other designers that share our same values. Let me introduce you to Larada, who is here with us today, sharing her story and answering some questions about her beautiful jewelry brand, Wahed Ashore Jewelry, as well as her journey as an entrepreneur.
washed ashore jewelry
For those listening who are not familiar with Washed Ashore, would you mind telling us a little bit about your story and how you got started with this business?
Absolutely! Washed Ashore was conceived from my love for Mother Nature, inspired by her mysterious beauty and wonders. It is only natural that sustainability is the very core of the company because we should always protect what we love.
My background in archaeology and art history led my down the study of metalsmithing and gemology, then that took me to jewelry. I have always been fascinated by the prominent position jewelry has held throughout the human history. It holds a metaphysical sentiment to the wearer alongside to acting as an ornament.
Once I learned about modern-day jewelry manufacturing, I was appalled by the detrimental impact the industry has on the environment and the people. I made it a mission to change the ways things are done, making sustainability, in all aspects, our goal, without sacrificing the quality or beauty of the jewelry pieces.
Your pieces are gorgeous! Can you tell us about your process for creating your pieces?
Thank you so much! I’m very traditional when it comes to my creative process, so nothing beats a pencil and paper and a whole lot of creative energy! I’m also an extremely visual person, so touching the pearls and the pieces also helps with my creative process. I have a lot of random jewelry components laying around, so I also like to make samples out of them. It serves as a meditative activity for me as well.
Since we upcycle materials, there’s an important balance to keep in mind throughout the design process. You want to be innovative but also want to make sure that you can source the materials sustainably.
Once the sketches are done, models are made to be casted from recycled silver and gold.
Where do you source your materials from?
We always focus on local sourcing to avoid transportation emissions as much as possible. We partly manufacture in Thailand, my homeland, so for that we source our materials locally over there. Our recycled metals are also obtained through Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) certified refineries that have the chain of custody verified and provide certified recycled metal.
Post-consumer gemstones we use are sourced locally from secondhand jewelry dealers. Our jewelers then remove the stones and use them for pieces.
It is the same process for the pieces that are made here in LA. We source pearls and recycled metal findings from the US and manufacture the pieces in-house.
I read that the energy put into the making of your jewelry is something very important to you, can you tell me a little bit more about this?
Energy is everything! I’m a firm believer that people, things, places all hold vibrations. It may be good or bad, or something in between and I think we transfer our energies onto things when we are holding it or wearing it, let alone making it! It is so important that our positive intentions, in this case being wanting to protect the people and the planet, is set clearly and is put into the process of the making of the jewelry. Our jewelry is good karma from conception to finish.
Congratulations on winning the Butterfly Mark! For someone who is not familiar with that award, why is it so special?
Thank you! We are very honored to have been awarded the Butterfly Mark! It is a unique mark offered by an amazing company from the UK called Positive Luxury. It is a sustainability-based award and authentication for luxury lifestyle brands that have passed their thorough assessment. We are definitely in very good company and so proud to have been awarded the mark.
Third-party certifications are so important because you always want to make sure you are doing your very best. It allows to test your environmental and social efforts and see where you can do more or push further.
October looks different this year. How has the pandemic impacted your business?
October is my favorite month! I live for Halloween, and this year we have a full moon on the day, so I am so excited for it! I think it’s important to be grateful for the little things in life that makes us happy. For me, that’s definitely Halloween and full moons.
It has been quite a month, or a year! Just as for everyone, the pandemic has forced us to reexamine and shift our gears. Luckily, the e-commerce platform has allowed us to continue to operate and our social media platforms enables us to continuously connect with our customers. I think in this time of change, it’s important to remain positive, stay grateful, and take it one day at a time.
Lastly, can you tell us about your vision for the future?
My vision for the future is that people will become more aware of the impact we have on the planet and each other and that we will all as a whole make a big shift towards sustainability. It seems to be going that way already with many consumers turning to supporting conscious brands. Once we shift to being conscious consumers, not only will that make more companies want to shift to focus on sustainability, but it will also drive the positive change for the industry. I am hopeful for the future and I think we can all inspire each other to always do better.
Be sure to check out all the charming products offered at @getwashedashore !!