Neha Goel: A Designer For All Seasons
Gemstones are the mainstay of my pieces. however, i like emeralds the most as they have a subtle yet powerful and defining look.
Go for the job you love to do, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Bangalore-based designer Neha Goel has adhered to this popular adage and relentlessly pursued her dream to achieve happiness by creating charming handiworks of art. The first-generation jeweller, who runs an eponymous brand, is gifted with strong intuitive powers and identified her strengths early on in life. Following her inner voice was therefore easy and today, she expresses her ideas to craft bold yet utterly feminine jewellery pieces that bear her unique stamp. Though her jewellery designs are India-centric in essence, they have modern nuances. The matchless designs obviously come from a confident person who is a fount of talent. It is only an unbridled mind that can break the mould to explore and experiment with new ideas. Gemstones and enamelling provide special effects to her jewellery that is adventurous and dressy. She speaks with Shanoo Bijlani about her early days, design ideology and aspirations.
Are you a first-generation jeweller?
No one in my family is in the jewellery business. There was no one to guide me, but since I am intuitive, I fortunately took the right decisions. The good part is that I was not pushed around by anyone and took decisions independently. This has helped me evolve as a designer and entrepreneur and I have gained a lot of experience.
Were you always good in arts?
As a student, I was fascinated by art, but my creativity kicked in when I was in high school. I painted and designed cards for my friends on special occasions. I made rakhis for my brothers for Rakshabandhan, and craft accessories. I think creativity runs in my veins and I am lucky that I have the opportunity to use it.
I was fond of jewellery but because I had a specific taste, I could never find the pieces that I wanted. In my spare time, I started making sketches which were appreciated by my parents and friends, and they suggested I should hone my skills further. With an inclination towards designing, it was not a tough decision for me to join jewellery designing.
Tell us about your journey from Singem Institute in Kolkata to being a full-fledged jewellery designer.
After a few months in Singem, I was clear that I would design jewellery. I remember not missing a single class during my course. I would often request for extra classes and spent my entire time learning and exploring new techniques and styles related to jewellery manufacturing. Just before graduation, the institute had organised a show at Taj Bengal, Kolkata, and I got a great opportunity to display my first collection there. I was ecstatic to share the stage with exclusive designers of the city. My collection was a big hit and received accolades from the show attendees. I decided then that I will become one of the best jewellery designers. There has been no looking back since then.
Tell us about the first experience of selling a piece to a customer. Which jewellery piece was it? Was your homegrown business doing well?
I did not intern under anyone because I wanted to venture out on my own. The sailing was not smooth initially, as I did not belong to this industry and had no guidance. So
it was a great learning curve for me as I explored different markets and their requirements. Making jewellery is an art, but selling it requires another set of skills. The first piece I sold was a pendant set to one of my clients, who is now a regular buyer of my pieces.
You got married and moved to the US? Why did you join the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)?
Marriage happened and I had to wrap up my business here and I moved with my husband to America. It was a setback professionally as I had no clue if I would ever start working again. However, I decided to join a GIA course to keep in the loop and utilise my free time.
When did you come back to India and when did you start your brand Neha Goel and what kind of jewellery do you make?
We returned to India after two years as we missed our families. We moved to Bangalore, and I started working full time towards building my brand. I had done my homework and was aware of the trends in fashion jewellery here, so I created many Indo-Western and contemporary collections. My jewellery is injected with colours and I use semiprecious stones, kundan-polkis, zirconia and enamelling. Mesh work is my USP and even though the jewellery template is Indian, I use dollops of contemporariness in my pieces.
When and how did you happen to participate in the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW)?
To be rubbing shoulders with top designers was always a dream of mine. The LFW is one of the prestigious events of our country and is a good launching pad for upcoming designers. Within 18 months after moving back to India, I sent my application and I was on board in the LFW Winter 2013. It was a defining moment for me and I presented the “Princess Vanity” collection.
Which metal do you generally use?
Earlier, I used a lot of sterling silver. But nowadays I work more with copper and brass because they are easily mouldable and are affordable. Many of my clients also insist I create pieces in gold and I am more than happy to accommodate them.
Do you sell through your website? Where is your jewellery available? What is the popular price range of the collections?
I sell through top designer stores of the country including AZA, Kimaya, Evoluzione, Fuel, Collage. I also have personal clients with whom I work closely, fulfilling their specific and stringent demands gives me personal satisfaction. I have a Facebook page and a website where people can view my collection and interact with me directly. The range of earrings starts from R1,500 to R8,000, while neckpieces range from R5,000 to R25,000.
Do you design for a particular age group of women?
No, the design aesthetics of my jewellery is such that women of any age group can wear it. I feel that beauty has no age bar and jewellery is forever.
What’s the philosophy behind your brand?
I want everyone wearing a Neha Goel piece to feel special. I invest a lot of time in designing and don’t create more than 5-10 pieces in a month as I want the jewellery to be exclusive. I want my client to feel special. Each piece makes a statement. I have always favoured the trend of wearing a singular but distinctive jewellery piece and I strive to make such pieces that don’t require any more jewellery add-ons.
What inspires you the most?
Well, one has to be in a certain frame of mind to create a piece. There are times when I just go with the flow and come up with some designs effortlessly. But at times, that is not possible because designing is one of the most challenging tasks. My inspiration comes from day-to-day activities and from different cultures. There are various art forms, colour patterns that attract my attention during my many travels.
Do you have any favourite gemstones?
Gemstones are the mainstay of my pieces. However, I like emeralds the most as they have a subtle yet powerful and defining look. I personally find emerald to be one of the most beautiful and stunning gemstones and try to include it in my jewellery as often as I can.
Other than jewellery what interests you?
I like listening to music as it calms me. I am also a big foodie and love to cook; and travelling revitalises me.
(Anticlockwise): Mesh inspired multicolour zircon ear studs bordered with pearls on one side and polkis on the other; Tasselled crescent-shaped earrings featuring kundan-set gems and enamel; Fan-shaped earrings with pear-shaped yellow saphires and a...
Trendy openwork neckpiece partially decorated with multicoloured gemstones.
Large rings and pearl chains hold an array of agates in a mesh.
Pendant earrings with polki floral motifs set against an enamelled backdrop.