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.

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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.

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