Beauty and inspiration can come from anywhere. Some find it at the bottom of their shoes, while others find it on top of their ceilings. The act of translating ideas into products is what makes one a designer. A young lady, in particular, set out to as Beyonce would say “put a ring on it.”
Founder of jewelry company, L’Dezen, Payal Shah is no ordinary Indian gal. A honeymoon baby, born in Mumbai, India, she grew up in Hong Kong and considers herself half Chinese. With an educational background in Architectural Design from University of Westminster and Inchbald School of Design in London and her family’s long standing experience in the diamond industry, Payal launched L’Dezen in 2011. “I wasn't necessarily looking to be an architect, but I knew that it would open a lot of doors for me because we are heading in a direction where the world is changing so quickly and structure and form is becoming very important.”
After her studies in London, Payal moved back to Hong Kong and worked for a hospitality firm as a Junior Designer. She worked on furniture pieces and soon realized that she liked working with smaller forms as opposed to larger forms of design. “In the evenings, I would work for my father in his office and help him assort diamonds according to size, shape and color. I learnt a lot in that process and decided I wanted to create a small jewelry collection of my own.”
Shortly after, Payal produced 30-40 original pieces and showed it to a jeweler and he was instantly hooked. “They took me to an exhibition in Las Vegas as a Designer. Demand was amazing. People loved the designs!” Upon returning, Payal decided to quit her job and pursue her passion full time. Fun fact: by attending the exhibition, Payal got instant access to investors and clients. So next time you get such an invite, do not miss it!
The Name Game
“I wanted something that meant the same thing in every language and had a feminine appeal to it. I really liked the word design, but didn't want to be cliché.” So she took a French twist on those letters and voilà, L’Dezen was born. It means design and reinforces her one of a kind product. “The stones I use are all irregular shaped and everything is handmade so I can never create a repeat piece.”
“The two things I think women are fed up of are heels that kill you and earrings that make you want to die.”
Extremely light and comfortable, L’Dezen pieces are ice breakers, statement makers and conversation starters. The collection is currently worn by Hollywood celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Sofia Vergara, Angela Bassett, bloggers and gorgeous ambitious women of all nationalities. “I have so many cultures behind me, which adds to my edgy side. It is very art deco.” Her collection is inspired by chandeliers, nature, the urban jungle and architecture, especially skyscrapers. “My dad was a great mentor and always told me, if you understand the manufacturing world, everything else is so much easier because you literally know what can and cannot be done.” It takes a minimum of 3 weeks to 3 months from sketch to product. Her pieces are produced in China and sold via a variety of trunk shows across the globe and at boutique retailers like Plukka in London.
“Jewelry is personal. It should tell a story about the person who wears it.”
In our parent’s generation, our mothers purchased jewelry as an investment, to be passed down. Today, we purchase jewelry because we want to make a statement. Understanding the popularity of see now buy now and Instagram, Payal will be launching a new mobile app called InstaJewel App soon. The idea is to post the pieces customers are wearing and tag the store so that people can instantly buy or contact the store. “The jewelry market is so saturated that the hashtag jewelry gets tagged 2 million times per day on Instagram. I feel like there can be a social network based solely around this category. The coolest part of the app are the search engine and filters which help you find jewelry pieces according to your taste.”
On Being a #BossBabe
Payal has several accolades to her name including being crowned Ms. Hong Kong Jewelry in November 2011 (the first ever non-Chinese winner) and Young Leader Under 30 honoree at The JNA Awards in 2012. You would think that having become so incredibly successful early on, Payal may have become numb to the spotlight. Yet, when we met up with her at a nail spa in New York City, we were blown away by her humility and eagerness to help others succeed.
When she is not globetrotting, designing new collections, modelling for L’Dezen or hanging out with celebrities at red carpet events, she is just another millennial woman looking to inspire others to work hard for their dreams.
Her routinely social media posts with hashtags such as #bossbabe and life quotes #LivebyPie are a way to share her learnings from starting a business and well, being her own boss! Plus, her personal blog celebrates “sharing information, not hoarding it” as a means to reaching new heights of success and has become a must read for aspiring jewelry designers and entrepreneurs alike.
Want to get your bling on and in the words of Rihanna, “shine bright like a diamond”? Shop Payal’s collection which ranges from $1,200 to $26,000 at their next event. Want to connect with her directly? Email us.
Photo courtesy of Payal Shah and L’Dezen.