If there ever was a year of the woman, 2017 is it. Though that may sound counterintuitive given the current rocky political and social climate that could lead many to argue that this is the year against women, it’s also a time when our voices have become louder than ever. A year of Wonder Woman and Super Girl, Nasty Women, and the like. The time for celebrating women is, as ever, vitally important, and examples of that can be found everywhere you look. Many of those examples come straight from within our industry, including Priyanka Kedia’s Ayva Jewelry. Led by designer Kedia, the brand seeks to celebrate life’s moments, large and small, and reaches a vast line of independent women through its pull on the self-purchaser. If her utterly gorgeous designs alone aren’t compelling enough (they are), a glance at Ayva’s online presence highlights the women’s narrative in a big way. On Instagram: Snapshots of jewelry, yes, but also quiet moments of beauty, lifestyle inspiration, and an ode to working women. Also highlighted: Moms in Business, a budding series on the brand’s blog, which centers on the stories of working moms—business owners—celebrating not just their successes, but their challenges, too. So this Monday after the Mother’s Day holiday, it seems fitting to glean some inspiration from “Team Ayva” and its leader, Priyanka Kedia.
As someone who often buys jewelry just for the heck of it (how can you not in this business?!) I love the Ayva Jewelry concept, which seeks to celebrate life’s moments big and small. How do you communicate that message through your social media accounts?
Priyanka Kedia: At Ayva, we believe in celebrating life—that all its moments should be celebrated, not just the major milestones. Our social media presence tries to honor that. If you take a look at our Instagram, for example, you’ll see photos of the jewelry, of course, but also the quiet moments of any given day: morning coffee, a workday complete with laptop, breakfast in bed, and cocktails, too. We’re speaking to the women who work hard but like to enjoy the sweet little luxuries life has to offer.
You were a JCK Rising Star featured in the Design Center at JCK Las Vegas last year. How has business changed since then?
Kedia: Being a JCK Rising Star was great. It opened up a lot of doors for us as well as gave us much-needed exposure. It’s been a stamp of approval that has made talking to new retailers that much easier.
Got anything new in the works? What gemstones do you find are catching your eye the most right now?
Kedia: Yes, we have a new collection we will unveil this fall. I’m really excited about it. Right now I seem to be drawn to spinel—I will be creating a few one-of-a-kind pieces this fall with all my amazing finds.
Do you keep separate social media accounts for personal versus business use? If yes, why?
Kedia: Yes, I keep my social media accounts separate, but my business account is the most active. My personal social media accounts have mostly pictures of my kids—our families live in India, so it’s mostly for the grandparents and the rest of the family living far away to see what we have been up to.
What is your favorite social media platform for business? How about for personal use?
Kedia: For business—Instagram, hands down. I absolutely love Instagram, but it’s dangerous. It’s so easy to lose track of time once you are on there. Even if I go looking for something in particular, I find myself somewhere completely different. I find myself so easily distracted and fall down constant photographic rabbit holes—but I love it!
For my personal use, I think I update Facebook more often. Again, that’s because of my family abroad. It’s just easier as they are all on there, so even though I love Instagram, my personal account is rather inactive.
First social media site you check in the morning?
Kedia: Instagram, then Facebook.
Your feelings on Pinterest: Do you use it? If yes, in what capacity?
Kedia: I love Pinterest—mostly for planning parties—and now that my brother is getting married this summer, I’m using it to help plan his wedding. I love how you can create your dream boards in there. It’s so inspiring. I also love the Pinterest fail stories: When I try to get overly creative with baking or cooking, my Pinterest attempts belong in those Pinterest fail posts. I laugh every time I read those as they have started to become the story of my life.
Snapchat or Instagram Stories?
Kedia: Instagram Stories for sure.
Your “Retail Therapy” posts put me in danger of going on a shopping spree every single time, and I like how you put outfits together to bring your jewelry to life. How do you select what is featured?
Kedia: It’s definitely a dangerous job but I love putting together looks that feature Ayva Jewelry. It combines two of my favorite things—shopping and jewelry! I always start with a piece of Ayva Jewelry and build around it. It’s fun because my line really can transition so easily from high fashion to everyday wear. Occasionally I will start with a pair of bold statement earrings thinking that I am going to build a black-tie ensemble, but instead find them best paired with something simple, like a sun dress and sandals. I always use designers that I personally find inspiring like Chloe or Self Portrait, but I’ve also discovered really amazing brands that I had not heard of and now love!
Tell us a social media success story.
Kedia: I love our Moms in Business series and I feel really good about those posts. It’s nice to highlight the work that these super women do, as being a mother and a business owner I know that it’s no easy feat. I have just started my journey but these wonderful women have accomplished so much and I look up to that.
Before I started my business, my biggest fear was not that I can’t do it, but how will I do it with the kids and also with my husband traveling so much. This held me back for years and had I known what I know now, I would have started much sooner. I know there are a lot of other women who are probably not following their passion due to this fear, and that’s why I started this series to pass the message forward—that it’s much easier than it looks, and that there is never a perfect time when all the stars are going to align. You just have to jump in and hopefully all the wonderful women we have talked to can be there to inspire you along your journey. That feels like success.
Five favorite jewelry-related accounts to follow on Instagram. GO.
Kedia: Oh, there are so many, I can’t name just five. I follow all our jewelry folks and absolutely adore all the work that they put in—can I list 100?
OK, how about five favorite nonjewelry-related accounts to follow?
What is your advice to anyone just getting started with crafting a social media presence?
Kedia: For a brand, strategize before you post. I’m not saying that it has to be completely curated, but it should definitely look like there was some thought and effort that went into putting it together. Your personal page can be used for all the other images that wouldn’t necessarily make sense to people who don’t know you.
You frequently partake in #thirstythursday on Instagram, so I can’t not ask: What are you drinking come time for happy hour?
Kedia: So I’ve been wanting to try the Ginger and Jasmine Rose cocktail that we posted about on March 23. It’s been long overdue and I will be making them tonight!