FOUR YEARS AFTER MOVING TO
NEW ZEALAND, MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY FROM CANCER
While grieving, I wished that she had done more things she loved, that she had looked after herself more and that she had put herself first more. I didn't want to have those regrets. I wanted to do something purposeful that gave me a reason to get out of bed every day. At 23, finding this was a challenge! But I knew I wanted to start a business. So I started selling my personal belongings that I didn’t need anymore and saved to start a beauty business. I failed miserably! I had no idea what I was doing, so I went to night school to study business. I went on to try a few other businesses but nothing I was really passionate about. Just as I was about to give up, I met a pearl farmer who introduced me to pearls. We spent the whole weekend talking about pearls. I was fascinated by the process and harvesting, especially the women that were emerging as farm owners and pearl technicians.
"My vision isn’t just about creating jewellery that inspires confidence and expressing one's individuality. It’s so much more. It’s about helping women become financially independent so they can improve their lives and their families lives. My jewellery allows me to help these women."
HUGE PASSION FOR JEWELLERY
You see, I grew up in a family filled with strong, loud, passionate women that LOVE jewellery. In fact, I used to spend hours in jewellery shops in Fiji with my mother trying on jewellery and talking to shop owners about when new stock would arrive. Hearing the farmers’ stories about women running their own pearl farms and taking control of their lives really inspired me. I felt like a huge fire was lit inside of me. It reminded me of my conversations with my grandmother. She was a solo mum that struggled to raise seven kids. Every time we were together she would encourage me to work hard and become financially independent, to use my voice and to give back to the community. It was so clear I had found something I believed in. That was nine years ago.
When I first started Shahana Pearls (my former brand) it was a side hustle. It really didn’t have a strong meaning behind it. However, over the years as I've built the brand, that meaning has further developed and is now the reason why I get up in the morning. My vision isn’t just about creating jewellery that inspires confidence and expressing one's individuality. It’s so much more. It’s about helping women become financially independent so they can improve their lives and their families lives. My jewellery allows me to help these women.