By: Susannah Jaffer; Photography by Ken Tan
It takes a mighty dose of courage to take the plunge and make a big career switch – especially one that involves setting up your own business from scratch. Thanks to her background in strategic business and strategy for large corporate companies, though, it’s something that Kanika Mittal, founder of blossoming accessories and jewellery label Taula, handled with serious panache.
Now in its second year of business with an online store and having expanded to a physical shop location at The Central at Clarke Quay, Taula is clearly rocking Singapore’s jewellery scene with its covetable (and affordable!) necklaces, rings and earrings embellished with beautiful gemstones which are snapped up by corporate types, fashion bloggers and style mavens alike.
Proving even more so that she’s one to watch, Kanika has only just gone and bagged second place for ‘Best Jewellery Brand’ at the Brand Digital Excellence Awards 2016, coming in second place to none other than Cartier! We spoke to the savvy mumpreneur to find out more about how she started, and how she juggles work and home life.
What did you do before starting your jewellery business, and what prompted the change?
Prior to Taula, I worked with a number of global corporations like Discover, PayPal and Visa, largely within the areas of business strategy, finance and analytics. I helped companies grow their bottom line and their international footprint.
Having worked in the corporate world in different countries, I gained an insight into what busy women juggling their personal and professional obligations want and need when it comes to fashion accessories. In the past, I’ve worked with various jewellers to craft my own contemporary jewellery designs in 18-carat gold. Friends and co-workers showed strong interest in my designs, and after dabbling in jewellery trade fairs, I decided to go full-time and open up my own physical store.
How have things progressed with the label since you first started?
We started online two years ago, and it’s been quite a journey! We’ve since launched our retail store in Singapore, grown our team, established a showroom in New York for US-based stockists and added multiple product lines such as brass and metal, in addition to 18-carat gold and 925 silver. We’re fortunate and thankful to have received tremendous support from our customers.
As an entrepreneur with two kids, how do you strike a balance between work and home life?
I aspire to achieve balance more in the way I approach tasks than in the hours I spend within each of my roles of mum, wife and business owner. I have the freedom to manage my hours, and that helps a lot with the things like dropping my son off at school, helping with his school work and nursing my newborn. However, the time I would have otherwise spent catching up on my rest and friends, is spent entirely on Taula-related commitments.
I’ve realised and made peace with the fact that I cannot achieve balance every day; based on the need of the hour, one thing may take priority over the other, and that’s OK. This is where the support of your partner and a good team comes in. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a partner who supports you 120 percent with the business and the children, to help you manage what you can’t on a given day.
Is there a motto you like to live by?
Yes. No business, product or endeavour can be successful without the people it touches. I am very people-centred, whether it’s my customers, partners, suppliers, employees or family. Communication is key, and extending everyone the respect they deserve is absolutely critical. We listen to our customers, engage with our partners, invest in our employees and prioritise family.
Tell us about the different designs we can find at Taula.
We cater to those looking for contemporary yet trendy designs. You’ll find colourful gemstones in varying sizes, set in necklaces, rings, earrings or pendants. Colour is one thing that strikes your eye when you see our range – expect to see stones in hues of red, blue, green, pink and much more.
The stones are combined with a variety of metals, whether 18-carat gold, 925 silver or brass plated with yellow, white or rose gold, to achieve a specific look or colour preference and to suit a variety of personal choices and budgets.
Our intent is to keep a wide range so that every customer will be able to find a piece that suits their needs. What’s more, we focus on the customer experience, from the design and selection process to the after-care.
Which are your most popular pieces?
Our necklaces are by far the most requested. We carry them in a range of styles and metals including gold, silver and brass, and they’re embellished with pretty gemstones such as rubies, amethysts, rose quartz and onyx. They are great for an everyday casual, day-to-night look.
Our chunky agate rings, earrings and pendants are also appreciated by customers for their eye-popping colour and unique stone prints, of which no two are alike. Our Radianz cuff also continues to be a customer favourite.
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