Now a resident of California, jewelry designer Gazal Kothari was born and raised in India. When she was a teenager, a special gift sparked her interest in design. “My love for jewelry started off when my grandmother gave me a set of heirloom bangles, which was passed down in our family when I turned 13 or 14. So at that time, [my grandmother] explained how they were made and the entire story behind it—how they were passed on from generations. The bangles were almost a hundred years old. From that point, I saw jewelry not just as an accessory or something that you just wear, but every piece has a beautiful story behind it,” Gazal said.
Once Gazal graduated high school, she enrolled at the National Institute of Fashion Technology India to pursue a design career. “I studied jewelry designing for four years, and I always wanted to create jewelry which has meaning behind it. That’s how I came up with creating modern heirloom pieces,” the designer said.
The creative entrepreneur revealed that before she started her company in India, she couldn’t find affordable, high-quality jewelry that wasn’t too heavy. So, she set out to fill that gap in the market. Gazal designed her pieces and hired craftspeople to make them by hand. “I found my team in India and the artisans. They understood what I wanted, and we created a few pieces together, which got nice media attention while I was in India,” she said. Gazal launched Hyperbole Accessories in 2014 and sold her pieces primarily in her home country.
Architecture and design in India are the designer’s muses
Gazal discussed her inspiration and design philosophy. “My main inspiration was Indian architecture, Indian textiles and Indian colors.” The designer’s vision was to combine South Asian influence with modern jewelry silhouettes. “We only use the Indian jewelry making techniques while creating the piece of jewelry. So even the smallest, for example, our silver tribal hoops are of antique silver, and the carving is found in the Indian heritage like monuments, which are in my hometown. So, I take those motives and combine it with the modern-simple.”
Artisan-made and sustainable jewelry
Sustainability and artistry are important to Gazal. “Our main goal is to create pieces which are 100-percent artisan made. So, they’re small batches and, also, we don’t mass produce. We have now moved to create sustainable jewelry. We only use recycled brass, recycled silver and ethical gemstones.”
Gazal told us that when natural gemstones are harvested, only about 20 percent pass quality check because they are inclusion-free. “We use the rest of the pieces they’re going to throw away for some minor is issue or whatever. So, we use those gemstones. Creating 100-percent sustainable jewelry is a little hard, but we try our best to create however we can and give back to the environment,” Gazal said.
Welcoming the imperfections in handmade jewelry
We talked about perfectionism, and Gazal believes that there’s no room for perfection in handmade jewelry. “Honestly, I don’t strive for perfection because whenever there’s perfection, I feel that it always [means it’s] mass-made. Whenever it is handmade, there has to be imperfection. That is the beauty of handmade jewelry pieces—no two pieces are alike. The beauty is in the human error. Even if you order two pieces for the same design, you’ll find a little human error,” Gazal said. Those tiny imperfections are welcomed by her customers. “Our community feels that it is a unique piece which is made just for them.”
The brand’s big break
We chatted about how Gazal got her Hyperbole’s name out there, which included working with two South Asian influencers. “I started off working with them when they [had] around [a] 20,000-following. They were really kind enough to promote Hyperbole Accessories because they genuinely loved what we designed and the quality and everything behind it. And so that is how the word of mouth took place. So that’s how everything happened—just two influencers,” she said. As of this writing, Hyperbole Accessories has an impressive following on Instagram—36,5000 followers and counting.
Establishing her jewelry business in the United States
After Gazal married four years ago, she moved to California with her husband. “That’s where I’m presently right now, and I am expanding the brand here. People have been absolutely loving [Hyperbole], and they have been supporting whatever we create. It has been a great journey so far for the U.S. market,” the designer said.
Overcoming the jitters of attending her first artisan market in the U.S.
Gazal was used to showing her work at markets in India and experienced her first show in the United States in April 2022. “I was really nervous because it was the first time I did a market in the U.S. All this while, I have been doing markets in India, but it is very different. Once my booth was set up and everything, and when I saw people coming, I just interacted with them. I didn’t care about selling jewelry. I didn’t care about selling my pieces at all. I just wanted them to know what I’m doing, how am I doing it and all things I carry. If they buy pieces from me, it’s great, but if they don’t, I’m fine with it. All I cared about is to share the purpose of what I am doing.” the designer said.
Advice for others on launching a new jewelry business
We asked Gazal what guidance she would give to people showing at an artisan market for the first time, and she replied, “Just share [with] whoever comes what you do, what you’re doing right now. So just share the story, and I’m sure you’ll find your tribe. It is a little hard, a little overwhelming at the start, but you’ll definitely find your tribe [and] the people who love what you’re doing.”
Gazal also shared her advice for makers who want to launch their jewelry business online and finding the courage to start. “You can absolutely get help from outside. It might get a little expensive, but there are things. There are tools and resources online, which can help you with setting up the website and everything. For example, Shopify. Shopify is the easiest thing. You can maintain everything by yourself. You can create your own website. So everything can be doable—just go for it. You will make mistakes, but you learn out of it. You’re never going to lose. You’re only going to learn, that’s all.”
In addition to Hyperbole Accessories’ website, Gazal also sells her jewelry pieces in an Etsy shop.
Dealing with the challenges of running a small business and handling growing pains
Gazal gave us some insight into the day-to-day of running a creative business. She, like many creative business owners, designs her collections and performs several other functions. “I run everything by myself. I just have me and my team of artisans, that’s all. So, every day taking care of your books. Then you have marketing. You are your own social media manager. You are your own inventory person, your logistics. And one day I’ll be shipping orders, and the next day, I’m just talking to someone like I’m giving interviews. I’m just wearing multiple hats,” Gazal said. The jewelry designer described feeling a sense of pride in doing it all. “You are trying to give your best, your 100-percent in whatever you do. I feel satisfactory that I know what is happening with the business, but it is also stressful.” Gazal hopes to hire some administrative help in the future, so she can focus on designing.
Like sustainability, helping others is important to Gazal and part of her business plan. “Every month, we donate our proceeds to give education to underprivileged girls across India. Last year we made sure that we had 15 girls whose one year’s education, like their fourth to sixth grade [studies] were taken care of by Hyperbole Accessories,” said the creative business owner.