AKN Jewellery

Wearing the right pieces of jewellery for your outfit can make or break your look. Knowing how jewellery compliments each outfit is an important thing to keep in mind when styling.
 
AKN Jewelery is owned by the lovely Suji Narendra. Her collection is sure to have something to appeal to everyone as she keeps her collection stocked with the latest designs while maintaining a traditional feel. We got a chance to interview the founder to find out more about herself, as well as her business.
 

Who is the face behind AKN Jewelry? What makes you as a person? What are you interests and hobbies?

AKN was founded by myself (Suji Narendra) in early 2016. I am a British Tamil, born in Sri lanka and brought up in the UK. I studied Accounting and Finance and now working as a Systems Analyst in the UK Health sector (NHS). I have been married for five years and have a two year old son. I love playing netball, walking, and spending time with my family. Despite working full time and being a mum, I absolutely enjoy every moment I spend working on AKN as it is a passion that I turned into a venture. I consider myself an organized and determined individual who loves to take on new challenges.
 
 
 
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What does AKN stand for? How did you come up with this name?
AKN Stands for Arjun Kiri Narendra, named after my son, my late father, and my husband. I’m very passionate about AKN and wanted a name close to my heart and couldn’t think of anything better than the three most important men in my life. It is also my son’s initials as my son is named after my father.

 
 

How did you get into the jewelry business? Do you have a storefront or are you based purely online?
I have always been very passionate about tradition and culture, however I have never been business minded or thought of starting a business until I visited Canada in March of 2015. In London UK I grew up in Wembley, a city full of Asian culture and shops but it was only on my trip in Canada while shopping with family that I was very inspired by in house services and online services. Upon returning from Canada my husband & I spoke about starting something similar. But like every other person, we also made excuses as my son at the time was not even a year old yet. I was returning to work from maternity leave and just finding time would be hard, so we dropped the topic.  However a few months later, in January of 2016, with a motivational boost from my family, I opened my first social media page on Instagram, sharing inspirational pictures of Asian fashion jewellery. As I wasn’t sure if people would like my choices and styles, my brother in law (Waran) advised me to start off with an inspiration page. The page attracted a lot of attention and positive responses from many followers, and in a short space of time I was able to begin AKN. AKN is 95% an online store, however we do see clients on appointment base but this is mainly bridal clients as we are yet to have a show room.

 
 

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What are some of the difficulties you faced with the startup of your business? How far across the globe are your customers? Do you offer shipping outside of the UK?We have been blessed to have a smooth starting journey with great social media exposure and amazing support from other businesses. However, we only launched our website a year after starting our business. Until our website was up and running, it was slightly hard to get customers to understand we are genuine and we can be trusted. We ship worldwide and have customers all over the world from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Caribbean Islands and many more.

Are any of the pieces you sell your own designs? Are you able to customize pieces according to your clients need?

My collections range between my own designs and hand picked items. The items designed by myself are labelled in my own brand and hand picked are separately branded. We offer customisation of selective items depending on the stones and work required.

Where are your pieces made or sourced? What kind of raw materials go into your accessories?
My collections are made in India (South & North) and depending on the styles we would make it with the relevant workers. Our raw materials range between copper, brass, semi precious stones and many more.

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What kind of trends do you look for when adding stock to your inventory? 
I am all about tradition and culture and I love to explore new designs, but regardless of new styles I love to stay with tradition (Sri Lankan-Tamil). You will see this a lot in my style of jewellery which really focuses towards the Tamil Hindu events and functions. I do stock other ranges however my main focus and large range is towards traditional jewellery.

Can you discuss a current trend now that is very popular, especially among brides?

At the moment brides like to mix and match bridal collections, although we get lots of brides who like it all symmetrical – there is also a large amount who like to explore and try something new and different. There is also the new matte finish jewellery, which is becoming recognized more. The beauty of this piece only compliments in photo’s with a saree, so most brides and customers are not always confident with the matte selections.

What are some upcoming trends you foresee with jewellery for brides? Do you see
anything making a comeback?
Fashion is a cycle, and yes I see many styles coming back into trend. However, I personally feel the traditional Aaraku jewellery would definitely remain in fashion at all times due to the traditional look it gives.
 
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Do you offer rental jewellery or only jewellery for purchase? If you offer rental jewellery, do you offer multiple pieces of the same ones for bridesmaids or siblings?
Yes I offer rental jewellery for bridal wear, so all our rental pieces can be hired by anyone wanting to look for a bridal or semi bridal look. I also do sell bridal jewellery. For rental we only stock one of each design and anyone wanting multiple pieces of the same design (if possible) can certainly be made to order.
 
Are you able to do custom orders? How long in advance would someone need to place an order?
Yes we can customize selective items and it can take a minimum of six weeks.
 
 
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For brides who want to buy their jewellery and still be cost efficient, what kind of pieces would you recommend over others? Are there things to avoid if they want to be budget friendly. For example, would a set with stones be more expensive than an antique set?
I do have brides who prefer to buy their jewellery and these are mainly my European customers. I generally advise clients to buy a full set over mix and matching as this would work out more in cost. Also I recommend copper based sets are more cost effective over the ones with Kundan or Semi precious stones
 
What do you think is an absolute must in a bridal set? What could a bride do without?
Earrings! A bride cannot be complete without earrings. However the rest of the set can be left and still look like a bride with the correct outfit and make up. A full bridal set is never compulsory for any brides, however brides can leave out parts of the set without hesitation.
 
 
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Some people consider mixing pieces a faux pas, while others think it is cheaper to assemble your own bridal set. What is your tip for those who wish to build their own bridal/ accessory sets? What pieces must match?

Its all about being creative so I don’t believe pieces need to match, especially with the recent trend of mixing as we wish. However as a bride I feel some sort of coordination with the outfit and jewellery so they feel and look like a bride.

 

Back in our parents’ times, bridal jewellery meant you wore family heirlooms. What tips do you have for brides today who are required to wear all or certain pieces of their family jewellery? How can they customize their look while still making their family members happy?I have had and still have many brides who wear their familys’ real gold jewellery, we compliment this with a nice head piece and waist chain which normally a bride won’t have.

 

Tell us about a piece you almost didn’t want to sell because you loved it so much? What made you fall in love with the piece?

I had CZ haram in peacock style which I absolutely loved, it was also very high in demand and extremely popular. The detail of the haram and the quality of the finishing made me like it a lot. The item sold instantly when I posted it.

 

 
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Do you have any tips for our brides when selecting accessories to match their outfits? Certain pieces that go well with certain colours, stones vs. pearls, types of metals etc?

Each bride is different and their style and choices are also different. Knowing this, I give two pieces of advice to my brides: 

1. It’s their day and they should wear jewellery they like and feel comfortable in. There is no real rule on what you should and should not wear as a bride so I will advise them on what matches but leave the final choice with them.

2. For the koorai saree, remember that the Thali is the most important piece of jewellery you will wear, and to have jewellery which compliments the Thali – not out do the Thali.

 
 
Name a celebrity who inspires the jewellery you feature in your collection.
Nayanthara is always one of my favourite for style and collections. How collections are paired on her are amazing and she does inspire me to do similar or the same styles.
 
 
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If there is one designer who you would love to collaborate with, who would it be and why?

Sidney Sladen from India. I love his designs ad pieces on many of the celebrities.
 
If you only had to wear one piece of jewelry for a year (without any other) – what would you choose, and why?
My Thali! I’m very traditional and despite having my own collections and store, my respect for my Thali will always be much much higher then any other jewellery.
 

As a business, what are some of your goals for the future in regards to your collection?

A long term goal for me is to have my own manufacturing unit based in UK and fully have my own designer collections.
 
 
 
Video: Black Magic Creations (http://www.nomadteam.com/nw/index.php#home)
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Header Image By: Soozana Pvan (http://www.soozanapvan.com/)
 
Tie • The • Thali would like to thank Suji for taking the time to do an interview with us. Remember, AKN ships worldwide and does custom orders so make sure to check the collection on her website (https://www.aknjewellery.com/) and Instagram (@aknJewellery)
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