Straits Times Urban - July 2013
One could say that a baby and a holy man led to the creation of designer Shabnam Melwani-Reis' new jewellery line.
The 44-year old Singaporean was feeling overwhelmed after having her second son early last year because it had been 10 years since she had given birth to her first son.
"I was looking for ways to strengthen myself naturally," says the director at local fashion company Jay Gee Melwani Group.
"I remembered that when I was young, my mother had taken us to see a holy man in India who recommend particular stones to people based on the positive energy and healing properties they brought."
For instance, turquoise is believed to protect against negative energy and promote purification and love, Ms Melwani-Reis explains.
With that in mind, the mother-of-two began to look for semi-precious jewellery to wear. But many looked too "new-agey" for her taste she says.
So, she began to create her own simple bracelets. Her friends started to ask about them and, last December, she launched Sun Moon Rain, her line of bracelets using healing stones.
"It was like having two babies at once," she says of the experience of creating her brand.
The line carries bracelets that feature gemstones, such as turquoise, labradorite, citrine and rose quartz, with 18K gold or gold vermeil charms. The pieces are produced in workshops in Bali, Hong Kong and Singapore.
"I wanted to create arm swag that was stylish and soulful," she says.
All the bracelets carry tags that describe the gemstone used and the positive effects it is said to carry. The rose quartz bracelet, for example, offers healing properties related to love, trust and harmony.
The brand name, which is based upon Ms. Melwani-Reis' initials, is also indicative of the brands' philosophy. It references new energy and the cleansing of the negative energy.
The bracelets are stocked at Tribeca in Mandarin Gallery and Pact in Orchard Central in SIngapore, as well as in Bali, Jakarta, Kuda Huraa in the Maldives, Koh Samui and online in Australia.
The bracelets come in two collections - Signature, which start at $99 and Charm, which retails from $350 onwards. Her most expensive design to date has been $1,000 limited edition bracelet with a white diamond angel wing charm.
About half her sales come from the Singapore stores. But it is still too early to give actual figures she says, adding that the seven-month-old company is in the middle of setting up an inventory system to track monthly sales.
Ms. Melwani-Reis says that the new endeavour has been creatively satisfying and different from her past ventures. Previously, as head of communication for MTV Asia and currently at the Jay Gee Melwani Group as director, she promoted established brands.
But with Sun Moon Rain, she is creating it all - the name, the philosophy and the goods - from scratch, and happily so.
Getting direct feedback from customer through social media channels such as Instagram has also been gratifying, she says.
Jewellery has always been emotionally resonant to her. She says the most precious piece in here own collection is her grandfather's vintage watch from the 1940's.
"I never met him but the watch makes me feel like I have a part of him with me," she says. Sun Moon Rain aims to replicate that kind of strong connection, she says.
"The powerful properties of stones make Sun Moon Rain fashion with a heart", she adds.