Mother’s Day is a special time of year for us here at ISHKA. As a family-owned and operated business, we truly value the amazing family connections that support and nurture our brand.
You may already have seen a few ‘Mums of ISHKA’ social posts that celebrate the many amazing mums in our diverse and vibrant ISHKA family.
So in keeping with all the Mother’s Day love we’re sharing, here we’d like to share an extra-special mother-daughter relationship from within our extended family. One that’s quite unique to ISHKA!
Meet Wayan (pictured at front), one of our wonderful jewellery suppliers based in the Balinese village of Celuk. Her daughter, Winda, works for ISHKA too - as one of our fashion and jewellery models.
What is amazing about Wayan and Winda’s story, is that neither knew they were both working for ISHKA at the same time!
We sat down with Wayan and Winda in the studio and talked about the 25+ year history of Wayan’s jewellery business, and what life was like for Winda growing up in and around her mum’s shop. (Lucky for us, Wayan was on a very rare trip to Australia at the time, and it was also the very first time Wayan had ever seen her daughter working on a photoshoot!)
Winda, what brought you to Australia?
Winda: I came to Australia about 3 years ago to study business management, and I plan to apply for my permanent residency here. The modelling thing happened so randomly. I was just on a tram one day and a guy came up to me and was like, ‘Do you want to do modelling?’ And I thought, ‘Sure, why not!’ But in the end I found out he was a scam artist. But it did actually give me the idea to give modelling a try!
When you began modelling with ISHKA, you had no idea your mum supplied many of our jewellery pieces, is that right?
Winda: Yes, that’s right! Mum told me once she supplied her jewellery to a Melbourne retailer, but I never really knew who it was. The story is quite funny - before modelling for ISHKA, I knew one of your photographers. When I looked at his work one day, I recognised some of the jewellery pieces as being just like those my mum sells. I asked him where they were from, but he wasn’t sure.
It wasn’t until I actually got the job with ISHKA, which is actually my first ever proper modelling job, when I phoned Mum and told her the exciting news. When she asked who I got the job with, and I told her ISHKA, she was like, ‘Wait. What! No way!’ It was pretty funny.
Wayan, Celuk is well known as a hub for goldsmiths and silversmiths. Could you tell us a little about your jewellery business based there?
Wayan: My husband and I got married in 1992 and started the business slowly from then. We now employ around 100 jewellery smiths from different families. These jewellery smiths work in their own homes about an hour away from Celuk. Each worker gets to work with their families around, where they can sit together and the family members often help with things like bagging up and cleaning the jewellery.
What is life like in Celuk? Has your village changed much over the years your business has been there?
Wayan: There are many ceremonies held in Celuk. Every day we do the offering at the start of the day. These offerings are called ‘canang sari’ (this translates roughly to ‘basket of flowers’). These are small open boxes made of palm or banana leaves, and inside you can place flowers, a bit of money, food or incense. We then pray for about 30 mins. After this we then go to work for the day.
It used to be a lot of dirt roads around the village, a more simple village. These days there is more development happening, not just from the jewellery trade though. There are many makers who come here, they make new buildings and new businesses. A lot of people say Celuk has changed too much, but it actually still feels the same to me.
Some of the jewellery pieces you sell are incredibly detailed. Is the work all done by hand? How long do pieces take to make?
Wayan: Yes all the work is done by hand. Sometimes it can take one whole day to make a piece, sometimes two weeks or even four weeks, depending on the level of detail involved. The jewellery is made in steps, with one smith focusing on their own step in the process. This means that one piece of jewellery is made by many different hands, each applying their own knowledge at different stages.
Do you find that the expertise of the jewellery smiths is passed down through the generations?
Wayan: Yes they do. And that’s why the detail behind the pieces are so beautiful, because it is taught over many years, with the knowledge being passed down from the parents to the children.
How did you come into the business, Wayan? Does your family have a history in the trade?
Wayan: My husband’s family have a history in the jewellery trade, but more from a retail background. When we got married, we decided to begin a wholesale business. Now we have customers from all around the world, and we do a lot of business with India.
You supply many different designs that feature beautiful gemstones. How do you source these gemstones?
Wayan: Mostly from India we source the gemstones. In Hong Kong they hold these very big gemstone fairs, so we will go there to see what is available and popular. Some gemstones are popular in different countries. In Brazil, they like coral designs. In Australia we sell many gemstone jewellery designs, with pearl being quite popular.
Out of the many jewellery designs you see Wayan, is there a particular one you like most?
Wayan: It’s very hard to choose favourites! But I do like pieces with large gemstones, particularly moonstone and labradorite jewellery.
Winda, how did you find growing up around your mum’s jewellery business? Were you always surrounded by jewels as a child?
Winda: When I was younger, mum’s shop was literally my playground! Our house was at the back of the shop, so us kids were always around.
It’s funny though, because I’m not the girliest of girls and I don’t actually wear jewellery that much. So when I was growing up I was seeing all this jewellery around me and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I was pretty into basketball actually, maybe that’s why!
Also, Balinese women don’t really wear much silver jewellery, nothing like here in Australia. It’s slowly becoming more in fashion there though.
And now you have your degree in business Winda, will you have any input in the family trade?
Winda: Haha! Hashtag #whatnow?!
Wayan: Yes, well maybe she could be the face of our business!
Winda: Well honestly, having spent the last few years in Australia - I have more of an appreciation for my mum’s jewellery these days. I notice there are some jewellery places here that are quite expensive, and the pieces aren’t even real silver.
So now when I go back home to visit my family in Bali, it’s like, ‘YASSS’...I get so excited about all the beautiful jewellery I can bring back with me, and show off to my friends!