Marist College brought Marwa Saadawi and Victoria Azzopardi together as roommates, so it is fitting that they have left the school as business partners. The style-conscious friends — who recall receiving many compliments in school on their similar clothing and jewelry — founded Indira Jewelry, a company that locates and then sells exotic accessories online. They decided to take the leap into the business world while on a Southeast Asian backpacking trip; while there, they reaffirmed their mutual appreciation for the culture. “When shopping during these travels, we realized that the pieces we accumulated were constantly a topic of conversation back home,” the partners said in a recent e-mail. If friends and family appreciated the pieces, they reasoned, others were bound to do the same — and might shell out a little cash for them.
Hence, the pals launched Indira in March of 2011. The line features jewelry pieces that are set in sterling silver and hold semiprecious stones, cubic zirconia, and marcasite. Many of the items are handmade by artisans, a number of whom are based in exotic locales such as Dubai and Bali; others hail from not-so-far-off New Paltz and Hyde Park. The friends create a few of the designs themselves — when they are not busy with graduate school, that is (Azzopardi is pursuing a social work degree at NYU, and Saadawi is working toward a master’s in counseling and personal services at Fordham University).
When asked about the company’s mission statement, the pair explains that “Indira” means “splendid” in Hindi. Each item in their line is meant to convey the individuality of the woman wearing it. Ultimately, each design “brings faraway cultures into people’s lives,” Saadawi says. Adds Azzopardi: “They’ll be wearing something none of their friends have and making a statement.”
See the photo gallery below for more images of Indira’s products. To purchase Indira Jewelry, visit www.indiranyc.com.