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Empowering Elegance: Priya Faith Redefines Affordable Solid Gold Jewellery with Umara

In our interview, Priya shares the significance of Umara’s name, her commitment to quality, and the brand’s philanthropic initiatives. She unveils the meticulous process behind crafting Umara’s jewelry and provides a glimpse into the fusion of traditional techniques with modern designs.

We had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Priya Faith, the visionary founder behind Umara, a trailblazing brand that is redefining the world of affordable solid gold jewellery. Priya’s unwavering passion for gold, nurtured by her grandparents, combined with her entrepreneurial drive, has propelled her to create Umara, bringing the allure and cultural significance of Indian gold to a wider market.

In this exclusive interview, Priya opens up about the inspirations that sparked the birth of Umara, her unwavering commitment to maintaining exceptional quality without compromising affordability, and the remarkable social initiatives driving the brand’s philanthropic endeavours. Priya shares the profound meaning behind the name Umara and how it beautifully aligns with the brand’s ethos, emphasising the enduring value and empowerment that each jewellery piece represents.

Join us as we delve into the world of Umara with Priya Faith, a creative force breaking barriers and transforming the landscape of affordable solid gold jewellery. This interview is a must-read for all jewellery enthusiasts, social impact advocates, and those inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit that drives positive change in our world.

What inspired you to create Umara and bring solid gold jewellery to the market at affordable prices?

Umara was inspired by my grandparents; without them, it wouldn’t exist. They started giving me Indian gold when I was very young. While many consider gold a luxury, it is almost a necessity in Indian culture. Many Indian families begin collecting gold for their daughter’s marriage on the day she’s born. And once she’s married, the gold becomes her financial security for her new life. So, passing down gold is an act of empowerment for many South Asian women.

I have always had a love for gold. But as a twenty-something freelancer, purchasing new pieces felt unattainable until I started shopping for gold in India. I quickly realised that gold was more affordable in India and slowly started buying investment pieces.

Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I recognised an opportunity. After contemplating the idea for a few months, I decided that the potential rewards outweighed the risks of building Umara. So, in 2020, I invested my life savings, which would have been my house deposit, and got to work. In March 2022, I spent a month in India at the house my grandad built (a time I’ll cherish forever), working on our debut collection before launching at the end of April last year.

Can you tell us more about the significance of “Umara” and how it aligns with the brand’s ethos?

Umara, which means “lifetime” in Punjabi, was chosen because it aligns with our ethos of creating quality products that will last a lifetime and beyond. Education is a key pillar of Umara, and I want to empower our community to make informed jewellery purchases.

When I shop, I consider the cost per wear of a purchase and invest in quality pieces that I can wear repeatedly. I have solid gold earrings that I’ve worn every day for years, and they still look brand new. So, when you consider the cost per wear, it becomes an excellent investment.

What makes Umara’s jewellery more than just a purchase, and why do you believe gold is a gift like no other?

For many of us, jewellery holds both sentimental and monetary value. As both of my grandparents are no longer with us, having pieces of jewellery from them is incredibly special to me, and future generations will also experience that sentiment. What could be better than a gift that lasts forever?

As I mentioned earlier, giving gold is also a gift of security and financial independence that many South Indian women wouldn’t have otherwise. That’s why it’s so much more than just another purchase; it’s an act of love.

Could you share some insights into the process of crafting Umara’s jewellery in India?

In India, my partner, who is a GIA gemologist and gold expert, works alongside highly skilled artisans. These artisans have been handcrafting and finishing gold jewellery for decades, using specialist techniques passed down through generations. It’s truly an art form. We have combined these traditional techniques and skills with modern designs for our collection. Currently, our designs lean towards a more contemporary style, but in the future, I aim to incorporate more traditional Indian influences and pieces.

How does Umara ensure that its gold jewellery is accessible and affordable without compromising on quality?

Many jewellery brands mark up their products as much as 1000%. However, our margins are a fraction of that, even for the same quality. Some brands retail gold-plated and vermeil jewellery at similar prices to our solid gold pieces, which results in exorbitant margins. Instead of misleading customers and charging unnecessary premiums, I made it my mission to prioritise fair pricing and transparency at Umara.

Our prices are primarily based on the weight and karat of the gold, diamond carat, and manufacturing costs, which include hallmarking at the London Assay Office. As per UK requirements, all our products weighing over 1 gram are hallmarked to guarantee the fineness of the gold. So, when purchasing solid gold, always look for the hallmark.

Where do you see Umara five years from now?

To be completely honest, in the current climate, my main focus is on survival. While I would love to work on new collections and collaborations, my immediate goal is to generate a steady monthly income and reinvest in Umara.

Looking at the bigger picture, I have numerous visions for where we’ll be five years from now. From working with upcoming designers to launching new collections and collaborating with other brands, I have big ambitions. However, my ultimate dream is to be in a position where I can make a real difference in India through the Umara Pledge.

Can you talk about any philanthropic or social initiatives that Umara is involved in?

As Umara takes from India, it is important for us to give back as well. Through the Umara Pledge, we continuously support carefully selected charitable causes. From funding education to providing medical care in remote villages, a percentage of our profits will go towards making a real difference. While we are still a long way from turning a profit, I am committed to giving back wherever possible.

Our current campaign involves donating £25 from every purchase to Unique Homes, an all-girls orphanage in Jalandhar, Punjab. I personally visited Unique Homes in 2018 and witnessed their incredible work first-hand, so it is a privilege to support their mission.

What advice would you give someone considering starting their own brand?

Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before launching because perfection will never happen. Put your concept out into the world and build from there. As a freelance marketing consultant who has worked with startups and well-established brands since 2016, I still learn something new every single day with Umara. There will be days when you want to give up, moments of regret, and plenty of tears, but you owe it to yourself to keep showing up. So, build a support network, take care of yourself, and keep going.

Our readers love to travel; which destinations are at the top of your bucket list?

The list of destinations is endless, but at the top of my list are Colombia & Panama, Tahiti, and Tanzania. I am also looking forward to returning to India and exploring more; Jaipur and Rishikesh are on the agenda for my next trip.

What does self-care mean to you?

Over the years, self-care has become more holistic for me. As founders, we are often told to pour everything into building our businesses, but I believe in balance, even when it comes to pursuing our dreams.

While I am dedicated to investing in my business, I recognise that it cannot exist without me being at my best. I consider things like my Shreddy membership, therapy, and screen-free getaways as investments in my business as well. If you don’t take time to rest, your body will eventually force you to, and I learned that the hard way.

On the flip side, sometimes self-care means being productive and accomplishing tasks that you may have been putting off. Trust me; you’ll feel better once it’s done! Since I am juggling my freelance work and Umara, I track everything I do and time-block my days. While it may seem mundane, it is an essential element of self-care for me.

Where can people find out more?

You can visit our website at weareumara.com and follow us on Instagram at @weareumara.