Kanyaka: Celebrating women around the world

diversity, black women, all the same“Kanyaka” means fierce warrior goddess. The name has its roots in Hindu mythology’s Goddess Durga – celebrated for her strength and resilience.

The name seemed wonderfully apt for a brand with the core ethos of empowering and celebrating women!

Having been in the corporate world for over ten years, I was itching to start something of my own for a while. The idea for Kanyaka really came from the fact that as an avid jewellery enthusiast, I couldn’t find a single brand that catered to different styles of jewellery. While I loved big, alternative statement necklaces, I also, for instance, loved minimalist stacking rings and couldn’t find them at the same store or with the same brand. I wanted to create a one-stop shop destination for all types of jewellery needs.

Having spent a decade as a data strategist for big brands, I knew that tech can play a pivotal role in the future of design. Combine the need for a single destination with the potential that technology has to inspire design and enter Kanyaka – We have pioneered an innovative and unique trend forecasting methodology using big data and predictive tech, and we’re launching a jewellery brand utilizing this tech to inspire design.

While ideating the core concept behind Kanyaka, I was doing a MSc in International Strategy and Diplomacy at LSE IDEAS, with a dissertation on Big Tech and democracy. This proved to be the best possible environment to launch a start-up not only because I was surrounded by women who had achieved so much in their respective fields, but also because my dissertation allowed me to think more deeply about how technology can have a positive impact on the world.

For our launch, we are showcasing five collections, each inspired by the styles and stories of unstoppable and inspiring women from different parts of the world and different walks of life. We see women like Sheryl Sandberg or Malala celebrated as examples of how far women have come in their respective fields on the world stage. A lot is written about them – their stories empower and inspire millions of girls and women globally. But there are so many inspiring stories out there that have not yet been heard and that might never make it into the public sphere – the stories of everyday women, who might not be world leaders or global icons, but are warriors in their own right. Kanyaka wants to celebrate these “every day” warriors. For the premiere collections, I wanted to feature women who have had a deep personal impact on me. Each piece of jewellery tells the story of our friendship and the grit, resilience, defiance, and strength that makes these women enormously inspiring. In this manner, Kanyaka also provides a platform to tell the stories of these modern-day warriors and celebrate them.

As the brand’s core ethos is empowering and celebrating women, we want this to be reflected in every part of our business. All our packaging materials, such as the boxes and pouches, and even some of our merchandise is made by women artisans in need of support in rural areas of India and Africa. Not only does this help with supporting indigenous crafts, but also with providing much needed additional income for women in these communities. Additionally, we are committed to partnering with women-led businesses – our manufacturers and NGO partners are all women led.

With every collection we launch, we’ll feature more women whose stories need to be told and empower more women who need our support.  Through Kanyaka, we want to create a sustainable supply chain that empowers women every step of the way powered by cutting edge technology. This mission is deeply personal for me as I’ve had such amazing, strong women to look up to my entire life and it gives me tremendous joy to be able to celebrate women through this platform.

About the author

Nandita Goel is the founder of Kanyaka, and an alumna of the Executive MSc in International Strategy and Diplomacy at LSE IDEAS (The London School of Economics’ foreign policy think tank, and #1 ranked university affiliated think tank in the world). Kanyaka will launch in the UK in summer 2020.

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