Alisha Datwani of Alaya Jewelry
What Does Being South Asian Mean to You?
Growing up, most of my style inspiration came from the immediate world around me — which, unfortunately, didn't look like me. Like many immigrant kids, the love for and expression of my culture grew over time, and it's an honor to be a part of that space now. While representation is still limited, I've found such a supportive community among other South Asian entrepreneurs. Although my pieces are not inherently Indian, I've found a way to weave that side of me into the product details as a nod to my heritage. It's a part of the brand that made me feel like I could be myself. My culture is truly what fostered my entrepreneurial spirit in the first place.
What Does It Mean to Have Style Right Now?
Style is about how the pieces you choose make you feel, especially right now when the opportunities to express yourself are limited. Getting dressed up for the first time this summer felt so good and normalizing. Pulling together an outfit and accessorizing is a form of self-care to me. For the first time in a while, I felt like myself. That's really what style is — whatever makes you feel like the best version of yourself.
The Best Piece of Career Advice You've Gotten?
Just because this is where you are now doesn't mean it's where you have to stay. As a one-woman team making decisions about my business, there is definitely a sense of permanence to things — whether that's my choice in packaging or site design. Letting go of that and learning how to iterate and adapt has been so important for me. There's never going to be a point where everything is perfect, but that's the beauty of growing a small business.
Something You Wish You Knew Before Starting Your Business?
Every win is just the beginning of the next challenge, and if you look at everything as a beginning, you will always strive for more. Initially, this mentality was a struggle for me, but over time, I've embraced it as a part of the process. At times, it may feel like you can never really turn off because there's always more — something bigger, something better. I'm learning the very important lesson of just slowing down for a minute and celebrating the little wins. Entrepreneurship is all about resilience.
Shop The Brand: Alaya Jewelry