Where does the name Velina come from?
VELINA was our mom’s nickname when she was little, growing up in Italy. We decided to call it that because it represents something close to us, part of where we come from.
What inspires the names for the bracelets/designs?
It depends on the stone used in the design. Depending on where that stone comes from, what its properties are … sometimes our designs are inspired by certain cultures; so we tend to pick names that reflect that.
Where do you get you materials?
We have different suppliers we work with. Most of our wood & bone is from the Philippines, and we get top quality stones from all over the world; from Asia, to the Middle East, to Russia, to certain regions of North and South America.
What sparked the dream of starting your own jewelry business?
We’ve always been into fashion and have worked in several boutiques, and were always inspired by the designs around us. Even since we were little, we have always had an interest in doing something entrepreneurial. The jewelry started out as a hobby at first, and the more we did it, the more passionate we became about it.
What types of obstacles have you faced throughout the journey?
It’s definitely been challenging to balance running a business while also still being in school. We refuse to do anything halfway. Which means a lot of late nights of work for us! We're always trying to deliver the best quality in our work, both with VELINA and in our school/work. When you design and create something, there’s a certain level of vulnerability involved when you’re putting it out there. Just to see how people are going to respond to what you create. Initially establishing a brand that is recognized for its high quality was definitely an obstacle. But it’s all the positive feedback that we get from people that continues encouraging us and keeps us going.
How many years in the making was the whole idea?
Well, VELINA is about to celebrate its first birthday this Thanksgiving. Before its launch, we'd say that planning and branding first started about a year before that. But the whole idea of us owning our own business has been something we’ve always wanted to do. That vision of us two working together has always been in the back of our minds.
You spent a summer in Milan, how did that effect your business?
Oh my gosh, in so many ways! This summer was one we’ll never forget. We come from an Italian background, so immediately we felt at home, and we just fell in love with Milan; the city, the people, the lifestyle. Tina took fashion styling courses at a fine arts school, and had the opportunity to work with professional photographers and models in her own photo shoots. She got to learn the aspects of the fashion industry in the fashion capital of the world; it was amazing! She attended private runway shows, learned about different cultures; the school had so many international students. She met such incredible people and made so many new friends; one of them in particular became a great friend of hers, and he is a photographer for Elle Magazine. She was able to incorporate VELINA into her shoots, and she received so much positive response and support from everyone, it was incredible! It really gave us a whole other platform to expand VELINA and increase our network in the fashion industry.
What new things did you learn and experience that may have bettered Velina?
We learned a lot about trend forecasting, and we got to see a lot of what’s next, what’s coming up in the fashion world. So we're able to use that as inspiration when creating new designs.
Tell us a little about the men’s line?
VELINA For Him has been doing great! It started as just a possibility to have a men’s line … we just wanted to try it. The conversations we had with different guy friends lead us to start designing for them. Men’s jewelry is becoming more and more popular, as a means of expression. So we tried it, and it’s been doing really well!
How did it feel to have a celebrity wearing Velina?
Um… surreal! We were in Italy at the time. Tina was checking her email in the hotel lobby when we received the order, and we had to re-read it several times to believe it! It was so incredible to see the photos of Joe Jonas wearing VELINA at his birthday party. We used to have such a crush on him! And to think that now he’s wearing something that we created?! It’s crazy!
You can also check out VELINA in Charming Holiday.
Shopping discount code : CHARMING15 for 15% off