Posted on 20th Jul 2015
Couture Rani, an editorial and fashion blog focused on telling the stories of Indian artisans and designers, recently published a "Behind the Brand" article on Sage & Stone's founder, Anita Mawji. The interview centered around Mawji's unique inspirations and her journey to becoming one of Hollywood's favorite up and coming designers.
Anita Mawji handcrafting Sage & Stone jewelry
"I was born in Mumbai, India and lived there until I was thirteen. In 1985 I moved to New Jersey with my sister and lived with my grandfather who raised us. I went to Rutgers Business School and graduated with a degree in Finance. I did finance and banking in New York for approximately six years. I later moved to digital advertising sales and revenue strategy for online start-ups and other established media companies such as Yahoo! When September 11th happened, I was in Manhattan watching the second tower come down. It was a wake up call to do something more meaningful with my life. Until then, my work was purely about being financially independent, so it was all about being able to pay my bills and put myself through college. But after September 11th, the work that I was doing, the grueling hours that I was putting in started to seem a little meaningless and I felt the urge to find something more soul fulfilling. I started taking yoga during that time to combat stress. I started realizing that I wanted to do more yoga but I never had the time due to long work hours. A couple of years later, in fact, two years to that date, I quit my corporate job at Yahoo...I got certified to become a yoga teacher and pretty soon after that, we moved from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA. I’ve been teaching and practicing yoga ever since."
A lifelong fascination with stones and inspiration from her Indian upbringing ultimately helped Anita realize her passion for jewelry design. She described her first encounter with outsider appreciation for her craft when a sales associate at Calypso St. Barth saw a piece she created and insisted she sell her items in the store. Her fortune continued when an A-list celebrity yoga student of hers bought a hand chain Anita had made and worn in class. According to Anita:
"That was when I realized that this could be something much bigger. So, I cut down on my yoga teaching hours and decided to focus and brand my line. At the time, it was called something else. So, I really had to think about what I wanted to call it, the meaning behind it, and how it was all going to come together."
Hand chains Anita has created for Sage & Stone
The passion Anita instills in her pieces and the spiritual meaning behind each one is evident in the line's branding as well. For example, when asked how she came up with the name "Sage & Stone," Anita answered:
"There are actually a couple of layers to this answer. When I was in my very first yoga teacher training program, we did a lot of creative work to help us tune in to our creativity. One of the exercises was a free form drawing session. And in that session, I drew a store and the name of the store was Sage. That’s what came out of me and that’s what I wrote down. A while later, while I was pregnant, I was sitting at dinner with a friend and she was talking about her friend named Sejal. All of a sudden a light bulb went off inside my head and I asked her, “is Sejal an Indian name?” And she was like, “oh yeah, it’s a very Gujarati name.” My husband is Gujarati, I didn’t have a name picked out for my daughter yet, so I was like, perfect! We can name her Sagel and Sage can be her nickname. Later on, when it came to naming the line, I wanted to name it Sage and something. One night, over a cocktail, my friend said, ‘how about Sage & Stone?’ It was the perfect name because I work with stones, my husband and my daughter, Sage are my rocks, ‘sage’ means wise and we use it for cleansing and these stones take hundreds if not millions of years to form, layer upon layer. So the ancient wisdom, the cleansing properties, all of that just made perfect sense and the name Sage & Stone came together."
Anita Mawji and her daughter Sagel --- one of the inspirations behind the name Sage & Stone
To read the full article and learn more about Anita's journey with Sage & Stone, click here
All images and quotes are the property of Couture Rani.