Written by : Nimisha Khanna
Ria Ana Sejpal & Justine Rae Mellocastro channeled their love for travel and art into their brand The AnaRae Store and it’s nothing short of the two words. Each piece of jewelry has a distinct story and is “handmade by people, not machines”. One thing I personally love about this store is it’s passion to do something for society and go beyond the selling bit. Recently launched, their #JustBeingMe campaign aims at promoting non-discrimination in any form and encourages self-acceptance. And this isn’t the end. These girls have a lot more they want to do to help society and it’s rising issues. AND they ship worldwide! Whaaa?
In my interview with these talented young women, they tell us all about the brand and where they intend to take it. Read on.
Where did the inspiration for The AnaRae Store come from?
Ria : We were having a Skype conversation one day when Justine said she’d always wanted to bring a new sense of style to the world. We started brainstorming immediately, and since we both have a passion for travel, celebration of diversity and an appreciation for art we were naturally driven to create something that reflects that. You have to love what you do, and we don’t believe that mass produced stuff should even be available.. where’s the fun in that?
What is so unique about the jewelry and accessories your brand has to offer?
Justine : The story behind each of our accessories is something that is unique…everyone’s story is. We like to share the stories behind each of our pieces (it’s all on our blog!) because it makes it so much more meaningful to the person who is buying it. Aside from that, each piece is handmade and therefore special, like a fingerprint. We love that and think it’s something that people appreciate.
Does The AnaRae store intend on making a difference to society?
Ria : IN AS MANY WAYS AS POSSIBLE! We are totally against the fashion stereotype of airbrushed models who don’t even look like themselves. It’s detrimental to young girls and women alike, not to mention it’s basically a lie. Recently we’ve seen some brands who have started to use different sized models which is great… however, we want to push these bounds a lot further than most. It’s just not enough for us to say ‘here, throw in a plus size model and that’ll look more real”. We truly believe it is time for everyone to stop being so hard on themselves – we are all unique and beautiful, it’s just a matter of feeling it on the inside and rocking it proudly on the outside. It may sound cheesy, but it’s heartbreaking to see our families, friends, peers and acquaintances expect to achieve a body image based on something that’s fake. For this reason we NEVER, EVER retouch the people who model for us, including ourselves. We also have some exciting projects coming up that celebrate beauty in diversity.
How is the brand different from other accessory brands?
Justine : We make sure that we are as transparent as possible. We want people to see how, when, where and by who all our products are made. We also want to show our customers and fans who WE are as people. The AnaRae Store is not an isolated brand in any way; it is the summation of the people and ideas behind it, as well as what happens as a result of that.
How would you describe the AnaRae girl?
Ria : The AnaRae girl is unashamed. unique and embraces who she is whether people like it or not: she is fearlessly confident. She is kind and considerate of people. She is aware of her impact on the rest of the world and does as much as she can to help people – you know, like the girl who shows up late to a beach party because she was helping an old lady with her grocery bags! She does what she wants on her own terms… she probably can’t resist petting the neighbours dog, warmly smiling at anyone who looks her way, or singing in the shower at the top of her lungs because she can. She is the go getter, the dreamer, the artist of her own life…and she really LIVES: not survives, but LIVES.
What’s in store for the brand in the future?
Both :In short, lots. We are looking forward to our next collection – although the location is still under wraps (for now)!
Give these girls all the loving because they are going to be BIG very soon! Local Ladki can totally see it. Next blog post on some of my favorite AnaRae pieces and how to style them! Stay tuned.
Check out the store :