Hi, I'm Puja, founder and designer of Lai which is a convergence of my three big passions: crafts and traditional skills, jewellery and history.
What is Lai?
In Sanskrit, it means 'the beloved one'. And in old French, it means a 'lyrical, narrative poem written in octosyllabic couplets that often deals with tales of adventure and romance'. And Lai strives to live up to both meanings!
What makes Lai unique is the reinterpretation of world cultures and historical references into contemporary jewellery. Like many of you, I believe that women relate to cultural sentiments and aesthetics at a very deep visceral level, and this isn’t just limited to their own cultures. So, how does a woman express her emotional connect with, say, beautiful Islamic architecture of Central Asia - in modern everyday wear? I felt the need to provide an outlet for that desire - and Lai was born.
Lai is meant for women who are looking for something in between the stereotypical ethnic/tribal jewelry and the ultra modern/minimalist pieces. If you seek beyond 'more of the same' and want your jewellery to be as unique as you, if you cherish the spirit of culture and identity that adornment has always stood for, and if you come alive in the warmth of handcrafted jewellery - you’ll find in Lai a soul you relate to.
Lai subscribes to Fair Trade principles. Most of our jewellery is handcrafted in sterling silver, in Jaipur, India by expert artisans using time-honoured techniques. We also often collaborate with other craft clusters in India, such as the 'Bidri X MCM' or 'Nathdwara' collections, to share our love for these ancient skills with our clients.
Employing traditional craftsmanship to craft contemporary, design-led accessories not only aids in preserving traditional skills and know how, it also enables the artisans to find market access and sustainable employment oppourtunities.
A graduate of India's premier design institute, NIFT, New Delhi, I eat, sleep, and breathe design. For several years, I provided design services to a number of leading Indian and international jewellery houses and won several design awards including those from DeBeers, World Gold Council and Perles de Tahiti. My work took me to remote parts of India in search of collaborations with craft clusters and gave me an opportunity to witness first-hand the magic of century-old art traditions.
Lai is my attempt to bring together all these experiences and great craftsmanship with my own design aesthetic of clean lines, pleasing proportions, and fine detailing.
Apart from enjoying a strong and close relationship with our patrons (you only need to see our Testimonials and Lai Spotting pages), the very generous press we have received for our work also makes the tremendous amount of effort we put into bringing new designs and quality products to our clients completely worth it. We were recently picked by Conde' Nast Traveller, India as one of the top 50 Indian brands that "use traditional techniques and materials to create cool, contemporary fashion" and then again in their ‘Word of Mouth’ section as "born in India, based in the US, these jewellery brands are taking the world by storm".
Since I started on the Lai journey, I’ve found support and inspiration from customers, friends, and so many kindred spirits - thank you for shopping and supporting indie brands! ♡
And if this is your first time here- I can't wait to connect!
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries, suggestions or just to say hello...