In Conversation with: Yambala Designs

Find her designs on: https://www.yambaladesigns.com and IG

Jill:

Yes, it’s so good to have you here. So I’m going to start by saying I’m here with Laudia Yambala am I pronouncing that correctly? And she’s the founder and designer of Jambala designs, a black and vegan, elegant, and handcrafted stones jewelry collection. So the first thing I wanted to ask you was, um, how did you come into jewelry design? And was this something you always set out to do?

Laudia:

It kind of chose me. I started making jewelry because I walked into a jewelry store with a friend and we kind of designed our own little, you know, earrings. And we actually got the people working there to help us. And I got such great feedback from my family and my friends, and they really encouraged me to start selling. And I was like, no way I could never sell this. And so they really encouraged me until like, eventually started selling it and then eventually turned it into a business.

Jill:

Oh, that’s amazing. So, you’d say that your family really inspired you and encouraged you to go into the business

Laudia:

Absolutely. I didn’t even know that I had that talent.

Laudia:

Oh, okay. So what did you originally want to do?

Laudia:

Well, I would say my number one, passion. It is actually immediate thing that I, you know, I went to school for and I’m still, you know, I’m still doing that as well. Um, and kind of focusing a little more, more on my jewelry right now. So it’s still in the works.

Jill:

Yeah. So it’s more than just like a side hustle.

Laudia:

Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

Jill:

I mean, I’m familiar with that with my website. Like I’m a PR in the daytime, but I still pursue journalism as well.

Laudia:

You have to, you have to fulfill your gift and, you know,

Jill:

I love that you came from the Congo. I wanted to point that out because you’re like my home neighbor because I’m originally from Zambia. Yes. Southern African Queens. So how would you say your background and living in places from Congo, but also LA, New York to Texas have influenced yourself and your designs?

Laudia:

I would say that, you know, starting from the Congo, I was influenced just by the colors and just nature really as well. Right. So my biggest influences I would say would be nature and just, you know, the colors over African attires, the landscape, the fruits, you know, the flowers, everything, my travels, you know, and living in Canada and New York, I would say also influenced me because I was able to really kind of pick up on what people like, um, and also be inspired by just nature and culture.

Jill:

Yes. Yeah. The culture is just like vibrant colors. And just like, I’ve seen that in your designs already, like the main stance, but if picked out and just like the ones which sparkle and shimmer, especially,

Laudia:

Yes. Moonstone is my favorite. I right now,

Jill:

Does it change often? Um, you

Laudia:

Know what, I usually kind of stick around, you know, we like what we like, right. So I usually stick around [inaudible] stones, but moonstone is definitely top three, as you were mentioning the shimmer and it’s just so like pretty, and it, and also the healing properties of moonstone, I find I can, you know, really benefit

Jill:

From. Yeah. I’m such, I did one task. You, um, how like is spirituality brought into like your designs? Because I know that you, um, like you cleanse them instead that you do like a special process with them.

Laudia:

Yeah. So spirituality is definitely part of my designs and my lifestyle. And so I definitely try to use that in my work. Um, first and foremost, working with crystals, you know, which are leather nature and God’s jams with healing properties. So that alone adds this virtual aspect. And then I also purify and cleanse them with getting tensions because I want to bless the wearer. I want them to benefit the most from that stone and also to look good. So, so yeah, so spirituality is definitely part of my process, just all the love and healing and the blessing that I pour into it. I really want the people to experience.

Jill:

Yeah. Yeah. So, um, what would you say that is your favorite? Um, because of the spiritual aspect?

Laudia:

My favorite crystal. Yeah. Uh, I would say, I would say just one, can I get more? I would say again, moonstone is my, my top favorite. Um, just because the healing properties, it’s a stone of, um, it’s a foam of new beginnings, so it’s a stone for new beginnings and emotional transformation. And I also love Pearl. Oh, just a very soothing and healing crystal as well.

Jill:

Uh, uh, like I especially loved that when I looked through your website, the prices were quite affordable. I’d say like, not like, um, let’s say like Gabe, but like really expensive, like with Paltrow prices. So it’s quite accessible. Like, did you do that, um, did you do that actively, like consciously to make sure that you go to a certain market?

Laudia:

I did. I did. You know, and I think about stores like Zara, for example, where you can, you know, you can get something at different price ranges, right. So, you know, you can walk in there and walk out with something decent. Well, yes, obviously, and also you can pay a little more and get something, you know, even flyers. So I definitely have the shopper in mind because I’m a shopper, you know, I love jewelry, I love clothes. And so it’s important to be able to have something that people can afford and also give them the option if they want to spend a little more for a higher grade stone.

Jill:

Yeah. That’s a really smart way of like manning your business. I think

Laudia:

You got to think like your shopper think like your audience

Jill:

That’s really good advice. So if you could take me through the process of hand-making each design into reality, because I know that you said, um, might you cleanse them and put like good energy into them, but, um, I read that you picked them out as well. So do you design what you’re going to do? Or like, do you just see it and then know like how you’re going to make it?

Laudia:

I’m kind of just inspired by the crystal itself. So let’s say, I know I’m going to make a rain, but I have no idea what it’s going to look like. So I literally just kind of go with the flow and let the creative juices take over. And the great thing is that every stone is unique. So the stone that you get is the only one like it. And every time I hand pick the stone, it looks different. I can remake it five times and it will never look the same. So I love the unique aspects. I love to get things that, you know, I know only I have, and I want to give that to my customers as well. Um, but my creative process really starts by picking up the crystals. So that’s really, really, really fun because I get to hand pick them and, um, visualize, you know, what that piece is going to look like. So that’s really exciting. And then I cleanse them obviously, and that’s, that’s fun too, because I get to just bless that crystal and I already know that whoever gets to wear it is going to feel the good vibes and then making it as fun too. It’s actually very third Punic making jewelry, you know, I spent hours and hours making it, but it’s, you know, I get a lot from, from the creative process. And then I also love just kind of looking at my final results and just enjoying my art.

Jill:

Yeah. I see. You’d say you’re a very like artsy person, like, obviously you’re creative, but like looking at the design as well. Like you like seeing how the crystal hits, like certain lights and things like that.

Laudia:

Yes, absolutely. You know, and I get to choose which side of the stone I want use. Yes. It’s so fun.

Jill:

I think because you’re into like spiritual crystals and things like that. Would you say that, you know, have you ever like looked into horoscopes?

Laudia:

I know, well, you know what, I used to be very big on horoscopes, but right now I pay more attention on the patterns. And you know, I believe that we can, you can tell a lot about patterns, just the kind of people that I attract. You know, even some of my closest friends or family members usually tend to be, you know, born in a certain month and they usually have certain traits. So I really pay attention to the, um, to the patterns and just the characteristics. And I don’t really read my horoscopes as much as I used to anymore. I try to manifest more consciously.

Jill:

Yeah. I think that’s a really good decision. Cause I know that some horoscopes can be well written by anyone. So it’s just adapated to us. Sometimes it’s from sheer coincidence, then that happens to fit like our persona’s.

Laudia:

True. And as long as you’re aware of yourself and your emotions and what you’re putting out, you can be more aware of what’s coming in.

Jill:

Yeah. Oh, so it sounds like you have like a really good vibe around like your business. Like that’s what you say, that’s the pillar that you’ve built it on or was that like another, um, like when you first started the business, was there a certain direction you wanted to go in? Um,

Laudia:

Yes. I mean, I wanted to eventually, you know, have my own stores all over the world and have everybody wearing unbalanced designs. And so, you know, it’s in the works one day at a time, one step at a time. And as you were mentioning about the good vibes, you know, that’s really kind of the heart of what I do. I’m all about spreading good vibes. Cause I think we all need it, especially now more than ever, we should be just being aware of yourself. So, you know, trying to expand my business and also just expand love and light and just consciousness and self-awareness

Jill:

Yeah. I back also, I love the necklace that you’re wearing is that one of the designs,

Laudia:

If it is, this is [inaudible], which is one of my, one of my favorite, one of my favorite crystals because of the color. And I also have my turquoise, which I absolutely love.

Jill:

Yeah. They’re beautiful. Also, that’s what made me think of African jewelry because of how big they are. It’s just very like eye catching and beat. And so I also wanted to talk to you about, um, how you don’t use animal products in the process. And as vegans at my cousin’s complex now I’ve been vegan for four years. Um, I was quite pleased to hear that. Thank you. And is this something that’s particularly important to you too? Or do you just think it’s a better percent to, you don’t need to test on animals or use their products? Well,

Laudia:

You know, I think it is very important for us to wear things that are clean and also eat and whatever we consume has to be as clean as possible, you know? And so it is very important, um, or the crystals to, um, to have that, uh, you know, that meaning and significance. Um, and so, and also for allergy purposes and just for the person to know, Hey, this is, this is clean, this is pure. You know what I mean? That’s important for me. And so I try to make that a point for the people who are in my jewelry as well. I personally, I’m not a vegan, I tried it, but I am a pescatarian. So I, you know, I don’t need, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s just, it’s important. Why not do something clean if you can. Right. And I think it just makes world, it just makes the world a better place. And especially that I’m working with crystals, it’s important for me, for the material to be, you know, to also be as, as, as pure as, as I can get.

Jill:

Yeah. It’s just a very cool business. I also love the rose courts, the black Onyx and link Jasper stains. They really start to me when I was going to the website.

Laudia:

Yes. And the rose quartz. It’s such a beautiful stone and, you know, it’s the stone for love. So self-love friendship, love, family love, romantic love. And it’s, it’s, it’s also one of my favorite stones and honest is just, you know, just the color and the healing properties. If it’s the stone of itch and protection, pink Jasper is also very, very beautiful. It’s one of my best sellers and it’s also very nurturing and healing style and the color is just,

Jill:

Yes, I’m afraid. It’s just like touching. And so also what was the journey into building your own business? Um, I know you told me about before, about your family, helping you and how, um, it starts off as something you just doing on the side, but now that you really nurture it, um, what would you say was your biggest challenge and also sound and say, it’s amazing that obviously it’s see a black woman liked in this for her herself.

Laudia:

Thank you. Um, I would say, you know, some of my challenges was, you know, things like really being persistent because when you are not working for anybody, but yourself you’d have to give it a percent. So you can’t really afford to slack. Yeah. You have to be on it 24 7, whether it’s like not sleeping or waking up at 4:00 AM. Um, still, you know, that’s, you know, it just comes with the business and also just finding my, um, the place to source my materials, you know, that was kind of a challenge. And I started my business in New York. So just transportation and commuting from one place to the next, with the jewelry was also a little bit challenging and, and trying to understand what my customers really wanted and really kind of paying attention to that and being able to cater. So finding those crystals and everything. So it took, you know, it took a lot of work and it also took a lot of help from my business partner. And like I said, being persistent, being creative, adventurous, and really believing in your product and your gift,

Jill:

How did she meet your business partner?

Laudia:

Um, you know what, it was one of those things where, you know, I was praying about just bringing the right people to my life and, you know, God manifested my business partner and it was, it was really, really a blessing. So I guess I prayed about it and we met,

Jill:

Oh, that literally sounds like a love story.

Laudia:

You know, when manifestation is, is, you know, definitely part of my day to day or weekly, um, how can I say focuses? And so I really believe when you want something and you focus on it, you gotta be ready cause it will show up.

Jill:

Yeah. Um, I love that as well. Like I hear it’s a lot of church teachings that you hear and it kind of is even if you just put it in passing, like he usually eventually what you pray for happens and you just have to be grateful for whenever it happens. Yeah,

Laudia:

Exactly. And how it happens.

Jill:

Yeah. Because it can happen in like different ways that you weren’t expecting. Um, so is there any other entrepreneur or designer that you would, you know, take influence from, or that you admire within this field?

Laudia:

In terms of taking influence from, I think it’s really, you know, the crystals itself and nature and healing. Um, but when it comes to other entrepreneurs that I admire, I mean, you know, it would be anyone from RiRi from Rihanna who, as we know is a billionaire. Yes, yes. Um, right. So someone like Rihanna, who’s really able to, um, harness, master and share her gifts to the world, um, and be, you know, a business woman and, and a visionary and also very creative. I think that that’s amazing. So she’s definitely, um, an entrepreneur and icon that I admire.

Jill:

Oh, yes I love that. And also, um, on that, I hope you don’t mind me saying that. I’ve seen a lot of people say, of course with billionaires, there is the argument that there shouldn’t be, there shouldn’t be anyone with the amount of money, like one singular person. But because I also saw people say that obviously with Rhianna, it’s a bit different because in the fact that she’s, you know, a black woman seeing them be like established in such a big founding with different avenues and for her to be that popular and a billionaire, like, it’s very different to say Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

Laudia:

Yeah. That’s, you know, that’s an interesting point. And ultimately I believe that we’re all born with gifts and when we are able to produce them and reproduce them with the world and we have good intentions while we’re serving, you know, that’s a service to the world and serving a need. Yeah. You know, I don’t think there’s anything, you know, wrong or uncultured with, you know, with being rewarded or compensated for, for your gifts.

Jill:

Yeah. And her services back to people. Who would you say, would you like to see most wearing your jewelry? Um, obviously you must have like a certain section of customers, and audience that you go towards. Um, but also in the sense that he would, you like to see like an icon, like if you’d say Madonna, you’d love to see like one person wearing like your designs.

Laudia:

Wow. You know, I’m going to speak it into existence and it would be again, Rihanna. I would love to see where my designs, um, not only because she’s an icon, but also because, you know, I love her. She’s amazing. She’s fly and she is just such a great representation of black girl magic. She’s got amazing style. And I think she would love my jewelry. Um, and I’d love to make her a custom piece, you know, some flat pieces so she can look good and have that super duper, duper, duper fly energy.

Jill:

I love that. And I can fully see her, like wearing your type of jewelry as well.

Laudia:

Yes, yes. Yes. And when, when it happens, you know, if, when it happens, I will let you know.

Jill:

I’ll be on the lookout. And if you could give one piece of advice to someone that wants to have, make their own jewelry or any products, what would it be?

Laudia:

I would say, do it, do it now. You don’t need much to start just do it, be persistent, have a vision and make it happen. It’s your duty to the world to share your gift to us?

Jill:

Yes, yes. I love that you feel like duty based like to do good. Also, just, I need to compliment your hair because it’s amazing.

Laudia:

Thank you girl.

Jill:

It’s like, oh, is it red?

Laudia:

Thank you. And I love your braids too. Beautiful.

Jill:

So, um, so if anyone wants to like, get your designs is the easiest way just to go on your website?

Laudia:

Absolutely. So they can definitely get my designs from my website, which is WW dot yambala designs.com and also go on Instagram.

Jill:

Yeah. Okay. That’s amazing. Thank you.

Laudia:

Thank you. This was amazing. And I’m very, very grateful for the opportunity and I wish you a lot of success and prosperity in all your endeavors.

Jill:

Thank you so much. And thank you for sitting down and giving me some time of your day, and I wish you the most success as well with your business. I know I’m sure Rihanna is going to wear it. Like definitely. Thank you so much.

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