I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kirat Sundrani, a local jewelry designer and creator at a Downtown maker fair. We had a great conversation and I wanted to learn more about her business and inspiration, and I knew her story would be a great one to highlight here on FresYes.com where we love to showcase local talent and small businesses. Read on to learn about the jeweler behind the beautiful pieces available through Urban Gypsea.
Kirat Sundrani, the dynamic entrepreneur behind Urban Gypsea, shares her journey from a child fascinated by her mother’s jewelry to establishing her own unique brand.
“My name is Kirat Sundrani and I am the one woman show behind Urban Gypsea Jewelry. As a child, I loved dressing up in my mom’s jewelry. There was something so special about donning my traditional cultural clothing and then choosing from the pieces my mom would bring home from the bank. When I turned 16, my parents gifted me my first pair of “kade.” I still remember going to the jewelry store with my dad and coming home to a surprise party with my first set of gold bangles. They were 14k gold and platinum with five flower like charms hanging from each one— my absolute favorite possession. Sadly, we lost these and a few other heirloom pieces from my great grandmother when our home was robbed.”
“I loved art, but eventually pursued the sciences as a pre med student. After graduating from Baylor University, I taught high school chemistry then moved to study Physical Therapy. After graduating, I became a travel physical therapist and am so grateful for everything this path has brought into my life. It was during this time that I learned about silversmithing from another friend who silversmiths with turquoise. Eventually, I started weaving beaded earrings, and it blew my mind when friends wanted to purchase jewelry I had made. Since then I have grown so much! I do custom jewelry now, make gemstone jewelry, size inclusive rings, metalsmith, weld permanent jewelry, host workshops and so much more!”
Urban Gypsea: Philosophy of Inclusivity and Everyday Elegance
At the core of Urban Gypsea is the belief that fine jewelry should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background. Kirat emphasizes size inclusivity and encourages the daily wearing of her creations, envisioning them as future heirlooms filled with personal stories and memories. “I believe fine jewelry should be used for your everyday and not just for special occasions. Jewelry is an extension of you — so wear it to your heart’s content. Wear it on your adventures, in joyful moments and maybe one day— when it is filled with stories from your life… let it be an heirloom for your next generation.”
The Art of Creation: From Concept to Final Piece
Kirat describes her creative process as starting with a raw idea, sometimes sketched out or directly crafted. Through a series of adjustments and refinements, she perfects each piece, ensuring it aligns with her original vision. She often tests new designs at pop-up events, gauging customer reactions before officially adding them to her collection.
Sustainable Practices and Customization
Urban Gypsea stands out in the competitive market with its commitment to sustainable practices. Kirat uses practices that are as earth friendly as possible. “Our jewelry is created & curated in small batches resulting in limited inventory, but also making sure every piece has a home. We use gold filled, 14k or 18k gold and sterling silver which is all recyclable. I love working with these metals because they are considered waterproof and hypoallergenic. All scrap metal from the making process is melted down to be reused in other pieces and even our nonmetal scraps are sent to the refinery.”
“Our packaging consists of recyclable (and compostable) kraft mailers, a reusable cloth pouch, recycled tissue paper, and is almost 100% plastic free (we are working on the tape). We also offer a recycling and repair program to ensure the quality, longevity and sustainability of our pieces. If your piece breaks— I can repair it for you! And if you decide you want a new favorite piece after a few years, send it back to me to be recycled and receive a credit towards your next purchase.”
Customer Engagement: The Heart of Urban Gypsea
Kirat’s connection with her customers is profound. “My clients are everything and I love to talk and engage with them! Sometimes we choose gemstones together based on certain goals and the meanings of the crystals for their everyday piece. I also make custom jewelry if they have an idea they want to bring to life.” She recounts a memorable experience with a customer named Evelina, who sought a custom jewelry set for her wedding. Discovering shared interests and connections, Kirat designed a bespoke lariat, pearl necklace, bracelet, and earring set, adding a special touch to Evelina’s wedding ensemble.
Overcoming Challenges: Balancing Career and Passion
Running Urban Gypsea alongside a full-time job in physical therapy presents significant challenges for Kirat. “I work full-time, and lately we have been short staffed making my physical therapy caseload increase. Sometimes at the end of the day I find it hard to devote the time and energy I want to everything, because I still have so many life things to do and I’m tired. Being a jeweler is more than just the making, the ideation and the creativity. There is also the marketing, content creation, finding stockists, website, design, planning, shipping and so much more. Having the time and resources to do everything all while balancing life is definitely one of the most challenging parts of running a business. It’s ok though— because I am working towards my dream.”
Milestones and Future Aspirations
A significant achievement for Urban Gypsea has been Kirat’s venture into working with 14k gold, expanding her skillset and product range. Looking forward, she dreams of growing Urban Gypsea into a full-time business, complete with a storefront and studio space. She also shares her excitement about launching the Birth Flower Collection, adding another dimension to her already diverse offerings. “Every month has its own flower, just like it has its own birthstone. My birth flower collection will include necklaces, bracelets and rings personalized to celebrate you! Each flower is hand drawn by me, which is super exciting because I don’t really get to share that side of making jewelry that much. I can’t wait to share this collection!”
Educational Ventures: Sharing the Craft
Kirat’s upcoming jewelry-making workshops reflect her passion for teaching and sharing her craft. These workshops, including a stacking ring and a gemstone ring workshop, are designed for anyone interested in the art of jewelry making, offering hands-on experience and insights into the process. “These classes are aimed at anyone who loves jewelry and wants to use a mini blow torch to metalsmith! You will gain insight and appreciation into the process of handmaking your very own rings.” Workshops will take place in Merced at the Tioga Sequoia Merced Taproom. They will be 3-4 hours in length depending on the complexity of the ring and include a complimentary pint. Class enrollment can be completed using the following links:
Urban Gypsea, under Kirat Sundrani’s guidance, is more than just a jewelry brand. It’s a testament to the power of passion, the beauty of artistry, and the importance of connections. Each piece from Urban Gypsea is a testament to Kirat’s journey, her dedication, and her desire to create not just jewelry, but lasting memories.
Discover the world of Urban Gypsea on their new website and stay connected through Instagram @Urban.Gypsea. Explore the unique collections and learn more about the inspiring workshops poised to share the magic of jewelry making.
FIND URBAN GYPSEA:
Image credit: Urban Gypsea
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