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For jewelry designer and Mana Culture co-founder Jahnavi Sievert, traveling to distant lands has provided the ultimate inspiration for her boho-chic creations -- and her business philosophy. Exploring Southeast Asia as a child, Jahnavi can remember designing her own pieces at a very early age, drawing artistic influence from the culture, the energy and the natural splendor that surrounded her.
Living a simple lifestyle in Southeast Asia with her parents also influenced Jahnavi’s early designs. The profound serenity and carefree spirit of the spiritual community in which she grew up would be a recurring theme in her future creations. Without the distraction of material things, she drew endless creativity from the earth and the sky. Her fascination with metal and stone began. And her communion with life’s greatest designer -- Mother Nature -- deepened.
“I grew up with the understanding that nature was family. It was joy. It was beauty. And it could supply everything you need -- from raw material to inspiration -- for amazing design.”
Jahnavi’s passion for globe-trotting and jewelry-making continued well into early adulthood. A fated trip to Hawaii led her to meet, and later marry, surf enthusiast Jonathan Sievert. In addition to their love for travel, they shared a deep respect for nature and artistic expression. Together, they traveled the globe, often searching for the perfect wave and always seeking out design inspiration. In each place, they’d walk through the local markets, reveling in the sumptuous textures, materials and colors the artisans used.
Another fated trip, this time to Austin, Texas, was the catalyst that took Jahnavi’s part-time passion into full-blown family business. Just before Christmas 2008, Jonathan and Jahnavi decided to sell a few of the creations that they had made during their travels. They spread out a clean bed sheet on a city sidewalk and laid out their pieces. That day, was a great success, and they were over whelmed by positive feedback. Taking this success as a sign from the universe, they quit their jobs soon after to focus exclusively on building their jewelry business.
One year after that serendipitous sidewalk sale, Mana Culture opened its first brick and mortar store in Austin, TX. A second Austin store opened in 2013. Mana Culture now has a total of three brick and mortar stores in Austin; a thriving online store; a powerful mobile selling channel exclusively for public events and festivals; and a wholesale business.
To decide on a name for their family business, Jahnavi and Jonathan once again drew inspiration from the cultures they were exposed to during their travels. In Hawaiian and Tahitian culture, Mana is a form of a spiritual energy and healing power that permeates the universe.
Most of Jahnavi’s creations incorporate natural materials that possess their own "Mana." Quartz, tiger’s eye, emerald and many other ancient gemstones used in Mana jewelry represent powerful metaphysical and restorative properties. A striking fusion of these expressive minerals, organic form and sculptural design gives each piece a unique, excavated-from-the-earth appeal.
To this day, Jahnavi excels at creating a beautiful tension between raw and refined, resulting in jewelry that can be best described as the embodiment of “barefoot elegance.” At home in her Austin sanctuary, Jahnavi continues to design for the laid-back, modern gypsy -- the free spirit who likes to wander, to dream and to just chill. She designs for the woman who wants to send a confident, yet carefree signal. She designs for the woman who wants to look stunning, whether she’s in a beach sarong or slip dress, and whether she’s in Birkenstock sandals or stilettos.
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Where did you grow up? I grew up in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma with my mom, dad, three siblings and a family dog named Mocha ;) What were some primary themes of your childhood? Family was a strong theme. I spent most of my time doing activities with my siblings. I was heavily involved in basketball growing up and throughout high school. I feel like my childhood could easily be compared to a Disney movie, it was nothing short of magical and was filled with lots of creative activities and outdoor adventures. Major style/fashion influences? Drawn to flowy fabrics and beach ready clothing. I would definitely categorize my style as bohemian, and am an avid collector of crazy bell bottom print pants. Whats in your discman right now? Currently listening to the ODESZA album Current style crush? instagram.com /the_salty_blonde Favorite beach in the world? KAUAI, sunsets at Hanalei Bay are beyond magical favorite travel destination you dream of going to Bali, Indonesia
Where did you grow up? I grew up on a farm on the outskirts of Goiania, Goias in Brasil until I was five, then we moved to Austin, Texas. What were some primary themes of your childhood? The Earth provides - We used to eat and drink only what we or our neighbors grew; if we wanted to have fun, we'd go outside and play in the trees or with the animals. I wouldn't change my childhood for any other. Major style/fashion influences? If it's comfy and it's cute, I'm buying! When I was younger I fell in love with The Olsen Twins sense of style... I've never fallen out of that. However now I am also very inspired by Iris Apfel. What's in your discman right now? Either an Odesza playlist or Chance the Rapper. Current style crush? Mary Kate Olsen...she's such a hot mess I love her! Favorite beach in the world? When I stayed in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, we rode bikes 6 miles out one day and ended up on a beach with zero people. It was lined by a maze of palm trees, hundreds of them, holding fresh coconuts galore! I've never seen anything like it, but unfortunately if it has a name I don't know it. Favorite travel destination you dream of going to? Thailand is at the top of my list right now.
Where did you grow up? Houston, Tx What were some primary themes of your childhood? Surfing small mushy waves in Galveston, Tx and dreaming of the blue monsters from Hawaii, running barefoot on the bayou, camping on the beach, always burning stuff. Major style/fashion influences? Hawaiian surf culture, all the way. What's in your discman right now? Lifelike - so electric Current style crush? Bodhi from Point Break(the original, duh) Favorite beach in the world? Cacaluta, Oaxaca, MX, we drove through papaya fields for hours, had to walk several more hours through desolate coast before arriving at the beach. Almost a mile of pristine white sand beach, not a single building or footprint Favorite travel destination you dream of going to? Kathmandu, Nepal.