How this 26-year-old turned her love for jewelry into a business
Starting your own business and investing in jewelry are two things you'd probably want to do in your later years. But one girl boss is doing exactly both at just 26 years old. Meet our very first SHEeo of the month, Shelly Macatangay, founder of Hiraya Jewelry.
More than a derivative of the Cebuano original word harayà, which means imagination or wishful thinking or to empower one's dreams to turn into reality, inspiring her brand name, it seems that that word also reflects the journey of this newly-minted entrepreneur when she bit the bullet this year and finally started her own business.
"Something that you don't see so often. I want that to be the backbone of Hiraya," was what the young owner answered when asked about her thought process when it comes to her brand. "But it's also important for me to include basic pieces that will be appreciated by minimalists. I try to have a good mix of both spectrums," she added. Being a new player in the game undoubtedly comes with adversities but providing the solution for the current gap in the market seems to be working for the brand.
Holding true to being a modern woman who does it all, Shelly simultaneously also does her day job as a key accounts manager at Zomato where she handles advertisement partnerships with restaurants and hotels, along with manning her own brand.
We caught up with Shelly as we kick-off our monthly series, aimed to feature stories of women-centric businesses. Below, the SHEeo shares when her love for jewelry started, why she thinks you can definitely afford to buy your first diamond piece right now, and how being a part of The Club finally made her decide to launch her brainchild.
Congratulations on your launch! Could you tell us a little bit more about Hiraya?
Hiraya Fine Jewelry is a brand that curates earth-mined diamonds and authentic gold jewelry for women who want to invest in pieces that can be passed on to different generations. We want your Hiraya pieces to accompany you to all your festivities- from beach trips to gala nights. And most importantly, we want to educate and empower women that investing in real jewelry is not impossible even at a young age.
Craftsmanship is ever present in your pieces. Have you always been so keen on details?
Yes, I always eye for unconventional designs ever since I got into collecting fine jewelry. The piece doesn’t have to be grand or huge, all it takes to draw attention is that one feature that’s out of the box. It can be a tiny tweak but makes a world of difference. When curating for my personal collection, I always ask myself “Is this design present in most jewelry boxes?”. If the answer is no, most likely I won’t be able to sleep until I buy that! (Laughs)
Can you recall when your love for jewelry started?
My love for fine jewelry started in 2017 when I was first introduced to earth-mined diamonds by my friend. Since then I’ve been investing in pieces that are unique in design and high-quality yet reasonably priced. I realized that you can own diamonds even at a young age if you really want to because not all diamonds are worth six figures. To put it simply, if you can buy the latest Apple or Samsung gadget, you can definitely buy your own diamonds.
My mom also passed down some of her jewelry to me and you know how moms are usually like 'O, these are real ha. Please take care of them.' I guess that struck me also 'cause imagine, each heirloom piece, ilan na na-witness nila na events and yet they shine like they're brand new. I find it very interesting to own real jewelry and the fact that I can be careless while wearing it because I know it's not gonna tarnish.
Do you have any style icons?
My style icon is Heart Evangelista. I love how she pairs non-matching pieces to come up with her own stack. This resonates to my personal style as I pair my jewelry depending on my mood and I love to stack the ones you usually think won’t go well together.
You also love to travel. Does that influence your designs?
Yes, definitely. I love the clean and minimalist designs found in Japan and the peculiar jewels found in LA and NYC flea markets. Combining these designs is the perfect juxtaposition!
Can you take us through the creative process of curating the pieces?
We currently have 10 pieces, all curated from our trusted jeweller. I choose pieces that are unique in style. I don't design my own pieces, although initially that was my plan. I have yet to dive into the world of jewelry designing in the future!
How would you describe the Hiraya girl?
A Hiraya vixen will be someone who is sultry but refined, prim and proper but careless. Basically, a woman who can do both. She doesn’t need to make an effort to be noticed because her aura just radiates.
What would you say is the most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
For me, it’s creating content. I find it hard to come up with the right mix of photos and videos that my target market will engage with. Honestly, I’m at the trial and error stage and I’m finding the right balance one post at a time.
How did The Club help you in realizing your business and finally launching it?
Joining The Club was the nudge I needed to jumpstart my brand. I always have business ideas floating in my mind but I can’t seem to have the courage to start even one because I felt like I was not capable of launching my own brand. With the SHEeo’s Masterclass, I became more confident and learned how to start the groundwork. Had I not taken this masterclass, Hiraya would probably still be in my mind right now.
What is it like to be a SHEeo Society Member?
It’s like having sisters but they are very supportive, loving and caring. Not like Cinderella’s stepsisters. This is the support system where we can be ourselves, raise each other's frequencies, and share what empowers us in the hopes that it will do the same to other club members.
What’s the best thing about being a SHEeo of your own business?
I get to challenge myself to achieve more and be more. It’s not just Hiraya I’m improving and building, but also myself. Whatever knowledge I acquire for Hiraya, there’s always an aspect in my life where I can apply those learnings.
What advice can you give to aspiring SHEeos?
Just go for it! Don’t wait until you’re ready because you’re never going to be 100% ready. Start your passion project and you’ll figure out the rest as you go. Send your energy to the universe and you’ll notice that opportunities will present itself at your doorsteps.
Written by Chin Ann Obiedo; Shot from home by Shelly Macatangay, Produced by The SHEeo Society – Modesty Mae, Cami Alviz, Alyanna Nebreja