Waking Up With: Stella Simona
Stella Simona is the LA based co-owner of the jewelry lines Amarilo and Haati Chai, creator of the lifestyle blog Chai Time, and mother of two. Her chic minimal style is not only visible through her timeless designs, but also in her beautiful home. Here, we talk about sources of inspiration, her path before Amarilo and Haati Chai, and balancing family and work.
Hello! First off, tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately.
Hi there, I am Stella and I am an LA based creative entrepreneur. I co-own Amarilo and Haati Chai as well as create direct and content create for a lot of beautiful brands. I am a wife and mama to two boys Noah and Liam. Lately I've been spending my time at home doing all the things, adjusting to the changes in 2020.
What is your morning ritual?
I like to wake up slowly. I'll turn on my diffuser or burn some incense and play some music. I always indulge in a nice beauty routine and these days a quick morning bath as well. My days are always hectic and making it a point to pause and set my intentions really makes a difference in how my day will turn out.
You co-own and design for two beautiful jewelry lines, Haati Chai and Amarilo, tell us a little about each line.
Amarilo is for the modern minimalist. The designs may remind you of classics your mother or grandmother may have owned. The line is designed in 10 kt and 14kt gold and affordably priced for fine jewelry. Haati Chai is our premium line designed in 14kt, 18kt and 22kt, with a narrative of my East Indian heritage that you see in hints throughout the design and the brand's storytelling. Every piece is with the intention of one day becoming a family heirloom. The designs are bold and oftentimes eclectic.
Where do you go for inspiration when starting new collections?
My co-founder and I are essentially our customers. Whatever is going on in our personal lives generally reflects into our designs. Inspiration could come from a book we read or somewhere we have traveled to.
What was your path before creating Haati Chai? Did you always want to start your own jewelry line?
I've always loved visual storytelling. Prior to Haati Chai my husband and I worked in artist development with different music artists. I do believe the seed for whatever we end up doing is planted from an early age. I always have adored jewelry. I actually would sketch/mockup pieces with my grandmother as a teenager and she would have them designed and brought back to life when she would travel back home to India and Bangladesh. Fast forward what I once did passionately as a teenager is what I am doing now.
You also have a lifestyle blog, Chai Time, what inspired you to start blogging?
I began blogging as an outlet but also to connect with those who wanted to know a bit more about the woman behind the brand. As an artist I think it's very important to share what inspires me and my take on design.
How do you balance having two jewelry lines, a blog, and two (adorable) sons?
It's a lot definitely but I love what I do so I make it all happen. I wouldn't be a good mother if I wasn't also doing things for myself and I wouldn't be a good designer if I wasn't inspired by my beautiful babies.
How do you approach decorating your home? How does this compare to your approach to designing jewelry?
I love tonal with plays on interesting textures and bold shapes. I would say this is just like my take on jewelry and style. My clothing is a more subdued palette and I contrast it against the strong gold silhouettes.
Fill in the blanks:
The coolest place I’ve ever woken up in is:
A beach in Tulum
The best cup of coffee/tea is at:
This stunning tea house I visited in Hangzhou China overlooking a lake
A thing about mornings I’ll never get sick of is:
The golden light