When I thought about why I loved colorful, chunky jewelry I kept coming back to the fact that I’m a plus size woman. Subtle jewelry gets lost on my large frame. Further, ever since I stopped trying to hide my body I was able to embrace my affection for turquoise, corral and chartreuse.
Once I accepted I was never going to look like a corporate insider I had freedom to explore my personal style at work. I gave myself permission to use fashion to show others who I was rather than desperately trying to fit in. When I started wearing my most beloved jewelry at work it began conversations with the kinds of colleagues I’d always dreamed of having: genius ladies who wanted to change the way the world worked. I began to notice that the other plus size women in my professional posse also wore brighter, bigger jewelry than was the norm. Bold jewelry, I surmised, was a powerful statement of self-assertion – and identity – in a world where women are expected to be small, metaphorically and physically. Unconsciously, I realized I had maybe been using jewelry to reclaim my outsider status, and to draw in others who navigated the professional world similarly.
So when I read Rekha Brar’s story about why she created Blossom Box it seemed that I wasn’t the only one who used jewelry to reclaim her “otherness.”
Blossom Box founder, Rekha Brar, writes:
“I grew up in a rural town, Merritt B.C. Canada, which has a population of less than 8,000 people. During my childhood, the majority of the people living in this town were Caucasian. My Indian family was a part of the minority. At a young age, being one of a handful of Indian children at my school, I quickly realized that I was different than those around me. After school, I would spend time with my grandmother, who wore Mughal-inspired big gold hoops with a stunning ruby pendant. Jewelry was a signature piece in her wardrobe and I always found it to be beautiful. This is the point that I fell in love with distinctive jewelry pieces.”
Though Brar isn’t plus size, I related to her words thoroughly. So I decided to ask Brar some questions to get insights on how her story potentially held resonance for fellow “others” – particularly women of size:
Rekha, I learned how to embrace being fat and this led to major shifts in my self-perception. Tell me about your shift:
My immigrant parents taught me to value and embrace my culture. They would frequently take me and my siblings to India, where I was awestruck by the raw beauty of the fabric, gems and vibrancy of India. Walking through the bazaars I was influenced by the rows and rows of sparkling jewels. The artisans would hand make everything and I still remember the vivid colors. It was exciting to watch them bring something to life. The bazaars would always be open late. My father who has a love for shopping like myself, would take me to find fabrics, jewels and all sorts of handicrafts.
Wandering the bazaars is exactly when I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and help women feel empowered through jewelry.
I used to be really afraid I would be taken less seriously in professional settings as a fat woman. And I think I tried to minimize my body size by wearing jewelry that was super tiny when I was meeting with new clients or going to a conference. What’s your relationship with jewelry at work?
Before going all in and becoming an entrepreneur, I worked as an accountant and I never felt complete without jewelry. I personally felt confident with my jewelry pieces in the workplace. Through my statement pieces I knew that I stood out and I loved being different. I was proud of my beautiful, opulent jewelry.
I blossomed due to my individuality and Blossom Box serves to empower women to blossom based on their respective originality.
Talk more about your tagline – “Be bold. Be daring. Be different.”
Blossom Box is more than a jewelry line. It’s a statement of the kind of woman you want to be and blossom into. Blossom Box is knowing who you are, your desires, as well as recognizing your ability to dream. “Be Bold. Be Daring. Be Different,” is about a style and way of life. It’s based on my personal style and commitment to being bold and daring to be different. I experiment with dramatic and classy looks and strive to push the envelope with design. I am dedicated to redefining how fashion jewelry is created and adorned. Blossom Box is a style statement and a conversation starter, which pays homage to my culture and heritage.
Women are often discouraged from making waves, looking different or standing out at work. What does Blossom Box have to say about that?
Success is built on making waves and standing out. At the heart of Blossom Box is our desire to support women and encourage them to pursue their passions at work and in life.