Meet the Maker: Q + A with Kaliada

Kaliada Padilla started out making jewelry on the kitchen table. This hobby, though, has since led to pop up shops at well-known retailers, such as West Elm; wholesale accounts, e-commerce, & trunk shows; product expansion, media leads, a private showroom; and the opportunity to give back to her community through benefits and events dear to her heart.

Kaliada is one of six small batch jewelry designers featured in our March 2017 Product Spread. In this blog post, we go behind the scenes and find out more about the maker, her processes, and her philosophies. 

How/why did you become a jewelry designer?

 My background is in Business management and--though I had dreamed of having my own business, I had never worked seriously to reach that dream. In 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To cope with the emotions and stress this illness brought to my life, I decided to make a change in my career by giving up my full time corporate job for a less stressful part time job within the field. 

In late 2012 I opened an online boutique selling a curated selection of jewelry designs. I’ve always been passionate about jewelry and accessories. I believe jewelry, in particular, plays a powerful and wonderful effect on women’s emotions, whether it helps us to remember a special moment (or someone) in our lives; or makes us feel beautiful, special, and unique; or serves as an outlet for us to express our style.

Business was doing well, but I felt I had to bring it up a notch. I’ve always characterized myself of being a lover of unique things, so I wanted my jewelry to be unique as well. In late 2014, I started making beaded bracelets for fun, and watching jewelry making videos in YouTube during endless hours. I was obsessed with the whole jewelry making/designing process that it just came naturally to me to follow and to put into practice.  

I believe everything in life happens for a reason and to serve a purpose. I do not see my cancer experience as something negative, but as a blessing that gave me the opportunity to really sit down and look at myself from inside out; to love myself more and to discover my hidden gifts and talents.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

My designs are a reflection of all beautiful things I encounter: from colors, art, my travels, and definitely the confident, eclectic, and unique women who inspire me. 

How is your business sustainable?

It is important to me to have my designs crafted with the utmost care and environmental consciousness. They are elaborated using high quality hypoallergenic metals and findings in 14k Gold Filled, Sterling Silver, Gold Vermeil, 14k and 24k Gold Electroplated and delicately embellished using conflict-free semi-precious gemstones, carefully sourced directly from miners in South America who are considerate of the Earth as well as their workers.  

Can you talk about the necklace your submitted for our March issue – why is it a special piece? Why did you choose it for ‘Brilliance’ and ‘Joy’?  

The Emily necklace is a best seller because of its adapting features. The necklace can be worn to complement a casual look but also makes a sophisticated accessory for a dressier look. This necklace was inspired by the versatility of women. We want to feel loving and delicate, but at the same time we are strong and powerful.  These characteristics make a woman to feel and look Brilliant. 

What’s one practice in your daily life that brings you Joy?

Besides being inspired and envisioning my next designs, something that I practice that brings me joy is to meditate every night before getting in bed. I diffuse or rub on my hands one of my favorite essential oils and just sit still for 10 minutes or so, to reflect on my day and to just connect with myself--my feelings, dreams, desires--and to Thank God for all the good and not so good situations I encountered during the day. The good brings much happiness and the bad gives me the opportunity to grow more and be stronger. This practice brings me joy and gratitude.

When (and why) did you decide to be your true self?

After battling breast cancer. It’s part of women’s nature for the most part, and especially when we become mothers, to forget about ourselves and being true to ourselves very easily as we are constantly sacrificing, giving, or putting others’ needs  above ours. As I was going through such a difficult time, emotionally and physically, I used that opportunity to discover myself. To dig deep into my feelings, wants, and needs. To find out who I was, and what my purpose in life was.

Life is too short to not embrace who we are meant to be; but it takes time, maturity, discipline and an inner force to really look at ourselves from the inside and out to see who we are, and what we want to attain out of our lives. People usually have to go through a spiritual process first to experience inner peace and harmony so we can then learn how to stay true, or be our true self, regardless of the external and/or social demands.  

Kaliada Padilla, a self-taught jewelry designer who discovered her talent for jewelry designing through a life threatening situation. She designs modern, delicate, and feminine pieces with a bit of an edge for women to feel Loved, Empowered, and Inspired; the pillars that support her brand.
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