On The Wild Side With: Divine East
1. How did your trips to India inspire you to create your own malas and now silver and gemstone pieces? How did this passion move towards creating a business?
Divine East was founded after a sisters’ trip to India in 2015. Surrounded by gemstones and mala beads, we studied with a Guru in the foothills of the Himalayas the healing properties of gemstones, meditation with mala beads and the power of mantras and intention-setting. Upon our return home, we found friends and family had an increasing interest and curiosity in the malas we were wearing and meditating with. Sharing our passion for mala beads and meditation, we saw an opportunity to impact on a larger scale. Recognizing the potential we had to inspire others, we knew starting Divine East was along our Dharmic path.
2. How have you developed your relationships with locals in India? How do you source and ensure the quality of your materials?
We met the man we currently source our materials from after strolling into his shop in Rishikesh; he was recommended to us from a friend we met there. We instantly had a connection with him, beyond a business relationship, and knew we had just developed a life-long friendship. He spent hours with us going through the healing energy of each piece, and was patient with us while we chose our first malas. We stayed in touch with him after leaving India, and once the idea of creating Divine East began to churn, we trusted the quality of his gemstones and materials. He sources his gemstones from a gemstone factory in Jaipur; we were lucky enough to return to India in 2016 and 2017, and actually visit the factory where the raw gemstones are hand cut, polished and faceted. It was an incredible experience and really authenticated the high quality gemstones we use, as well as the ethical production of them.
3. What inspires your collections? Does life at home inspire you or just your time in India?
Inspiration comes from so many facets of our lives, often when we aren’t searching for it. Many design ideas and concepts have come to us in meditations and visualizations. Others have been born out of what intention we are seeking more of in our personal lives; it could be abundance, grounding, positivity, protection, the list goes on. We also love hearing feedback from our community about what they are wanting more of in their life.
4. What are the most important qualities in your pieces? What do you want customers to feel or know when they are wearing your pieces?
Each mala necklace has 108 beads with 1 guru bead. Malas allow the user or wearer to keep count of their mantra recitation, repeating a mantra 108 times. There are many sacred meanings for the number 108; it is said that in order to manifest an intention, it must be said at least 100 times repeatedly (the extra 8 leave room for error). Each gemstone has a different metaphysical healing property; if you are drawn to a certain gemstone, it often holds an intention you are subconsciously asking yourself to work on, pay more attention to or bring into your life. The color of a gemstone is also associated with the chakras, one of the 7 energy centers in the body. Black or red gemstones are associated with the root chakra; this is your first chakra, your foundation, safety and security. Explore more about gemstones and chakras here.
5. Can you describe your relationship with your Divine Ambassadors? Why are these relationships important or valuable?
This year, we really wanted to focus on the power of community. There are so many amazing wellness leaders in Vancouver and California that impact their communities in a positive way. The intention behind Divine Ambassadors was to connect with those who have directly inspired the two of us, to share our story and how they have influenced our journey. These leaders are influencers in their own community, they inspire those around them and connect with them authentically and whole-heartedly. They have a passion for sharing their learnings and the curiosity and desire to always be a student. We have done many collaborations with our Divine Ambassadors to share one another’s stories, elevator our brands and make a positive impact in our communities. We have done collaborative events, made custom pieces for their retreats or yoga teacher trainings and continuously shared their stories with our community. When we uplift one another, we all shine.
6. Where are you hoping to take Divine East in the near future? What relationships are you wanting to build on or create? How do you want to evolve your collections?
Thats a great question, and one we are continuously asking ourselves. Divine East absolutely deserves more time that we currently give it, as we both have full-time careers that we love. Divine East is a passion project and our greatest desire is to inspire and educate others to recognize the power of their mind, of setting intentions, of meditation and of silence. We will always be community facing, thats one of the things that lights us up the most. Connecting with someone at an event or farmers market, sharing one another’s stories (often over laughs or tears) is the purest and most authentic form of connection, and having someone leave the interaction with a piece that will support them in being better in some way is the most rewarding gift.
7. What are some things your customers may not know about you both or company?
We continue to travel to both India and Bali each year to maintain the relationships we have built with our suppliers. Two years ago, we went back to India for one of their weddings. Friendships flourished into business relationships, but authentic connection is at the heart of that and as such, at the heart of Divine East. While we are a Vancouver-based company, one of the sisters (Danelle) has lived in the USA for the past 10 years, so she is also connecting with our community down South!