The Journey of MaliMasani
Why and How I Started My Jewelry Business
I thought it would be a great idea to share with you the origins of MaliMasani, so that you can see why we are passionate about the items we create, and hope that this will offer some reassurance to you that MaliMasani is here to stay. With this story, I hope that you will remain on the journey with us, and enhance your life with the many authentic pieces of jewelry and accessories that we create and offer at prices you can’t beat.
So, let me take you back to the very beginning. In 1990, I created “Damalijewelry” as a means to create a source of income and remain at home with my first child. You see, I was a 5th grade teacher in the Miami Public School System. I had every intention of making a career out of teaching and was in a fast track program to become a Principal after three years in the system. As fate would have it, in my 3rd year of teaching and working on a Masters Degree in Education, I found out I was pregnant with my first child, a girl! She was born during the summer recess, and when it was time to return to the classroom, I couldn’t do it. The thought of leaving my precious little girl was too much, so I gave my resignation and started thinking of something, anything, I could do and still take care of my daughter myself.
How did I start?
While searching for a pair of earrings to wear one day, I heard that voice say “make earrings”. My initial response was “yeah, right”. I knew nothing about jewelry making, and I didn’t know anyone who made jewelry. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it: Make Earrings! So I finally picked up the phone book (remember it was the 90s!) and searched for bead shops, wrote down the address for a couple that were close enough, and set out to find beads to “make earrings”. Since I had no clue what I was looking for, I kept my thoughts on the beautiful earrings I used to buy in Greenwich Village in New York City, and since I hadn’t yet found a store in South Florida that sold similar earrings, I decided I’d find beads to recreate some of those pieces.
I had no pictures to go by, and most of my pieces that I bought were damaged or lost, but Kat, the owner of the cutest little bead shop that I had found, no doubt guided me through the daunting process of selecting the right beads (so many choices). However, I did get a rude awakening when I was schooled in hooks and headpins and eyepins and studs and lever backs and screw-ons and on and on. Two hours later I left the store with everything I needed to make a few dozen earrings.
And as it turns out, I was really good at it! I started sharing my creations with anyone who would take it, from friends to family, and even at local craft events. Eventually people were buying the earrings and asking for matching bracelets, anklets, and necklaces. Needless to say, Kat’s Bead shop became my second home, and I graduated from just selling my creations to friends and family to putting my items in consignment stores!
DamaliJewelry in a local consignment shop, 2014
It seemed like Damalijewelry was turning out to be a success! And then one day in 2015, I received a “cease and desist” letter from an attorney representing someone who started a similar jewelry business in 2010 using the name Damali (I began in 1990). They had a trademark for the name “Damali” to sell jewelry. I had no recourse. Even though I started using the name Damali for my business 20 years earlier, and had all the paperwork and brochures etc. to prove it, I didn’t even think about a trademark. Nor did I think that someone would use the name and prevent me from using it. After all, I was Damali, and Damali was my life. So after a period of mourning and struggling, wondering if I should just give it all up or like the Phoenix rise again, I decided that rising again was my only option. I thought about how I could possibly make and sell jewelry without being able to use Damali as the business name. Then it came to me one night, change the name. Start fresh. New identity, new beginnings, new energy. But what name would I use? Then another idea came, putting my daughters' names together (by now there are four beautiful, amazing and talented women) and after a few tries, I stuck on MAL for Malika; IMA for Imani; SA for Safiyah; and NI for Nia. “MALIMASANI”.
But before I announced it to the world, I decided to get my own trademark. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, considering I did it myself without hiring an attorney (I had Legal Zoom file the initial application for a fee - look out for my blog on that coming soon!), and the rest is history. Our website launched on April 12, 2019, and it is our intention to spend the next 100+ years with you all providing you with authentic, original, handmade jewelry and accessories.
Today, MaliMasani jewelry is shipped all around the world with goals of becoming a top brand in jewelry and accessories. We make stunningly authentic, effortlessly unique handcrafted jewelry made with real gemstones, shells, wood, glass, and more; hoping to excite the mood, entice the spirit, and enhance the natural beauty of our customers.