Mana Culture blends the holistic elements of nature with delicate details that showcase bold colors and raw stones. This bohemian gem was created in 2009 after co-founder Jahnavi Jasmine used her love of culture and nature to cultivate a jewelry business that has continued to expand in Austin, Texas. Jahnavi was influenced by her lifelong travels to countries like Malaysia and the state of Hawaii to create a line of jewelry evocative of energy and serenity.
Bluehost sat down with Mana Culture co-founder Jahnavi Jasmine to discuss the early beginnings of Mana Culture, her favorite gemstones, and how she created an engaged community on Instagram.
Designing With Mother Nature
“Jewelry has always been in my life,” Jahnavi states as she reflects on her early influences. When Jahnavi was 13, she took her first jewelry class and then began traveling to her father’s home in Malaysia where she received inspiration for different looks based on the various cultures around her. During her trips to the market, she found herself being drawn to hand made art like basket weaving. Jahnavis’ first experience as an entrepreneur occurred on a trip to Bali where she acquired items like board shorts and hand-carved coconut items that she later sold and used to fund the rest of her trip.
“I lived in Hawaii for 6 years before I came to Austin and started my company. I found it to be a healing place that influenced a lot of the jewelry we sell,” Jahnavi discusses as she describes how she created Mana Culture.
“”Mana”, is the Polynesian reference for your soul. The word “culture,” is paired with it because we do sell stones that are mined from all over the world and it also represents our love for the ethnic influence in our pieces. Overall, the company embodies the strength of being a woman and how jewelry can make you feel good.”
Building Brick by Brick
When Jahnavi decided to set up shop in Austin, she wanted her store, jewelry, and employees to embody the experiences that shaped her life. Jahnavi began growing her business through her online store, her two brick and mortar locations, and participating in festivals like ACL and Lollapalooza. Developing jewelry that was created from sustainable metals and stones remained at the forefront of Mana Culture’s products that incorporate raw materials like minerals, quartz, and moonstone.
Mana Culture used the beauty and healing elements of precious metals and gemstones to style customers and complete in-store makeovers. “Connecting with women is so gratifying and rewarding. My idea is taking these natural stones and having people incorporate them into multiple looks so they can transition from day to evening,” Jahnavi says as she shows examples of versatile jewelry on their company Instagram page. She collaborates with her in-house photographer to curate Mana Culture’s social media posts which reflect her personality, values, and overall brand. She scrolls through native inspired statement earrings, crescent bangles, and deerskin leather necklaces that are adorned with sculptural designs and models smiling against outdoor backgrounds.
The #manavibes starts with the “sophisticated, boho, and chic,” ambiance that radiates within the business, employees, and gemstones. “Two of my favorite stones are “Citrine,” which is a mustard yellow color that is supposed to draw the elements of money and “Pyrite,” which is a bold gold color and is supposed to deflect negative energy. We even keep these stones in the registers to attract the elements of wealth and to keep negative vibes out of the store,” she laughs. Collaboration and positive energy not only lie in the intricacies of the jewelry but Jahnavi’s desire to evoke that mantra in her online presence.
“As I’ve been moving in the direction of eCommerce online I find that this medium is reaching different demographics, providing me with an international customer base and helping establish long term relationships,” she says. A key instrument to creating a strong online presence was for her to drive her social media followers to her website which she attributes as a huge component of her business. “There are intentional connections that I have established between my social media and my website. The locations of my stores aren’t in the popular areas of Austin so when we receive a lot of foot traffic, I always try to establish a relationship that will have them coming back and if they aren’t local they will head to my website.”
Whether it’s healing stones or a striking bracelet to add a pop of color to an outfit, Mana Culture continues to celebrate and exude the mantra of “barefoot elegance.” Customers can scroll through their dreamy Instagram pages or visit a store to experience the wonder of these bohemian creations.
“Nature provides, we barely do any of the work. It’s mind blowing to see what is created from elements around us.”