While I’m a bag girl first, I also love jewelry. And when it comes to my jewelry, I typically opt for clean and classic designs. Cue BYCHARI jewelry, a brand I discovered after having Vaughn and seeing custom name necklaces from BYCHARI on many of my friends. The dainty but eye-catching designs lured me in and I wanted to add a custom name necklace of my own to my daily jewelry rotation.

Chari and I began chatting then, and since I received my Vaughn necklace, rarely have I taken it off. I find jewelry not only to be a great way to accessorize but also to hold significance for special people and events in our lives. In fact, if you watched many of my Stay Home With Bags stories on Instagram, my Vaughn name necklace is a permanent fixture on my neck that I received countless messages about daily.

BYCHARI offers much more than custom name pieces, including classic necklaces, earrings, and bracelets as well. This is a brand you turn to for your jewelry staples, pieces that you’ll wear daily for years to come. I wanted to learn more about Chari and her work, what started her thriving business and how she’s been impacted by the pandemic. Chari sat down to answer some questions and the cherry on top is she is offering PurseBlog readers 15% off her store. Simply use code PURSEBLOG at checkout on BYCHARI.com.

How did you start your jewelry line?

I’ve been passionate about jewelry since I was a young girl. After pursuing designing jewelry in my spare time, I finally decided to take the plunge in 2012 and quit my job to dedicate all of my time and energy to BYCHARI.

Why jewelry?

Jewelry is a way for women to share and create their stories. An extension and expression of their style and personality, and a way of celebrating both defining moments and the simple beauty of everyday.

What defines your line of jewelry?

I define my jewelry line with these three words: simple, sexy and timeless.

You’ve experienced a lot of success with your custom name necklaces – why do you think these have been so popular?

Personal style is a subtle and creative way to express yourself without words. Our custom necklaces give people the opportunity to celebrate and share one of their life’s defining moments or to express what’s nearest and dearest to their heart.

Dream person/people you’d love to see wearing your jewelry?

I’m beyond honored to be able to say that Michelle Obama was number one on my wish list and that dream has come true! I would also love to see my designs on Oprah, Kamala Harris (a fellow Jamacian woman) and Meghan Markle.

The pandemic has affected small businesses greatly. How has it been for you?

The pandemic has ravaged so many small businesses. It’s such a tragic time and my heart goes out to business owners who are struggling. We are very fortunate at BYCHARI that we haven’t experienced the hardship so many others are experiencing right now. In between the Black Lives Matter movement and Michelle Obama wearing our VOTE necklace we are having one of our best years yet. I realize that we are the exception and often think of how different other business owners are experiencing 2020.

Do you have a motto you live by?

My motto is live your best life. A few years ago my friends and I went on a birthday trip and I made everyone hats that said, “Live your Best Life”. The hats were a huge hit and I still wear mine.

What is the lowest and highest point in your business so far?

The lowest point was during the beginning after the rush of excitement wore off and I realized that I was completely reliant on sales to support myself. The stakes were real which was incredibly scary. There were difficult moments, but with time I learned how to navigate the ups and downs of owning a business.

The highest point was without a doubt seeing my VOTE necklace on Michelle Obama during the Democratic National Convention. It was a complete surprise to see her wearing the necklace on live television during one of her most historically relevant speeches. I could barely believe my eyes, I was watching Mrs. Obama deliver her speech and thinking — Michelle Obama is the Holy Grail, She’s the queen. She is the woman to be. She’s the woman to listen to and she is wearing one of my designs.

What would you tell someone else hoping to start their own business someday?

I have two essential pieces of advice. The first piece of advice is: never take no for an answer. The second piece of advice is: you don’t know until you try, so keep working at it. Over time I’ve learned that the worst thing that can happen is that you fall down and if that happens then you have to get right back up.

How many bags do you own?

I love handbags and own so many I don’t even know if I should put a number to it. I approach my handbag collection the same way I approach my jewelry collection – I look for timeless, sexy pieces that will last through the ages.

What’s your favorite bag in your collection and why?

My favorite bag in my collection is my green lizard Celine box bag. I love the classic simple lines of the box bag in a subtle pop of color that can still be viewed as a neutral. I also love my electric baby blue Hermès Birkin bag, black classic Chanel bag and Fendi bucket bag.

What bag did you carry today and what would we find inside?

During the day my go to bag is my black Celine carryall. A few things you will always find inside of it are vitamins, a few manuka honey packets to add to my coffee, an iPhone charger and two iPhones. Earlier this year I tried to separate my work phone from my personal phone, but I somehow managed to make both of them into work phones.

How did your daily life change during quarantine – did you pick up any new hobbies?

I’ve been loving to cook more. LA is known for fresh, seasonal and local produce so I’ve been enjoying trying out new recipes with fresh locally grown ingredients from the farmers market. I try to cook at least one new recipe a week.

Last book you read?

Circe by Madeline Miller. I absolutely loved the character and world she occupied. I had heard it was a captivating read and it absolutely was. I could barely put it down, especially towards the end.

Favorite podcast?

Everything is the Best by Pia Baroncini is hands down my favorite podcast. I love listening to Pia and can relate to so much that she covers since she is also based in LA and is a business owner.

If you had a dinner party, what meal would you cook?

Since we’re in the peak of summer right now in sunny California, it’s hot and summer produce is at its best. I would take inspiration from the latest issue of Bon Appetit or Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and try out a few recipes that highlight seasonal fruits and vegetables. For the beverages I would serve white, orange or rose natural wine and ice cold Jamacian beer (a little nod to my heritage). Ambiance is always important to me so we would dine outdoors, by candlelight with a relaxed playlist to help set the vibe.

What jewelry are you wearing today?

I am always decked out in BYCHARI. I sleep, hike, do pilates, shower and live covered in BYCHARI. Today I have on a VOTE necklace, diamond huggie earrings, a stack of three cuff bracelets on my left arm, and a mix of the Kelli bracelets, Soho bracelets and one very special diamond bracelet from my grandma on my right arm. My grandma’s piece is the only non-BYCHARI piece of jewelry I always wear. I love layering all of my different designs and am constantly swapping out a piece here and there to find the perfect BYCHARI mix.

Shop BYCHARI and use code PURSEBLOG for 15% off at checkout!

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