Make it Reign: Stella and Ali

Make it Reign: Stella and Ali

As part of our commitment to building a community around empowerment, Ranavat Botanics celebrates strong women who rule: women who stand at the helm of their personal and professional lives, determine their own definitions of success, and don’t wait for the world to assign their worth.

We’re shining a spotlight on inspiring women who are carving out their own paths in life as founders, CEOs, and industry disruptors. These are the go-getters cultivating dynamic careers in line with their passions. The trailblazers igniting new paths in unlikely industries. The motivators fueling others to rise to the occasion and realize their dreams. These are women who Make It Reign.

Our next CEOs in the Make It Reign series are Ali Heiss and Stella Simona, the founders and co-owners of Amarilo and Haati Chai. We caught up with Simona to talk about her and Heiss’s unique journey, how they’re disrupting the jewelry space, and their advice for becoming your own boss.

How did Amarilo and Haati Chai come to be?

My partner Ali and I both have a very unique story. We started separately and each of us owned our own brands—Ali is the original founder of Amarilo and I founded Haati Chai. Each of the jewelry lines was formed through us finding that there was a void within the jewelry industry. Ali felt there was no fine jewelry that was dainty. Every piece of jewelry out there was very heavy and outlandish and she felt like the modern woman couldn’t find delicate and classic jewelry she could wear every day. For me, I’m East Indian, so I come from a background where jewelry traditionally has a big meaning in our culture. For example, a lot of our jewelry pieces get passed on as heirlooms. For coming of age there’s a piece of jewelry, when you get married there are certain pieces of jewelry you get from different family members—every piece of jewelry comes with a story. I found that there was a void for the concept of heirloom jewelry, whether it’s delicate or heavy, it just wasn’t existing within our Western culture. So that’s why I began designing Haati Chai.

How did you end up working together?

Ali’s very much a trained metalsmith and that’s where her background in jewelry really thrives. With my background in branding, I’m a strategist and a storyteller. So when we began working together, Ali just naturally gravitated toward the design side of things and I gravitated toward the branding and storytelling side of things. We originally touched base three years into both of our brands and after connecting, we realized we had a lot in common. Somewhere after getting to know one another, we had thought, let’s do a capsule collection together. So we did a joint collection between both our brands. It was one of our first times being disruptive in the sense that no one really expects something like this between jewelry brands, but we delivered it to the people and this was before collaborations were really a thing in the industry. While we worked together on this collaboration, we naturally learned how we were such a good fit. Strategically we combined both the brands and now we co-own them. Amarilo is our attainable fine jewelry brand which caters to people who are looking for something minimalist. Haati Chai is more of our luxury fine brand which caters to those who are looking for an emotional connection and a luxury experience.

From where do you draw your inspiration?

Essentially, Amarilo is a take on Ali’s journey as a woman and everything that she experiences—whether it’s travel or just day in the life. Similarly, Haati Chai is my take on my personal journey in life.

What are the most important things you've learned while running your own businesses?

At the core, it’s always about having a really good team and keeping communication really good between anyone you’re working with. And also in business, at the end of the day, you thrive when you are true to yourself. Make sure you keep the proper balance between knowing what you want for your business and what you want for yourself, then combine it together to get the best results.

What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

Ali and I have always wanted to offer a voice to other people who want to do something they’re passionate about. For us, it’s always been about setting an example for others and then also freeing ourselves every day through our passion which has now become our careers.

How do you make time for yourselves? What self-care practices make you feel most confident?

Running a business is hard and it can be really easy to lose track of your “me time.” That’s definitely happened for Ali and me many times. But more recently, especially since having my son, we both sat down and decided we really need to take time to ourselves so we can be whole and be able to do what we need to do. So, for me personally, I love doing beauty rituals—a lot of self-care such as masking or baths. Anything that lets me feel like I’m taking care of my body and meditating while I’m doing it—I love doing that. For Ali, she’s really into cooking and it’s therapeutic for her. She loves making nice meals. Everything from preparing it to ultimately the presentation is everything for her.

Do you have any daily mantras or affirmations that keep you motivated and driven?

I think one of the biggest mantras we live by is that your life is yours and no one else is like you—so make it what you want. That’s kind of the core of what both of us believe.

What advice do you have for other women looking to become their own boss?

I think the biggest advice we can give anyone is to one, surround yourself with a really good network of people—your circle is definitely going to be key when you’re starting your own business. Two, one of the next biggest things is to take care of yourself and make sure that you stay grounded throughout the entire process—from before to the making of to after your company is established. Lastly, stay true to your passions and make sure you don’t lose touch with why you started doing everything.

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