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Most bracelets in America are considered one-size-fits-all. That never worked for Svelte Metals founder Meghan Kanodia. "I'm Indian, and that's not the way it is in India. I grew up knowing my bangle size. My mom would give me a set of bangles and they would be just mine. My sister would have a different size," Meghan recalls. Buying bangles or cuffs stateside, however, was frustrating because most were too large for her small wrists. "This one-size-fits-all thing really isn't true. A lot of women are disappointed by going to a store and finding a bracelet that's too big or too small."
Most women would resign themselves to ill-fitting jewelry or no jewelry at all. Meghan is not most women.
The St. Louis native dreamed of working in fashion for years. When it was time to attend college, her parents were hesitant about fashion school, so she studied psychology and advertising at the University of Miami. But the fashion bug didn't dissipate. After internships at Elle and Refinery 29, Meghan decided to go into the fashion marketing program at Parsons.
After school, Meghan started working in marketing and public relations, followed by stints in styling and costume design. While she loved each of those jobs, none were the match she was looking for. "I decided I wanted to do something where I felt really inspired, but I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Meanwhile, I have really tiny wrists and fingers, and I can never find jewelry that fits. I just started commissioning people in Miami to make things for me. I was wearing my pieces and people started asking me [about them]." That's when inspiration struck.
Meghan loved designing her own jewelry and she knew she was a good marketer, so she decided to start her own brand. "Styling really gave me an idea of what was available in the marketplace and what was missing," she explains. "There would be a lot of models who complained that rings and cuffs were too big." When Meghan heard friends voicing the same complaints, she realized there was niche in the market that needed to be filled.
In 2013, she launched Svelte Metals, her line of rings and bracelets. While the standard ring size in the US is a 6, Meghan offers sizes as small as 4. But the real standouts of her brand are the adjustable cuffs. "I've found a way to make them very malleable so people with different wrist sizes can fit into the same piece. The quality is what's really important. A lot of pieces you find in stores right now— when you try to size them, they crack. I worked almost a year on finding the right mix of plating and materials that would hold up to being melded to your wrist and taken off."
Now based out of Meghan's stylish Berkeley home, Svelte Metals is mostly a one-woman show. Though she works with a manufacturer on the East Coast to produce the line, she personally handles the design, marketing, business, and shipping. That includes daily trips to her neighborhood post office to send orders to clients.
Meghan's clients include an impressive group of bloggers and a growing number of celebrities. In addition to local favorites like Vanilla Extract and Phashionable, her designs have been spotted on Peace Love Shea, Eat Sleep Wear, Always Judging, and We Wore What. On the celebrity front, both Lily Collins and Lucy Liu are fans. And fashion media types are embracing the brand, too. "It's really exciting to me to be interacting with people I've always looked up to in the fashion industry. It's exciting to be conversing with editors and to be able to take the company in any direction I feel."
For now, Meghan is sticking with cuffs and rings, but she says she will introduce bangles soon and she hopes to expand to necklaces and earrings. Whatever comes next, you're bound to see your favorite bloggers wearing it on Instagram in no time.