The origins of LA-based jewellery brand Nialaya are shrouded in fateful mysticism. The brand’s founder, Danish-born Jannik Olander, had been searching for success in Los Angeles, where he had moved after selling his business in Denmark. He cast his net widely, trying his hand at both real estate and magazine publishing – but to no avail. Having lost a lot of money, Jannik decided on a trip to India, hoping to remedy his disorientation and rootlessness, and to re-establish a sense of direction in his life. Little did he know that this trip would result not only in a new direction, but in a totally new and deeply rewarding destination as well.
“I booked a trip to India for the winter holidays that year, this was in 2009, and that’s when I met the shaman that completely changed my path.” A shaman, for those who haven’t had the good fortune of meeting one on their travels, is a kind of spiritual leader, a priest-like figure thought of as the conduit between tribespeople and spirits. Shamans still play an important role in communities in India today, acting as kinds of spiritual leaders for local people – and for unsuspecting Danish tourists, it would seem. “He taught me about spiritual stones and their healing powers and he told me to stop focusing on monetary gain and do something that I’m truly passionate about and that makes me happy.”
Jannik lost no time in heeding the shaman’s wisdom. “As soon as I got home to LA after my trip, I got some beads and string and started making bracelets by hand in my garage. A few months later, I started selling Nialaya in my first store in Beverly Hills.” From then on, the brand’s rise was meteoric – as if infused with shamanic energy! By 2011, Jannik was able to open up a flagship store on Melrose Avenue in LA.