Recognition of an Eco-Fashionista, sister!

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The story of love, adversity, loss and the jewel at one families heart.

At the end of August, I had the pleasure of attending The Ausmumpreneur Conference and Awards. As its name would indicate it’s an event show-casing the talents of Mums in Australian business. It was literally a buzzing hive of huge creative thinkers, those who thought outside the box and women changing the world through business, not for profit, sustainable and entrepreneurial endeavours. It was here that I first met the understated Anuradha Sawhney (the Indian born but Australian based owner and designer of Bidiliia (meaning strength and power) – a small business operation which honours the craftmanship of ethically handcrafted fashion jewellery.

Anuradha (known to friends as ‘Anu’) inherited a lot of entrepreneurial ambition and drive from her Mum, who remarkably was an interior designer by trade in the early 1980’s in India during a time in which generally women were confined to the home. However, she also inherited richly from her Dad. He gave her a sense of freedom to undertake projects as her heart desires and as she has felt so called. Anu did (of course) find her calling nestled among affordable, sustainable and ethical jewellery designing, curating and selling as a business owner.

As well as a business woman and daughter Anu is also a wife, mother, sister and a friend and source of inspiration to many. She also happens to live a serious autoimmune condition known as Rheumatoid Arthritis which almost permanently disabled her (to the point of needing assistance to use the toilet) and has since undergone multiple surgeries (including a bilateral hip replacement and a total knee reconstruction) in the quest for improved mobility. It was between surgeries, medical appointments and rehabilitation clinics when Anu first commenced researching sustainable jewellery that is limited edition, affordable and still rewards the artisans hand crafting pieces a proper repayment and reimbursement for their incredible skill and work.

A woman of integrity Anu works with conscience, skips on brokerage to keep prices affordable and has sourcing contacts in a little unknown village in Menorca – giving rise to the opportunity to reinstate the people of the village back their craft, while not directly impacting the environment. It is jewellery made with conscience and luxury aimed at bringing simple joy back into the lives of every woman in the world irrespective of circumstance. Some time ago Anu was asked to share her entrepreneurial story in a book called ‘More than a Mum’ published and available to purchase through White Light Publishing House in Australia.

This should have been Anu’s time to shine and for her business Bidiliia to be showcased nationally and globally alongside the story of other Australian mumpreneur game-changers. Her story and that of her business was made available globally in print and should have meant extra revenue both for her own little family and the artisans hand crafting in the little unknown village, but sadly that didn’t happen. As it turned out, the publication of this book coincided with the tragic sudden cardiac arrest and consequent death of her Anu’s beloved Father on a train in India. This was an event that shattered her and her close-knit family and shook her at her very core.

The days subsequent including long flights, tears, broken hearts, a funeral and ripples of emotions became a blur and other events obviously took precedent over the story of her entrepreneurial journey. Anu sidelined her piece of the published magical jigsaw and it sat unopened in her inbox, unattended to and buried in a sea of mail for some time. Instead of being a time to celebrate her milestone achievements, her creative endeavour, her great idea, her ethics, her passionate life work, her story of overcoming extreme adversity and the spirit she had inherited from her parents she was in mourning for her Dad.

Anu was far too overcome to promote her vital part in this publication it in her business or network irrespective, despite the fact that its publication was a feat which would have made her dear Father (and indeed both her parents) immensely proud. She was understandably just not in a headspace for any kind of remarkable celebrations of her milestone achievements. Therefore, even to those near to her -the understated story of Anu’s success with Bidiliia flew under the radar, as the shine was removed from her jewellery. Her work towards publication consequently went largely un-noticed, un-noted and uncelebrated.

As a parent who delights in celebrating the minor milestones of my child I found this particularly heartbreaking. Anu’s success story had been overshadowed by such circumstance was tragic two-fold. It not only robbed her of her dear Dad who was irreplaceable, and whose legacy she was living with her love of creating freedom and everything the heart desires. But she was also robbed her of her moment of glory- the time for the jewels of her heart to shine and the perseverance she had shown in the face of remarkable adversity to be made noteworthy.

I share Anu’s story with her permission because as a parent I believe that’s what her dear Dad would have wanted for when the time was right. As parents we gift our children life to be fully lived, to be celebrated and she and her sister are his greatest of legacies (as her daughter is hers). Anu’s Dad would have been remarkably proud of her great achievements in entrepreneurial drive, ambition, staring down adversity and leaving an ethical legacy on planet earth and on some brilliant unsung artisans who are still busily hand crafting their jewels in a little- known village.

The timing of these two events (her Father’s death and the publication of her story in print) was so very unfortunate but it shouldn’t have removed the divine shine from the jewel of Anu’s heart. That is, a big ethical, earth and freedom loving heart her Father gave her, and one that so richly deserves recognition. In the face of all adversity, we recognise Bidiliia, Anu, her work, her bravery, her father’s legacy and all the unsung artisans! Let this story be a lesson in overcoming the strength so often acquired after one has faced adversity. Long may it reign supreme as a beacon of hope and beauty to many…

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