Wanda Ponika, the founder and creative director of Wanda House of Jewels, began her thriving career in jewellery when she was just 15. “Bali Post Group interviewed me and I remember saying “I want a job that unites art and business.”
Ponika, who was raised by an artistic family, joined a number of design competitions when she was young. “In high school, I spent my extra curricular activities as a fashion editor for the local newspaper and joining various design competitions. I never stay still,” she says.
But it was only after competing at the Indonesia Design Competition by Asosiasi Perancang Pengusaha Mode Indonesia (APPMI) in the early 90s that her path to accessories making became crystal clear.
Her massive win at the Asia Design Competition in Jakarta further solidified her passion and ambition. Combining her ingenious, sustainable designs and the age-old skills of the Bali artisans, she bagged the Jewellery & Accessories category at the international competition.
Soon after, Ponika caught the attention–and earned the respect–of fellow designers and the media. She was introduced to a local jewellery entrepreneur and was offered a jewellery designer role at his company. At the job she harnessed her design skills and developed strong business acumen, “After I won the Asian Design Competition, I got a job offer as a jewellery designer in one of jewellery company in Indonesia. As the jewellery company developed its business into retails, I learned a lot from it, and it has been one of my valuable lessons in my career”
After 10 years, she ventured on her own and built Flawless Jewellery, her very first jewellery company. It was retail jewellery boutique at the beginning, but after gaining momentum, she built her own jewellery atelier. Wanda House of Jewels was born.
VERSATILITY OF THE JEWELLERY
Ponika loves designs that are versatile and functional—not merely for a show. And needless to say, they have to have a certain degree of value that lasts a lifetime.
As shown in her bestselling jewellery pieces such as the Prisha, Amora, Fleurir, and her latest creating, Noella, they are all made with at least three different functions. With Noella, the bandeau with a fancy fan form can be worn as a pendant and brooch. Ponika says, “Fine jewellery is costly, so I want our clients to wear it often—in different ways.”
Ponika’s Wanda House of Jewels isn’t just about selling jewellery. It’s a brand that has a solid corporate social responsibility. For the past 10 years, Wanda House of Jewels has collaborated with a number of organizations which includes Yayasan Jantung Indonesia, Yayasan Kanker Indonesia, and just last September, Happy Hearts Indonesia.
On September 21, Ponika celebrated Wanda House of Jewels’s 10th Anniversary with Happy Hearts Indonesia by creating a Happy Hearts friendship necklace, to help build schools in Labuan Bajo. And as always, Ponika gave the entire proceeds to the foundation she collaborated with.
“I think, if we live in a city, we can learn from anything, anyone, and any time. I didn’t go to university, but I managed to work in the jewellery company when I was 19. But if we live in a very remote place like East Nusa Tenggara, the only way to learn something is from a school,” she says. “Charity is about sincerity. It should come from your heart,” says Ponika who doesn’t like to call herself as a philanthropist. “The term should be only said by other people, not myself.”
“As a mother of three, I hope I will always be a great mother for my teenage sons. As an entrepreneur, I hope I always create more jewellery masterpieces and be the leader and creator for great jewellery designs and quality,” says Ponika.
This year, Wanda House of Jewels has successfully sold 20 Friendship Necklaces and other exclusive packages to support the cause at the charity event that enabled them to to build one school. For each of Ponika’s jewellery designs, she observes three things: “There’s no such thing as impossible, the client is always number one, and high quality is non-negotiable.” What makes Wanda House of Jewels is that it offers custom designs and re-design services, which is not offered by other jewellery brands.