This sister-owned jewellery enterprise needs Micronesian ladies to put on their heritage

This sister-owned jewellery enterprise needs Micronesian ladies to put on their heritage

Sanyana Joseph was looking out the web for a gold “wahine” necklace when she had an epiphany.

“It was so laborious for me to get this ‘wahine’ necklace,” she stated. “I actually wanted it. I actually needed it. And I used to be like, ‘Wait, why am I getting this ‘wahine’ necklace? I am not wahine. I’m Mutacn and I’m Serepein.’”

 Sanyana and Shantel Joseph are the owners of Sienna Official.

Sanyana and Shantel Joseph are the house owners of Sienna Official.

Mutacn and Serepein are phrases to explain ladies within the Micronesian languages of Kosraean and Pohnpeian.

She stated shopping for the “wahine” necklace did not really feel proper for her, nevertheless it was her solely possibility on the time since there weren’t corporations that offered jewellery in her Micronesian language.

Sanyana known as her sister, Shantel, to pitch the concept of beginning their very own enterprise and Sienna Official was born.

The sister-owned enterprise sells gold necklaces in daring cursive letters that learn “girl” or “stunning girl” in additional than a dozen Micronesian languages.

In Hawaiʻi, the sisters stated their Micronesian id was one thing to be stored quiet, however their enterprise goals to empower Micronesian ladies to put on their tradition proudly round their necks.

“Saying Micronesian out loud wasn’t one thing we could possibly be loud about,” Sanyana stated. “We used to whisper it. However with Sienna, we have put the phrases on necklaces, forcing us to wish to find out about our islands and train it.”

Shantel stated their enterprise has grow to be greater than only a jewellery model.

“I really feel it is grow to be a model the place we created a protected area for Micronesian ladies and youth to attach with their tradition and neighborhood,” Shantel stated. “Sienna is about empowering our heritage and our cultures.”

Embracing Pacific heritage

Their model identify, Sienna, is impressed by the Kosraean phrase “Siacna.” It means completely different, distinctive and one-of-a-kind. The sisters stated they grew up listening to their mom saying it.

“We had that in our mindset,” Shantel stated. “It is good to be completely different, and rising up, that is what we realized about being Micronesian. We’re so completely different, our traditions, our tradition, our households, our attires and our religions.”

Micronesia is positioned in Oceania’s western area. It has 2,000 islands consisting of the Republic of Palau, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian and Rota), Guåhan (Guam), the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Kosrae), the Republic of Kiribati and the Republic of Nauru.

Sanyana and Shantel stated they needed to incorporate each language and folktale of their jewellery.

The Infinite ring represents a folktale that all islands in the Pacific Ocean have about an octopus.

Courtesy of Sienna Official


The “Infinite” ring represents a folktale that each one islands within the Pacific Ocean have about an octopus.

To share the islands’ legends, the sisters did a social media outreach to listen to various tales. It impressed them to department out to pendants and rings.

Every bit of knickknack additionally tells tales of Micronesian folklore.

One of the best-selling “Sirena” pendant tells the story of a Chamorro girl named Sirena who turns right into a mermaid. She snuck off to swim within the ocean when she wasn’t allowed to. Her mom instructed her to keep away from the water or else she can be cursed.

The story is Guam’s notorious legend that serves as a reminder that each Pacific Islander is related to the ocean.

One other jewellery piece is the “Infinite” ring, formed like octopus tentacles. It is a story about an octopus named Lidakika who guided the primary settlers to Pohnpei.

“In Kiribati, the creator God is an octopus named Na Kika who is claimed to have created the islands utilizing its tentacles to drag the earth up from the underside of the ocean,” Sanyana stated. “The ‘Infinity’ ring represents a perpetually connection, much like the connection we’ve got with our dwelling islands.”

Their latest vendor is the “Divinity” necklace. It is a pendant of a headless girl’s physique. It’s impressed by the Palauan love story, “Surech ma Tulei.” The story portrays a lady’s thoughts to be crucial characteristic of her physique.

“It represents Micronesian ladies, who’re sturdy ladies however mushy ladies on the similar time,” Shantel stated.

Increasing their model

Sienna Official was an concept that began throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Three years later, their enterprise expanded to rings, pendants and clothes.

Sanyana and Shantel stated that they had by no means considered a profession in jewellery.

 Sanyana and Shantel Joseph created a jewelry brand to showcase the diverse language of Micronesia.

Courtesy of Sienna Official


Sanyana and Shantel Joseph created a jewellery model to showcase the varied language of Micronesia.

Their emblem is a butterfly. They stated it symbolized spreading their wings exterior the Federated States of Micronesia by overlaying the entire area. The sisters stated they’ve extra in retailer for his or her model.

“We attain extra Micronesians than we had been simply to achieve out solely in Hawaiʻi,” Sanyana stated. “We ship packages throughout now, all around the mainland and islands we have by no means been to. It is so cool.”

Though the sisters proceed to promote their jewellery on-line, in addition they promote at pop-up occasions and wholesaling in Pohnpei, Chuuk and Guam.

They even labored with different Micronesian artists to assist construct their model. For instance, some have designed stickers representing an urohs, or skirt in Pohnpeian.

“What the urohs symbolize is Micronesian,” Sanyana stated. “You see that skirt, and you already know their Micronesian. So we needed to ship out a freebie sticker that they might slap on something. If anybody sees it on their telephone, their laptop computer, or Hydroflasks. So it is like, ‘Oh, they’re Micronesian, or they help somebody Micronesian.'”

Sanyana stated Micronesian entrepreneurship is a brand new language to her. Rising up in Hawaiʻi, the sisters had been instructed to attend faculty, research and to get nine-to-five jobs. However the sisters stated they’re extra hands-on of their craft.

They encourage different Micronesians to start out their very own enterprise.

“Do not be afraid,” Sanyana stated. “You will by no means know what is going on to occur until you attempt.”