How The Olio Stories Refined Womanhood & Nostalgia For Instagram
When it comes to social media for business, some Indian labels really have things down pat.
Case in point: The Olio Stories. Aashna Singh and Sneha Saksena’s jewelry venture boasts of 18K gold plated modern heirlooms that effortlessly straddle the divide between the old and the new, between everyday and occasion wear. Launched in November 2015, Olio originally retailed contemporary womenswear, but pivoted to jewelry full-time 3 years later.
Its identity lies in retellings of tales of ancient India, friendship, family, womanhood, and more. These tales present themselves as stories — collections of jewelry created with unique but universal themes in mind.
Timeless and trend-agnostic, their pieces are a welcome break from the ubiquitous minimalism of cobra chain necklaces and chunky huggie hoops that have dominated our feeds over the past year.
They took a warm, uplifting approach to promote an ongoing sale on select pendants featuring Hindu goddesses. Celebrating #RealLifeDevis, they walked down the annals of history on their Instagram, exploring the stories of trailblazing Indian women long erased from public memory. Their Durga pendant appears adorning a framed photo of Arati Saha, the first Indian to swim across the English Channel. The Lakshmi pendant goes on Sarla Thakral, the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft. The Saraswati pendant is reserved for Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi, Carnatic musician who was the first singer to be presented with India’s highest civil honour, the Bharat Ratna. Matching the attributes of the goddesses on the pendants with the attributes of the real life devis ties everything together.
Draping the goddess pendants around vintage images of Indian women is something that Olio loves to do. Previously, visionary artist Amrita Sher-Gil took the spotlight as well.
The whole affair feels like an ongoing ode to the narratives left out from our textbooks, narratives of women who defined their own yardsticks.
The nostalgia-laden storytelling of this series lends itself very well to Olio’s brand DNA, and aligns with the look of B&W pictures in gilded frames that clearly draws in their audience.
Their made in India focus gets subtly reinforced with every retelling of these women’s stories.
From vintage Eid postcards to Amar Chitra Katha, their feed is almost like a love letter to the distinctive aesthetics of the subcontinent, and they manage to incorporate an admiring throwback seamlessly, every time. Occasionally featuring the work of contemporary women artists, and creatives from the diaspora sporting their whimsical gold pieces also helps channel a global appeal that’s hard to turn away from.
Such lessons in building a whole universe through social media serve as a reminder of how essential it is to tell the story and tell it well, and cover all your bases while you’re at it.