Nora Parry, a NYC based entrepreneur she can always be seen wearing a beautiful gold pendant around her neck. Ask her about it and she'll tell you about her jewelry company Didi & Dhai. After a volunteer trip to Nepal she was inspired to create a line of jewelry that sends proceeds to a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter and counseling for young survivors of sexual assault. Read about her journey from a volunteer trip to a full-fledge business.
1. Didi & Dhai is such a whimsical name, can you tell me the origin story?
Several years ago, I traveled to Pokhara, Nepal to volunteer for a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter, and counseling for young survivors of sexual assault. The survivors, house mothers that care for them, and everyone involved with the NPO immediately welcomed me with open arms and referred to me as their "didi."
In Nepali, didi translates to older sister and dhai to older brother. These terms are not exclusive to family members, but used widely as a friendly term to refer to anyone older or in the same generation. I absolutely love the sense of community inspired by this simple concept, so I chose Didi & Dhai as the name of my company to reflect the idea that we are all sisters and brothers who need to understand, respect, and look out for each other.
2. What inspired you to create a product that helps Nepali survivors?
My time spent volunteering in the Pokhara safe home had a huge impact on me and when I returned home, I felt it was important that my efforts to help didn't end there. I've always been drawn to jewelry that has sentimental value and tells a story, so I wanted to create beautiful pieces for people to wear every day that allow them to connect with and represent the mission.
3. How do you envision the brand growing in the next 5 years? Are you expanding your product offerings?
As of now, our pieces include the signature Pokhara Pendant as well as our Candra and Surya Earrings, and I plan to keep adding Nepali-influenced designs to the collection. We also just launched a weekly newsletter that is sent out to our Didi & Dhai family -- I'm really excited to share stories that embody our mantra that compassion is not a feeling that comes and goes, but a lifestyle. We will keep building our blog in hopes that it will continue to resonate with our community.
My vision for the brand is to expand to additional countries by offering products that give back to non-profits within those locations. All of the products will be inspired by the cultures and people they aim to help.
4. What's been the most incredible moment since launching the brand? What's been your biggest challenge?
The most incredible moment since launching Didi & Dhai was when I sent over the first donation to the Nepalese NPO's director. Knowing that what began as just an idea had actually evolved into something that will make a positive impact in these young survivors' lives was incredibly powerful and validating.
5. If you were to have a conversation with the 21 year old version of yourself what would you tell her? What sort of wisdom would you bestow?
Don't doubt yourself when choosing an unconventional path. Focus on what interests you, listen to yourself and try to drown out the other noise, because no one knows what will make you the most happy but you.
Creating work that you care about will ultimately bring you the most fulfillment, so don't be afraid to break out on your own!