For Indi Ocean creator, Mia Bella Belluche, life is a sea of possibilities.
Perfectly captured by Mia Bella Belluche is the spirit of laidback, oceanside Kailua. Native to the beach town, Belluche is no stranger to the beauty that O‘ahu’s Windward side has to offer—more specifically, surfing its waves since she could walk. Firsthand experiences like these have shaped Belluche to, in turn, shape her own works of art. “I’m really blessed to have grown up here a block away from the beach; I feel that that has really influenced my style personally and as a designer.”
As an established jewelry and now perfume designer, Belluche tweaks current trends to her own simple and beachy tastes. She then hand-sculpts her jewelry using quality metals, usually sterling silver or 14k gold fill, which hold shapes like smooth teardrops and wide petals, adorned with natural shells, tinted sea glass or semi-precious stones.
She says of her designs, “I find inspiration everywhere, and then you just tweak it and make it your own. I find that that’s really the job of artists.” The construction takes place in her studio, minutes from Kailua Beach. Her many surfboards are shelved upon the wall.
Being that jewelry making is popular in Hawai‘i—”everybody and their mother does jewelry,” she laughs—Belluche can be considered somewhat of a veteran. Beginning as a hobby in middle school, Belluche explains that “the more you do something, the more it improves. Through high school, I started making jewelry for friends, and people started asking to buy it. It was a really slow process, and eventually in 2009, I turned it into a full-on business. A couple years later, I was doing it as my only job.”
Originally named “Blue Sea, Green Earth,” a label that did not resonate with customers, Belluche’s cat, India, inspired the new name that her business that has been flourishing under since: “Indi Ocean.”
In terms of formal versus informal, Belluche says, “I think the simplistic nature allows for both. You can wear it with a bikini and at the beach, or you can totally wear it out.” And her “mermaid” customers who “just love being near the sea, who really thrive in a beach town” probably agree.
A recent addition to the jewelry is Belluche’s new perfume oil inspired by the oceans of exotic locations, which she designed and bottled herself. The first and aptly named fragrance is called “Indian Ocean.” Fractionated coconut oil and quality fragrance oils, spiced with white tea and ginger, compose the scent. “It was a project that took two years from when I originally wanted to start,” she explains.
A new undertaking of Belluche is being a PE teacher at Kailua’s Le Jardin Academy, where she also attended for 15 years. “I always wanted to be a teacher. I didn’t think I wanted to teach anytime soon— because I was doing jewelry, and I really loved it— but I couldn’t pass up a position for a PE teacher because it sounded so fun.” But teaching preschoolers to second graders won’t be the end of Indi Ocean. “It’s definitely not on the back burner, but there’s something vying for its attention,” she smiles.