Lynnea Tai of DarcMoon Malas
FF: First, let’s talk malas. What is a mala and what does it represent?
DM: “Malas were created for meditation and stem from Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s common to say a mantra with the mala or just let it remind you of your purpose as you wear it. Monks still do meditation with the necklaces every morning, but of course you do not have to be spiritual to wear them.”
“The necklace has 108 beads, a significant number in many cultures. The meaning is different for what everyone believes, but some examples are: 1 is for a higher being, 0 is for emptiness, 8 for eternity. In astrology, the 12 solar houses and 9 lunar houses, 12 times 9 is 108. In Buddhism, there are 108 feelings in the past, present, and future. There’s also said to be 108 earthly desires. 108 is the same number on a rosary too, it’s just a significant number in lots of things. Along with 108 beads, each mala has a “guru bead” to mark the beginning and end of the mala.”
FF: When did you know you wanted to create malas? How have they affected your life?
DM: “I’ve had DarcMoon for almost two years. I studied apparel merchandising in school and knew I wanted to do something on the business side of fashion, and with jewelry. I backpacked Asia for three months by myself and really got introduced to Buddhism there, and when I came back, it kind of just came together. I met a woman who taught me and I learned so fast, she encouraged me to start making them. So, I met with a supplier and just started doing it. It’s become my thing. It’s also a meditation for me to make them and has become a creative outlet for me. I never make the same one twice and I’ve made over 800 custom malas now. I’ve met so many incredible people in the process and learned so much about them. It’s fun because I feel like I am on their journey with them.”
FF: DarcMoon. Where does the name stem from? What does it mean to you?
DM: “My friend and I were backpacking through Europe and we saw the same graffiti tag everywhere we went. We thought, “We want to be in every city, we want to make our own tag.” So DarcMoon actually started as a graffiti tag. For a tag, you need something short and easy so it sticks with people, and it did with me as I started my business.”
FF: Where do you acquire your gemstones, how do you choose which ones to buy?
DM: “Well, they all align to different chakras in the body, so I think about that. One of my suppliers gets new stones every day. Think about the different options like matte or faceted for just one stone, there are so many to choose from. Sometimes I travel to gem shows in surrounding states or just go up to the mountains.”
FF: How has the culture / community partnership in Denver shaped your business?
DM: “I feel like Denver is one of the best places I could have started my business. It is a very open and receptive community. DarcMoon has grown at a pace I can maintain which is good, because I want to do it myself. Perfecting the technique has taken over a year and a half. Currently I’m in three stores in Denver and I do a lot of custom orders as well. It’s fun because my customers give me creative freedom, I keep them updated the whole time, but they trust me. It’s so fun. I also started doing workshops; since December I’ve done almost 15. It’s so fun not only to help people make a Mala, but to teach people and share the skill with the community.”
FF: What is your vision for DarcMoon? What are your next steps?
DM: “I decided to start doing jewelry drops. I’ve seen people do art drops before, but I’d never seen anyone do it with jewelry. I make the malas specifically for that bracelet drop and do it every month, no matter where I am. It’s so interactive, I love to meet new people and it’s really awesome to make somebody happy. Eventually my goal is to get a DarcMoon truck that I could do workshops out of and take it anywhere. This is my dream career so I look forward to evolving and expanding in other facets to continue on this journey.” //
Interview by Shelby Moeller (click for more)