Chilliwack couple brings jewelry business to the Oscars

Ashley Wray and Matt Bateman of Chilliwack are meeting celebrities face-to-face in Hollywood and gifting them with their jewelry.

Ashley Wray and Matt Bateman are in Los Angeles for the Oscars this weekend. The Chilliwack couple is handing out their jewelry product

A Chilliwack couple will be meeting celebrities face-to-face in Hollywood today, and talking to them about their line of jewelry.

Ashley Wray and Matt Bateman are taking their business, Mala Collective, to the Oscars after being invited to take part in one of the top three Oscars gift lounges leading up to the glitzy Academy Awards this weekend.

It all began last month when Wray received an email from Secret Room Events.

“I thought it was junk mail, to be honest,” said Wray.

But after researching it more thoroughly and realizing it was legit, they couldn’t believe it.

“This is an opportunity for us to gift celebrities and also gift media, and share our story with media,” she said.

Mala Collective (formerly Mala Imports) is a jewelry company that started in Chilliwack a year ago. The necklaces and bracelets, known as malas, are made in Bali with rudraksha prayer beads and gemstones. Rudrakshas are seeds that grow inside a blue fruit that looks similar to a blueberry.

Malas are worn to calm the mind, body, and spirit, and they promote peace and well being. The jewelry from Mala Collective is sustainably harvested, fairly traded, and ethically produced.

“We are very lucky because we’re working with a woman in Bali and she’s helped us get there (to the Oscars),” said Wray.

Gift lounges are events where Hollywood celebrities and media get to “shop” for free. Businesses from all over are hand-picked by the gift lounge firms — they hunt down companies with new or interesting products that would appeal to celebrities. The businesses then bring their products to the gift lounge and give them away to celebrities and media.

Mala Collective will be handing out 150 gifts during the event.

“As the celebrities come through the gift lounge, you want that interaction with them. You want to explain the ideals behind the jewelry such as conscious living,” she adds.

Wray and Bateman already have their mala product out in movieland. Julia Roberts wore their jewelry in Eat Pray Love, “which is pretty amazing” Wray said.

“It’s been exactly one year since we started our business and, on a personal level, for Matt and I to be recognized in this way after one year is unbelievable. We’re so involved in our business that we don’t have a lot of time time to reflect on what we’ve done. It makes us stop and take a look at what we’ve accomplished in just one year,” she said.

Due to the success of Mala Collective, the couple moved to Vancouver in November to be closer to businesses that want to carry their product.

The two are in Los Angeles at Secret Room Event’s Oscars Gift Lounge – ‘Tropical Celebrity Retreat’ today (Thursday). The Academy Awards take place this Sunday.

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