Small Business Owners: Sonya Ohanjanyan
Written by Hena Aposhian
06 August 2021
With a profound passion for both art and Armenia, Sonya was determined to combine them both and create her own brand, Sonmade.
Ever since she was a little girl, Sonya was interested in many different forms of art such as pottery, painting, and even interior design. She was also fascinated by different cultures, and received a bachelor’s degree in tourism at the Russian Armenian University.
The inspiration to start her own small business came when one day, Sonya and her friends wanted to get a handmade tote bag with a specific hand-crafted design. When they couldn’t find a store to make it Sonya took it as a challenge and made the tote bag with the design herself. The results did not only impress her, but it also amazed all her friends and that led to the making of Sonmade.
At first, Sonya’s brand only included hand-crafted tote bags; her mother would make the fabrics for the tote bags from scratch in Karabakh, and Sonya would paint on them per request. A year and a half later, Sonya’s brand now also includes candles, Palo Santo sticks and a variety of smudge sticks.
More recently, Sonmade released its very own first collection, “Collection of Hidden Dreams.” Having spent most of her life in Karabakh, Sonya’s first collection is dedicated to the “Astghashen ” village of Karabakh. The collection revolves around the village as the products include and resemble the star-shaped rocks which are found there. The stars of Astghashen are nearly 150 million years old and are made of focalized marine animals. The collection consists of star-shaped candles, and ceramics which are all hand-made by Sonya herself. “This collection reminds me of my childhood. I used to go to Astghashen and admire the beautiful little star-shaped rocks.”
Sonya’s initial goal with the release of this collection is to draw closer attention to the village of Astghashen, Karabakh, and Armenia, to compel people so they would want to go and see the real rocks and village themselves, and most importantly, to recognize the rich culture and history of Armenians.
With the development of her small business, one of Sonya’s wishes is to one day have all local Armenian brands and products in Armenia which are globally recognized. Sonya supports and encourages all Armenian brands and small business owners. She believes they can help develop Armenia’s economy, the recognition of its rich and unique culture, and can eventually make Armenia a famous tourist destination.