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From Doctor To Designer: How I Swapped The Scalpel For The Jewels

by Cristina Pacheco

I have always enjoyed wearing many jewels and accessories. For me, going shopping was an adventure: I'd go out looking for a new pair of jeans and I'd always come back stacking up on new earrings and more accessories. At the time, it was my third year studying medicine and my colleagues and I planned a trip. I wanted to finance my trip with my own means. Some people sell cookies, others sell perfumes, and I decided to sell my own jewels. What first started as a playful way to go on a trip, suddenly became a bigger matter. By word of mouth, my “business” started to grow more than expected. With over twenty custom orders a day, I had a gut feeling that something big was going to happen.

Full of inspiration from my travels, I started posting on Instagram new designs, and little by little, my account blew up to 10,000 followers - which, at the time, was a crazy amount to me. At the end of that year, I had to create a website to be able to manage all of the orders and had to rent a small office next to my house, which became my little corner to study medicine, and create and prepare all of my orders. The following January was hectic for me. Imagine having your medicine finals alongside thirty orders a day, plus all the logistics associated with that.

Then, the madness started. The two last years of my medicine career started while I was doing a “showroom tour” around Spain. I was at university for the whole morning, used my lunch hour to keep up with business emails, spent my afternoon at the hospital as an intern and after that I came to my little office, studied, had dinner and then prepared all the daily orders to be shipped. During those two final years my family and friends were there for me. Without their support and help, Lavani wouldn’t be here today. Through those years, I got to sell my jewels in several shops around Spain and gradually I developed a retailer network around the country with over thirty points of sale. 

In my last year studying, I found the perfect space in the center of Valencia and throwing caution to the wind, I opened our first store. What started as an adorable little corner for us is now our Flagship Store. 

I finished my medical degree in 2016 and the only thing left to become a doctor was the final test to be a Resident Medical Intern. I kept balancing out my study time with the new shop, the orders, the new designs… The whole business. And finally, the moment had come. In February 2017, I passed the final test to become a doctor. When I found out, something inside me flipped. I had a gut feeling that I should focus my efforts into my business, but it was really hard to lay aside my medical career because it was a big part of me. Being a doctor was the safe path and what I had always dreamt of. Entrepreneurship and designing was new for me and much more risky. Sometimes in life you have to get on board while you have the chance. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I decided to take a break from my medicine career. The next year over 10,000 Lavani pieces had been sold and we opened more stores around Spain.

From that moment on, I focused all my efforts on my business. I have studied several courses across business administration, marketing, jewelry design, photo editing and gained a Master’s degree along way. This experience has taught me to live with uncertainty but also with passion and excitement every day.