As we all age, we start investing in pieces that will really add to our wardrobe in a meaningful way. Sure, we all might fall for a sale at Forever 21 now and again, but we also start looking for clothing and accessories that are well-made, timeless and go with everything. With that in mind, we would like to introduce your jewelry box to AUrate. This is a New York-made, women-run jewelry line that is worth every karat…just like you! Co-founders Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui sat down and talked fashion with us, right before releasing their new collection, all made of solid gold and diamonds.
HOW DID YOU FIRST ENTER THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
Bouchra’s background is in Finance, while I worked as Director of Strategy at Marc Jacobs and at BCG. The idea for AUrate came from a problem we encountered as young working women, rather than as “jewelers” per se. We realized there was a void in the jewelry market for real gold that was affordable, high-quality and fashionable. We knew we were onto something and shortly after, we created AUrate.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE LOOKING TO BREAK INTO FASHION?
Just go for it, don’t wait for the perfect moment. Don’t cave into self-doubt and over-analysis. New York City can feel like an overwhelming place sometimes, but the city is full of inspiration, creativity, and opportunities. Take advantage of the city and be always on the lookout for new inspiration. Make good connections and be willing to learn from others in the industry.
WHO IS THE AURATE WOMAN?
The AUrate woman is authentic, modern, and entrepreneurial. She is elegant, but with an edge and a strong sense of personal style. The AUrate woman is somebody who has developed herself into caring about more than just appearances, but cares about the bigger pictures – whether it’s about ethical sourcing, fair pricing, or giving back.
WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO MAKE YOUR LINE LOCALLY IN NEW YORK?
We like to keep a close eye on every step of the production process. Making our line in New York allows us to create relationships with our vendors, our artisans, as well as track up close the quality our products. Also, by producing in New York, we avoid import expenses and keep retail costs to a minimum.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BRAND STRATEGY.
From the beginning, we wanted AUrate to be a direct-to-consumer brand. This allows us to avoid middlemen markups that inflate the price of jewelry by 300+%. Our branding and strategy is very much in line with this. Our strategy is focused on transparency; we like to become familiarized with our customers and for them to become familiarized with our jewelry and our business model. As for the branding, we like to keep things focused on the essentials (real gold jewelry) and avoid too much distraction and noise. We’re inspired by a clean, minimalist design.
HOW DOES YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE AFFECT YOUR BRAND STRATEGY?
Nowadays, there is such a close interaction between brands and consumers, which allows us to connect and engage with our customers in ways that weren’t possible before.
We’re not only inspired by the AUrate woman but, thanks to social media, we get to interact with the AUrate woman and become more familiarized with what they want and what they like. Every day, we learn what our customers respond well to and adjust our brand strategy accordingly.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE HAVING A PERSONAL, BUT ALSO PROFESSIONAL, IMAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
When you’re building your own brand, it’s very hard to keep work and personal life separated since they’re so closely intertwined. Through our social interactions, we try to stay true to our values and our company mission. The AUrate values stem directly from our intrinsic values: being real and authentic, caring about others, thinking outside the box and daring to be bold. We also believe this is what we project on our social media and through our images.
WHY IS CLASSIC JEWELRY IMPORTANT TO ANY WOMAN’S WARDROBE?
Good jewelry can really beautify a woman and accentuate her traits, whether her décolletage, ears, fingers or arms. It’s about embracing who you are and letting that shine through. Good jewelry should furthermore last a lifetime (or more accurately: multiple lifetimes) so that you can pass it on to the next generation and start building memories.