Imagine wearing a beautiful gold choker with black onyx cabochons on the end. It’s on-trend, stunning … but wait, it’s only $200? And it’s real gold? Yes. Thanks to a dream of two best friends – Bouchra Ezzahraoui and Sophie Kahn – over a Sunday brunch, exquisite gold jewelry brand AUrate came to life. AUrate, which is “AU” for gold (thanks, chemistry class!) and is pronounced “OR-ate” (because, like an “orator” the brand tells a story), was launched in December 2014. Inspired by Warby Parker, what sets the brand apart is its ability to offer high-quality gold jewelry direct-to-consumer. By cutting out the middleman, the brand can offer customers stunning jewelry at up to 50-to-75% off typical industry prices. As Morocco-raised Bouchra says, “Gold is extremely expensive in the United States.”
The duo, who met while attending graduate school at Princeton in 2009, built AUrate while holding full-time jobs, taking classes in design and hosting pop-up shops on the side. Beyond the hustle, what’s so impressive about Bouchra and Sophie is their deep passion for educating consumers about the differences in gold and other jewelry, saying stores carry, “Fine jewelry or fashion pieces you’d pay a lot for, but are not really made out of fine materials.” One example of that? Fashion jewelry that turns one’s fingers green! Facing this problem themselves, after some digging, research confirmed what they had already known: In retail there was either affordable fashion jewelry or expensive fine jewelry. There was nothing in the middle, and a gap needed to be filled.
Others caught on and quickly agreed. Once the demand took off, the two decided to dive into the company full-throttle. While Sophie focuses on the fashion and design side of the business, Bouchra is drawn to the business side. In episode 24 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Editor and Host Polina Selyutin speaks with Bouchra and Sophie about the strategies they used that resulted in 400% annual growth, advice to other entrepreneurs, and combining their individual background in math and finance with design, art and social purpose. Go to www.iwantherjob.com for more show notes and links to topics discussed in the show.
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