Meet the CEO Behind Mejuri, the Fine Jewelry Brand Millennials Are Obsessed With
At any given time, there are often over 50,000 people on the wait list to get their hands (or wrists, necks, or ears) on various Mejuri pieces. And we bet at least one pair of their dainty hoops or studs or a sterling silver ring is on your Instagram feed right now (and therefore on your wish list to nab with your next paycheck). The jewelry entrepreneur behind the impressive operation is Noura Sakkijha. Coming from three generations of Jordanian jewelers, designing fine jewelry is in Sakkijha’s blood. She used her savvy for engineering to ensure that the production of the lines was efficient and ethical and the jewelry affordable, and she leveraged her innate business skills to market the products to millennials, who have since become fierce devotees of the brand.
Meet the Master Jeweler: Noura Sakkijha
Originally, Sakkijha was pursuing a career in industrial engineering in Jordan, but she took a detour to get her MBA in Toronto, Canada. While consulting there at a financial firm, she kept jewelry in the back of her mind. Her background in engineering combined with her family’s craft got her thinking about more efficient ways to produce jewelry — without department stores’ insanely high markup prices. In 2015, Mejuri was born; Sakkijha’s husband Majed jumped on board, followed by her friend Justine Lancon, with Nicolas Peralta completing the founding team. They’ve built up their marketing strategy over these past four years with a push toward millennials, who are more than happy to support a brand that’s mixing up the fine jewelry industry, especially in their favor. Now Sakkijha’s adding even more excitement to the mix: She’s expecting twin girls and gearing up for her fast-approaching due date, so life is about to get even fuller. Here’s how she balances everything that comes her way.
Brit + Co: What was the major spark for you to leave engineering and make the switch to jewelry design?
Noura Sakkijha: Jewelry design was a natural transition for me, because I’m the third generation of my family to work in jewelry, and it’s always been something I loved. My engineering background provided me with a way of thinking that I’ve incorporated into Mejuri, but more importantly, I left my job to build a brand that I’m passionate about. I wanted to create something for our generation that combined techniques I’d learned over the years with the values I believe in: making fine jewelry that’s high quality but also accessible for everyday [wear].
B+C: Do you have suggestions for women who may have a business idea but perhaps are running into similar roadblocks in getting the idea funded?
NS: First, know your business and market inside and out. You need to know the numbers and know the opportunity that’s available to you. If you have data validation of your business, that’s even stronger. Build a network of people who support you and whom you support, and when you need to, don’t be shy to ask for introductions, as one connection leads to another and people are very willing to help if you have passion and a plan.
B+C How does your commitment to an ethical production set Mejuri apart?
NS: It’s non-negotiable for us to commit to an ethical production process. All our processes are gold standard, like sourcing from conflict-free and socially responsible diamond suppliers. These are simply a part of our foundation, and we will only continue to enhance these processes as we grow.
B+C: From a marketing standpoint, how is Mejuri changing the jewelry game?
NS: Our marketing is the opposite of traditional jewelry marketing: We have an authentic brand voice that is backed by a team of millennials who are passionate about our values. We’re driven by community: specifically, women around us who inspire us via their stories, style, and relationships. We’re also focused on staying true to ourselves and remaining relatable. Finally, we’re never finished in our development — there are more than 50,000 people on our wait lists, and we’re continually reinventing both the product and experience to keep things fresh.
B+C How is the buying and wearing of fine jewelry like Mejuri empowering for your consumers?
NS: We’ve been taught as consumers that jewelry is something that has to be earned or gifted, but we’ve worked hard to flip this narrative and give our community pieces they can gift to others or themselves. We believe in treating yourself, and by creating a brand of fine jewelry that you can actually wear every single day and is available at accessible prices, we made this something within reach.
B+C: Who is a female entrepreneur who’s inspired you?
NS: There are many stories and entrepreneurs I admire, but one who I’ve been particularly inspired by lately is Whitney Wolfe of Bumble. She’s built an incredible community based on empowering women not to wait to accomplish their dreams, to initiate their life choices, and to flip the gendered narrative of dating.
B+C: What’s your advice for women who perhaps went one route with their education, like engineering, but want to shake things up midway through their careers?
NS: Education is a way of thinking; it’s simply training your mind to problem-solve (which becomes very useful in any business). There’s very little about being an entrepreneur that you can learn in school. The most important aspects of getting your project off the ground are getting support, proving your hypothesis right with data, and accepting that failing is part of the process of success.
(Photos via Mejuri)
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