As a young professional working in the finance industry, Bouchra Ezzahraoui often found herself searching for high-quality jewelry that was both accessible and contemporary. In 2014, she decided to team up with fellow Princeton University graduate, Sophie Kahn. Together, the two founded AUrate, a fine jewelry brand that offers products that are made of high-quality, durable materials and manufactured in New York City.
In addition to Ezzahraoui and Kahn’s mission of providing consumers with stylish and affordable pieces of jewelry, they are educating and empowering others to learn more about what their jewelry is made out of–making gold more democratic. The founders of AUrate have also taken on a social responsibility—with each piece of jewelry that is sold, AUrate will provide a school book to a child in need.
“We believe that every single business out there should give back to our society,” says Ezzahraoui. “Education is a big pillar of AUrate.”
Before starting AUrate, Ezzahraoui worked for Goldman Sachs as a derivatives trader. Because of AUrate’s great success, Ezzahraoui was able to leave Goldman Sachs and focus on AUrate full-time earlier this year.
“I went into finance because I enjoyed the challenging path I was going to pursue for a few years, I learned a lot and made great friends and mentors,” she says. “But what excites me most is when I build something [and] when I learn something new.”
When Ezzahraoui first started AUrate with her business partner Kahn, they were challenged by the jewelry business itself—a very traditional market with high barriers to entry. Finding the right manufacturers to work with and learning more about the finance side of gold were big projects they took on. However, they were able to step into that entrepreneurial mindset and build a reputation not only for themselves but for the company brand as well.
For millennial entrepreneurs looking to make it big, Ezzahraoui advises, “Anyone who has an idea worth going for should just go for it, just do it and don’t spend too much time staring at your business plan,” she says. “Take calculated risks.”