Launching a brand new business has its ups and downs, and Noura Sakkijha can tell you all about it.
In the early years of launching the fine jewelry brand Mejuri, Sakkijha hit burnout and learned some very difficult lessons that are now part of the story she brings to the latest episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast.
Today, Sakkijha is the CEO and co-founder of Mejuri, a high-growth brand that has sold more than 1.8 million pieces of jewelry since its inception in 2015.
Looking from the outside in, entering the jewelry market can seem like a daunting endeavor. Not only is it seemingly saturated, but it's also exceptionally expensive, she says.
Sakkijha grew up in Jordan as a third-generation jeweler. There, she noticed that traditional high-end jewelry brands always targeted men, encouraging them to buy luxe jewelry for women. In 2015, Sakkijha started Mejuri to change this narrative: A woman doesn't need a man to buy jewelry for her. She can buy it yourself.
Sakkijha successfully raised more than $40 million for her jewelry brand and shine in a competitive market. Her products have been worn by A-list celebrities like Selena Gomez, Lizzo, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Oprah, and others.
In this episode, Sakkijha also discusses the difficult lessons she learned early in the business, why self-care and therapy have been game-changing for her in both her personal and professional life, and what it takes to build a high-growth brand & sell over 1.8 million pieces of jewelry since inception.
dot.LA Audience Engagement Editor Luis Gomez contributed to this post.
On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Logan Hollowell talks about her fascination with gemstones and crystals and how that took her to creating her own jewelry company.
Raised in the Outer Banks in North Carolina, Hollowell grew up used to hurricanes and the destruction they brought. She said she saw her neighborhood rebuilt about every three years. Watching things wiped out and then rebuilt helped forge Hollowell's worldview.
"Just knowing that everything can be rebuilt, and everything starts over and there's always this rebirth process. It kind of encouraged me to from a young age to recognize that it's okay [to] take risks, and things will always work themselves out," said Hollowell.
She took that risk and moved to California at the age of 17. Hollowell went to Santa Monica College, living paycheck to paycheck as she picked up jobs working as a waitress and bartending. She couldn't rely on her family to help her financially, she said, and that helped her become independent at an early age.
Hollowell repeated affirmations to herself in the mirror to build her self-confidence. She also kept track of the little things that she wanted.
"I made a vision board and I would put a place I wanted to go, I really wanted to do a luxury Napa experience. And I wanted like a bomber jacket. Just some little things," said Hollowell, adding that she found visualizing her dreams was crucial to putting herself in a goal-oriented mindset. She went on to design and create her own jewelry and her own company.
In the rest of the episode, Hollowell talks about the jeweler that changed her life and the challenges she faced as an entrepreneur.
On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Jenna Lyons talks about struggling to find her passion to becoming a fashion icon and co-founder of the beauty brand, LoveSeen.
Lyons started her career as intern at Donna Karan then went on to join the design team at J.Crew. After nearly 30 years, she decided to build her own empire. The idea of being in the fashion industry was something that came to her when she learned how to sew.
"Everybody knew, you know, 'I'm going to be a nurse, I'm going to be a teacher, I'm gonna be a doctor.' And I didn't know and I was so grateful to find this passion for making clothes," said Lyons.
As a young teen, Lyons had a genetic disorder that made her teeth yellow and created bald spots on her head and scars all over her body. She was already about six feet tall and was teased by bullies. She said nothing fit her right as she tried on all kinds of sizes. It wasn't until she took a sewing class and made her own clothes that she noticed a difference.
"I was really shocked when I started to make clothes. The whole conversation around my image or what I was wearing, or how I looked, shifted dramatically. And the power of something like that is so overwhelming. It was the first time I had positive feedback on something that I had not only worn, but I actually made it myself," said Lyons.
The passion to make clothes changed Lyons life as she went off to Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York. However, the school's expensive tuition became too much and Lyon returned home for the summer to be a waitress. Just before she did, however, she found a job posting for J.Crew as an assistant designer in men's knits.
She put her her resume out there and got an interview with the head of human resources. She finally heard back at the end of the summer with a job offer. Lyons took the job without even asking the salary. Twenty-seven years later, Lyons moved from her role as president of J Crew to begin her own company focused on reinventing fake lashes. She was inspired by the very condition that she had that impacted her lash growth. Lyons even got her own HBO Max series.
"I never in a million years, never in a million years, would have thought that I would have gotten to a place in my career where people actually want to take a picture of me or my outfit," said Lyons.
In the rest of the episode, Lyons gets in-depth with her childhood, why she left J.Crew. and how she reinvented herself.
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