Describe the AUrate design DNA in a few words
Sophie Kahn: Bold yet feminine and with a love for essentialism.
Who is the AUrate woman?
Bouchra Ezzahraoui: The main word that comes to mind is REAL. She is a stylish woman that cares about the real things in life, loves traveling and is proud of her individuality.
How did it all start?
Bouchra: We met while studying finance at Princeton University but we both then went into corporate jobs in New York – I was a derivatives trader at Goldman Sachs while Sophie was at Marc Jacobs. A few years later, a weekend brunch turned into a big discussion on why we felt that modern fine jewellery was so inaccessible, intimidating and uninspiring. We wanted to address all of that with AUrate.
What does the brand name stand for?
Bouchra: “AU” is the symbol of gold in the periodic table and “rate” stands for rate of return on a purchase. “AUrate” is also pronounced “Orate” which refers to storytelling. In a nutshell, the name stands for fine jewellery that holds value and tells a story.
What makes you work so well together?
Sophie: We have the same vision but different strengths and weaknesses, which always helps us get to a better point than if we were alone. We also have fun doing it!
Bouchra: We both have different skills yet the same vision for AUrate, which is key. I mostly focus on the business side but I also love getting involved in the design of some of our editions. Sophie spends time with the creative direction and the content.
Bouchra, where does your Moroccan heritage feed in to the aesthetic?
Bouchra: We place a lot of emphasis on craftsmanship which is intrinsic and true to my Moroccan roots. The Aura collection, for example, is inspired by jewellery that I was gifted from just two weeks old; my Hamsa and my evil eye bracelets. It’s jewellery that brings good aura and energy to life.
Sophie, where does your Dutch heritage feed in to the aesthetic?
Sophie: In Holland I was always very inspired by the Scandinavian aesthetic - a desire to focus on the essentialism and cut out the noise. Even for very traditionally lavish objects, like flowers, you can make something very clean and modern such as our Flower Edition.
What makes your collections different?
Bouchra: It’s very important to bring our customers a modern aesthetic that focused on both craftsmanship and design. This is what we believe fine jewellery should be about and this combination comes naturally given our backgrounds. A gold fine jewellery piece is supposed to last a lifetime and can be passed on to the next generation.
In terms of design, what makes the collection's so modern and forward thinking?
Sophie: We always think of ‘what can we remove’ and not ‘what can we add’. That gives AUrate a sense of modernity and freshness. In addition, our woman is our muse – we live her, breathe her, are her.
In terms of philosophy, what makes the brand so modern and forward thinking?
Bouchra: Everything AUrate stands for: We’re made by women, for women and believe that our woman wants it all. We wanted to check all the boxes from a perfect product to an ethical supply chain, a concrete giving back program (we offer a school book to a child in need for every piece purchased in the collection), and the most customer-centric strategy. We want our customers to feel empowered and beautiful inside and out.
Which pieces are your personal favourites?
Sophie: At the moment I’m very much in love with our Infinity collection in all its different forms. I like to stack them in many ways – that’s the fun thing about AUrate, depending on how you stack and style you can be as minimal or maximal as you feel.
The Grazia Girl is about to celebrate Eid Al Fitr and gifting is a big part of its tradition. Which pieces do you most love to gift friends and family?
Sophie: I’ve found a lot of success with our Sensu Collection – it reflects the light in a beautiful way and everybody seems to appreciate that. But usually I try and carefully choose the AUrate gift for the individual.