Welcome to EW’s weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week we chat with the founder of jewellery brand ALMASIKA, Catherine Sarr. Having spent years in the luxury space, she started the Chicago-based fine jewellery brand with a closely fostered relationship that she nurtured over the years with the art world.

With distinctive pieces that have tastefully come to life, the pieces are made using 18K gold using abstract lines and structured lines. Seen on several A-listers such as Reese Witherspoon and Alicia Keys, all the ALMASIKA designs are created for independent female thinkers.

Almasika fine jewellery

What was your favourite subject at school?

My favourite subjects at school were history and philosophy. From a young age, I could spend several hours in encyclopedic books, discovering faraway countries and ancient civilizations.

What was your first job?

I worked for a luxury brand press office in London.

Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your brand?

ALMASIKA is founded on an approach of contemplation, reflection and discussion. Each piece of the jewellery connects to larger traditions and significance that span generations and cultures. I learn from various creatives – varying from architects to art historians to engineers and artisans. Cultural craftspeople act both as interlocutors and sources of inspiration, setting in motion an artistic and intellectual dialogue.

What are the key elements of your role?

I play various roles at ALMASIKA. I oversee the entire brand from business to creative. I design all our new collections, manage retail and marketing strategies. I am very fortunate to have experts all around me from our showroom in NYC to a PR agency in London to help me in what is a multi-faceted role.

Talk us through your daily routine.

I start with some jump rope. I am learning to meditate and take some time to be with myself. I proceed to get the kids ready for school and then it’s work time which includes a delicate balance of business strategy, operations and creativity. I am also involved with several contemporary art institutions in the US and France, so I always try to set aside some time to foster those relationships.



What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

Write a business plan, have mentors, and be relentless. I have three letters that I live by whether in my personal or business life: P.H.D. — Passion, Humility, Dedication.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

“Taking a step backward can be the way forward”. The best pieces of advice, which I’ve received during my life, all relate to the notion of patience.


And what is the worst?

I believe any advice related to a workaholic mindset. There is this theory that when you’re running a business, there’s never a day off. It’s important to be dedicated and hardworking, however, this past year has shown me sustainability and self-care are vital.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Like many women juggling their career, personal aspiration, passion and family have been challenging. I moved to three countries since I started ALMASIKA (UK, UAE and the US). I have four children, three were born in a span of two years as I had twin girls. When I had a career break with my children, my mother would tell me traditional adages reflecting on patience. Sometimes you have to take a detour in life and know that your time will come. This notion even inspired the Stella (star in Latin) medallion in our Sagesse collection and this medallion is the most personal piece for me. It refers to the traditional aphorism “Just as all the fruits do not ripen at the same time, so all the stars do not shine at the same time. Mine will shine someday.”

What are your goals for 2021?

There are plenty of goals on the horizon for me and ALMASIKA in 2021. This year will be my first time presenting at the Jewelry Couture Show in Las Vegas where I am debuting our new collection. We are planning to continue our expansion in the US and internationally, especially in the UAE where I’ve lived for almost three years.

For more information visit almasika.com

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Feature image: supplied @almasikafinejewellery