Welcome to the Emirates Woman 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 Noora Shamsi, founder of her namesake fine jewellery brand. Born and raised in the UAE, Shamsi comes from a family with a legacy in the jewellery industry in this region. “Having a family legacy in the jewellery industry for decades, it was only natural for me to be inspired to embark on my very own signature designs,” she explains.
Emirates Woman sat down with the Emirati jewellery designer to find out more about her creative process and what inspired her to launch her own eponymous brand.
Tell us about your upbringing and your studies.
I’m a UAE national, born and raised. Growing up and studying in the UAE, I completed a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and specialized in a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture and Design.
What was your first job?
Being born into one of the most prominent family jewellers in the UAE with expertise in the industry dating back to 1977, I’ve found myself at the family factory since a very young age working side by side my father. I started sketching and assembling my very first gold hair clips and earrings at the age of 11 and officially started designing collections for Al Shamsi at the age of 16.
What inspired you to enter the jewellery space?
I always say jewellery chose me before I chose it. Having a family legacy in the jewellery industry for decades, it was only natural for me to be inspired to embark on my very own signature designs. As my designs started consistently gaining a lot of positive attention from my family, friends and network of clients, this prompted me to launch my very own brand Noora Shamsi Jewellery which I founded in 2021.
Talk us through the inspiration for your pieces.
Our contemporary and luxurious design aesthetic is a combined play of delicacy and strength that celebrates femininity and the concept of ephemeral time and beauty, which are constantly evolving. Our latest Fall/Winter Collection embraces the design house’s aesthetic, featuring diamonds and precious stones in 18kt gold collectable designs, combining nature’s motifs with contemporary compositions of colour through our handpicked stones. The signature designs of this collection feature a play of textures with the exclusive introduction of pure silk and diamond chokers, inspired by my father and my grandfather and their heirloom craft techniques.
What are the key elements of your role?
As the Founder and Chief Designer of Noora Shamsi Jewellery, my duties are split between the business side of things and the design side. Aside from constantly researching and sketching, and working on my upcoming collections and bespoke designs, I check in with our production team by visiting the factory at least twice to three times a week to follow up on the progress of our designs. I also manage our regional exhibitions and trunk shows by connecting and networking with potential retail partners while constantly on the lookout for upcoming industry events and showcases. I’m also in touch daily with our marketing strategists for our campaigns, social media, and public relations.
Talk us through your daily routine.
I start my day with coffee and scrolling through my Instagram for the latest in jewellery. I live by the beach and it’s very important for me to stay close and connected to nature through meditation and daily walks with my kids. I’m a mother to three amazing boys and a beautiful girl. My daughter Shamma is into jewellery already which makes me very proud. She’s already started collecting her pieces and has an understanding of how precious jewellery is. So between raising the kids, I work a lot from home, especially when it comes to design, aside the routine factory visits and connecting with my team.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
My advice is to just start. Whenever you have an idea, do your research and start. Everything follows when you have passion, drive and determination. Something also that I realized early on, is that to run a successful business you’ll need the support of the right team and to invest in the right resources to help you achieve your vision and goals and to get you from one phase to the next.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
My mother, the one who made me the person I am today, gave me the best advice. “Nothing in life is perfect.” It is very easy for us as humans to fall into the trap of looking at the negative or downside of things but she always used to encourage me to look at the best part of anything. Because whatever you seek, you will find. She also taught me acceptance of other people’s differences which has helped me greatly evolve by expanding my horizons and by constantly keeping an open mind.
And what is the worst?
No advice or experience is bad. They’re there to teach us something. And with time, I’ve learnt to always listen to my inner voice, no matter the advice.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
One of the biggest challenges was losing my father. He was the anchor of the business and the Al Shamsi family. All of us, me together with my brothers and sister, suddenly had to step up and assume bigger roles in the business. And that challenge inevitably made me the stronger person I am today. I soon learnt that every business challenge can also present itself as an opportunity if you’re agile enough.
What are the future plans for your brand?
I am very excited to see the release of our second Fall/Winter Collection this December which will feature our Bridal Line for the first time. We’ll also be introducing new lines for children and expanding our bridal and bespoke lines. My vision is to place my jewellery internationally with global retailers in London and New York in the near future, in addition to our regional expansion. By early next year, we’re expecting the launch of our global online boutique where our clients can shop Noora Shamsi Jewellery internationally with worldwide shipping.
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