Sophie Kahn & Bouchra Ezzahraoui
Founders, AUrate New York
If you haven't heard of AUrate, you've been missing out, but you're in luck as we sat down with the duo behind the brand. The founders, Sophie Kahn and Bourchra Ezzahraoui, pals from Princeton, saw a void in the fine jewelry market which in turn led to an e-commerce destination with the admirable aim of making fine jewelry affordable by cutting out the retailers. The name, like the girls, is quite brillaint: Au, as in the chemical symbol for gold; rate, a cue to their production standards; and the pronunciation, mimics the verb orate, or to tell a story. But as smart as and beautifiul as the collection is, arguably the best part of AUrate is an added layer of their business model that gives back to the greater community by partnering with schools and donating books to underprivileged children for every product purchase. Here, the duo tells story behind the brand, the best advice they've ever recieved, and some tried-and-true Morroccan beauty secrets.
VacationStyle: How did you guys decide to start a jewelry line?
Sophie Kahn & Bouchra Ezzahraoui: We decided this over brunch in Nolita and then spent a year working out all the details. Our unique angle is offering a fair price for fine jewlery, giving back a book to kids in need, and a clean and minimal aesthetic.
VS: Where do you find your inspiration?
SK & BE: New York City, Art, Furniture, Architecture
VS: We love your one-for-one model - what made you choose to partner with Mastery Charter?
SK & BE: Mastery Charter is an amazing charter school of over 10,000 students with a stellar turnaround record. We believe education and reading is the key to self-development and wanted to give back to kids directly by giving them a book. We've already given over 1000 books to the students.
VS: You did a pop-up at Art Basel in Miami — what are some of your favorite places in Miami?
VS: Where can we expect to find your future pop-ups?
SK & BE: Mostly NY for now, but later maybe LA. We'll be in Southampton this summer!
VS: Do you have favorite pieces that you have made? Do you wear the same pieces each day or change?
SK: My favorite is the geometric square ring - it took forever to design and is such a solid piece of gold. We both change pieces all the time, depending on our mood or the occasion. AUrate jewelry has a wide range of pieces, designed for different moments (although all with the same clean undertone).
VS: What brands do you admire and why?
SK: Celine and The Row for its aesthetic, TOMS for it's giving back model, The Reformation for its positive impact on the environment and cool clothing, Apple for changing our lives with technology and building such a brand.
VS: Who would you love to see wear your jewelry?
SK: Any confident and kind woman
VS: Favorite hotel or style of a hotel?
SK: Authenticity is most important. Love Ksar Char Bagh in Marrakech.
VS: How would you describe your style? Does it differ when you’re on vacation?
SK: My style can really depend based on my mood. Sometimes very simple and clean, sometimes super bold. Generally always like to mix and make a unique combination with different brands and styles - don't like something too cookie cutter. On vacation it probably becomes more boho and free spirited.
VS: what beauty items do you use just on vacation?
SK: Mostly just sunscreen and aftersun. I don't use a lot of products.
BE: I use Argan Oil for both body/hair, it's a Moroccan signature we inherited from many generations.
VS: What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
SK: JUST DO IT (when it comes to being an entrepreneur)! In other words, don't spend too long debating the pros and cons of everything since it can paralyze you - just do it and you will figure out what works and what doesn't.
BE: My dad used to call me the little dreamer in our family. I believe only dreamers are crazy enough to think they can change the world.. So if you are one of them, please do!
While on vacation...
One-piece or two?
BE: Both, I like changing bikinis throughout my stay
Kaftan or sarong?
SK: Kaftan (I have a Moroccan husband and business partner!)
BE: Definitely kaftan! I'm Moroccan!
Hair-up or down? Down
Makeup or no makeup? No makeup
Flats or heels? Both (Can't pick here!)
Underpack or overpack?
SK: Over, unfortunately, but getting better with time!
BE: Definitely overpack!
Detox or retox? Detox
Stick with what you know or try something new? Try something new
Dominican Demi-God to Vacation Fashion tells us whos suitcase she wants to raid and what hotelier shes just plain addictedread more
The Swimwear Designer takes us to her insider spots in Maui and explains how shes stays bikini fitread more