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October 28 2021
Team Incite

Founder Spotlight: Noura Sakkijha, Founder and CEO of Mejuri

October 28 2021
Team Incite
Mejuri's retail location in London

Noura Sakkijha is a third-generation jeweler with a vision to reimagine the industry for the modern world. She founded Mejuri with a specific goal: to redefine fine jewelry as an everyday expression of self and encourage women to buy jewelry “for our damn selves.” 

At Incite, we see Mejuri as part of a larger movement towards conscious consumption in retail and Noura as a visionary, values-driven leader, and we were excited to be an early investor. This mom of twins was recently highlighted by the Inc. Female Founders 100 list. Though Noura isn’t one to seek the spotlight, we want to share our own thoughts about what makes her special. 

 

“Buy yourself the damn diamonds”

“That sentiment of flipping the traditional fine jewelry purchase narrative from occasional to everyday was the catalyst for starting Mejuri.” - Noura Sakkijha

For decades, men have bought fine jewelry for women, which they’re told only to wear for special occasions. Mejuri flips this narrative on its head. Noura’s vision is to encourage women to take a more active role by purchasing what they like, for themselves, while redefining fine jewelry as something that can be ethical, sustainable, and enjoyed every day. 

Founded in 2015, Mejuri offers high quality jewelry directly to consumers and prioritizes fully traceable materials. It is a new generation brand that emphasizes the experience as much as the product, and makes the craft of jewelry more relevant for a new generation. 

Mejuri has flourished with over 2M pieces sold, and its pieces have been worn by everyone from Lizzo to Oprah. Its offerings are getting more sophisticated and business is booming, with weekly jewelry drops, creative marketing, and curated physical/online retail—including 7 stores across 3 countries. The company, which now employs over 350 people, also launched a new line last year and has expanded online into Australia and Germany.

 

Conscious Consumption and the Future of Retail 

“When we think about our business within the framework of sustainability, we know it impacts both our planet and people, from those who source our precious metals to the master jewelers crafting our pieces, to our community.” - Noura Sakkijha

Ever since Incite made an early investment in Noura and Mejuri six years ago, we have been a big supporter of her ability to make seemingly improbable things happen. 

In sourcing and developing its products, Mejuri works with suppliers who comply with the highest environmental standards and aim to trace each piece from the origin of the materials to the customer’s doorstep. 

Conscious consumption is on the rise, and Mejuri has been on the cutting edge of this trend. Four in five Americans are concerned about the social and environmental impact of the items they buy, and three quarters of Millennials are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products.

In this context, we believe Mejuri’s approach—and success—exemplifies the future of fine retail. Buying jewelry is as much about the experience as it is about the object: Mejuri’s model pairs a digital-first, direct-to-consumer approach with curated brick-and-mortar retail experiences that feel like walking into your (most design-savvy) girlfriend’s living room. This is why this new company has broken into an industry formerly dominated by large, established players.

 

Values-Driven Leadership 

“To me, the truest expression of Mejuri is mutual uplift: all of us supporting each other, and you, our community, feeling empowered to invest in yourself and, in turn, the community around you.” - Noura Sakkijha

Noura is committed to values-driven leadership from the inside out. Mejuri is developing climate impact targets, and the company has granted $230,000 in scholarships to over 50 women and non-binary people through its Empowerment Fund.

At Incite, we believe the best founders bring different lived experiences to their work. In 2019, Noura raised $23 million in Series B funding when she was seven months pregnant with twin girls. She later underscored the importance of supporting others on their own journeys. Building supportive policies and culture that acknowledge employees as whole people with lives at home as well as at work, she wrote, can help make the “‘family versus business’ sacrifice a concept of the past.” This outlook is part of why this woman-led tech company has a team of over 70% women. We love to see this kind of leadership from founders.

We signed on as pre-seed investors at a time when many others struggled to see Noura’s vision and didn’t believe that a tech-enabled fine jewelry company would succeed. While we’re pleased, of course, at the company’s financial success, we’re equally—if not more—delighted to see this values-first leader and remarkable company succeed.

Check out Mejuri for yourself! 

And if you know of other founders like Noura we should talk with, send us a note and let us know!

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