Episode 120
August 23, 2022

Redefining Fine Jewelry

with Sophie Kahn, Co-Founder and CEO of Aurate

About this episode

In this episode, Sophie Kahn shares her journey to becoming the Co-Founder and CEO of Aurate, a premier direct-to-consumer jewelry brand. Sophie shares with us her journey from growing up in Amsterdam, to working at Boston Consulting, to Marc Jacobs, and how having lunch with a friend led to the idea for Aurate. We talk about why she believes you can learn anything with the right framework, the differences between lab-grown and natural jewelry, and how she validated the concept for Aurate with a pop-up store.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • (1:03) More about Aurate, founded in 2015 the company seeks to democratize the fine jewelry industry through its online-driven model, accessible price points, and social impact strategy.
  • (2:25) What it was like growing up in Amsterdam but always dreaming of moving to New York City 
  • (14:04) Her experience working at Boston Consulting, to working at the luxury fashion house, Marc Jacobs
  • (20:19) How having brunch with a friend led to the idea for Aurate, based on a ring she had been wearing turning her finger green
  • (23:00) The metrics of success that let Sophie and her partner know it was time to take things to the next level with Aurate, and how she validated the concept for Aurate with a pop-up store
  • (26:40) What makes Aurate unique, is being very customer driven and focusing on what the women want from jewelry 
  • (33:00) The challenges in the beginning phase struggling to fundraise for a  women's jewelry brand to male investors and convincing them that an online platform is beneficial
  • (37:50) What she’s learned from hiring a team and how to keep them motivated 
  • (41:00) How to deal with conflict with employees and how to handle situations 
  • (48:00) Final advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs and what shocked her the most about becoming an entrepreneur

To Find Out More:



“I had to build confidence by proving myself in a way and getting some external validation that I could do it.”

“I really liked the creative part, but I also liked the analytical part.”

“At the end of the day it was still corporate and it was going too slow for my liking.”

“There were all these different types of women that for different reasons gravitated towards Aurate.” 

“Get your team excited to fight with you because it's not easy to be a startup.”

“Adapt your management style to your employees, not everyone is the same.”

“Feedback has to go both ways.”

“You can't just go off on a whim, you have to be more strategic when you’re a leader.”

“Make sure that you're ready to essentially give up everything else for a while because once you're in it, it just is all-consuming.”

“Build some type of team or network that you can rely on that can help you because it is intense. You need to have people to talk to who can't necessarily be your team. Have your kind of group of people that you can bounce ideas off, talk about the bad things, the good things, the secret things, whatever. You need somebody because otherwise, it's really lonely.”

Read the transcript

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