Five minutes with… Emirati entrepreneur Noor Shamma
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Five minutes with… Emirati entrepreneur Noor Shamma

Five minutes with… Emirati entrepreneur Noor Shamma

The founder of an eponymous New York City-based jewellery brand ensures that ethical and sustainable practices are implemented right through the supply chain

Noor Shamma

What were you doing before you started your brand?
I have been, and still am, in the field of marketing and communications for almost 15 years and have gained a wealth of experience in branding, marketing and corporate communications through a number of senior roles particularly within the education sector. Nonetheless, I have always been active in the realms of art and design, and I was ready to tap into entrepreneurship a couple of years ago, while retaining my full-time corporate job.

Could you give us an overview of the business?
We are a sustainable fine jewellery brand based out of New York with an international presence. Executed to perfection by the most skilled artisans, our brand articulates a harmonious rapport between classic and contemporary. We have a very diverse client base from all over the world (North America, Australia, Europe, MENA and Asia) and a few stockists internationally. To date, we have released four core collections, in addition to our Essentials line and our One-of-One collection.

How severely has Covid-19 impacted your business?
The truth is that Covid-19 may have positively impacted my business. It allowed me to slow down, regroup and adapt. Had it not been for Covid, I’d still be on one plane after the other, between airports, packing and unpacking, jetlagged three-quarters of the time, pushing for new collections and more events, constantly running against time – which was great and kept me inspired.

But 2020 was a good time for a new perspective, shifting the business priorities and changing the pace. I cannot determine when, and if, life will ever go back to normal, but from the start, my business launched as an e-commerce business and the shift worked smoothly for my brand given that everything was already set up for an operational online business.

Noor Shamma
Noor Shamma is also a member of Ethical Metalsmiths

How do you ensure ethical and fair-trade practices along the supply chain?
I believe that the partnerships are an essential part of ensuring such practices are evident along our business and supply chain, and thus, I was very selective with finding the right partners and suppliers whose vision aligned with mine when it came to ethical and sustainable practices. We responsibly source the best quality diamonds and gemstones with the highest integrity, and we use recycled and conflict-free 18-karat gold in our efforts to produce ethical and sustainable jewellery. We are committed to embracing sustainable practices in order to monitor our impact as a business through conserving natural resources, reducing energy usage, carbon emissions and carbon footprint. Noor Shamma is also a member of Ethical Metalsmiths.

What is your opinion on the UAE’s homegrown jewellery businesses?
It is no secret that the jewellery industry is saturated worldwide, but there’s still talent and potential everywhere you look, and the UAE is a great example. Some of my favourite regional jewellery brands are Lama Hourani, Nuun Jewels, House of Mouzannar, to name a few – their work is beyond exquisite, [and at] an international level.

Which are the collections you intend to release this year and what are your near- mid-term plans?
I am looking forward to releasing a new collection in the last quarter of this year, which is currently in the works. With the uncertainty of Covid-19, I stopped planning ahead and instead created smaller milestones and adapted accordingly. One thing I know is that I would definitely love to have a trunk show in the UAE in 2021.

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