As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about empowering women who are encouraging and doing incredible things with their ideas in society, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela.
An exceptional leader and a great team player, Angela launched her jewelry brand Azura in 2017. With more than 108K followers on Instagram and other social media platforms– her life journey and story will definitely leave the audience emotionally captivated. Listen to her inspiring journey and see how she accomplished her dream.
It is such a pleasure having you; please let our users know about yourself and your amazing jewelry brand- Azura?
My name is Angela, the founder of Azura Jewelry. Azura was established in 2017 in New York with a mission to inspire and connect. It’s a high-quality, dainty jewelry line that aims to bridge the price and quality gap we see in the jewelry market. Authentic natural gemstones are the heart of our business. Our designs are dainty and unique; they are meant to not only make women look and feel their best but also encourage them to seek beauty and strength in any situation.
What prompted you to start your own jewelry brand?
I grew up in China with a family that faced political persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist government. I experienced firsthand the terror of the notorious Cultural Revolution. My grandfather faced imprisonment as one of the top nationalist officers, and my grandmother, the daughter of the Chinese ambassador to Japan, was left emotionally paralyzed and humiliated after she was forced to shave her long hair in public. My parents were tortured and eventually exiled. As a child, I was taught to keep my head down, be still, and fit in. To do so was to save my life.
Azura Jewelry offers women a chance to begin a new story- Angela
In college, I focused on going to work for a prestigious company someday so that I could provide for my family. Given how meek and insecure I was, I struggled to find my footing in a world seemingly full of confident and accomplished people.
As students, we were required to interview for jobs in our junior year. The night before my first interview, I received a gift from my mother: a pair of earrings with six tiny, black spinel stones enclosed around a white topaz gemstone. The earrings reminded me of tiny flowers and made me feel special. They also ignited a spark in me for a love of jewelry, especially those with a story, and although I did not know it at the time, this was the beginning of Azura Jewelry.
Today, Azura Jewelry offers women a chance to begin a new story, and just like my story of those tiny little flower earrings, we hope to inspire every woman to bloom.
What challenges did you face at the start of your business?
Making our voice heard in an overly saturated market. The jewelry industry is cutthroat; there are thousands of brands popping up each day. How to make our story heard and not to become another “me too” jewelry brand is very critical to us at the beginning. We launched Azura Jewelry with an initiative called “Begin your story with Azura,” where I connected with strong women around the world to share their stories and collaborate with them to create one-of-a-kind jewelry designs that symbolize their journey. By telling their story behind each creation, we were able to pass on the message of empowerment to connect and inspire more women.
How is the jewelry business evolving, and what is your take on it?
In the past two years, we kept defining and refining my style through the exploration of technique and materials. The one thing that remains consistent is the desire to bring the jewelry and the sentiment behind the jewelry together through the power of the story. Each piece of jewelry starts with a story, be it a new arrival, graduation, a love found, and sometimes a love lost. They literally transport you back to the first dance or the song that your mother used to sing to you when you were a child. It is those memories that are most precious that people hold dear. When a piece of jewelry leaves our hand, that’s really the moment a new chapter starts. It is such a privilege to play a part in our customers’ journey. It is like being allowed access to people’s happiest moments.
Which jewelry are you obsessed with?
I am obsessed with all of them. Each of them is like my own child to me. 🙂
How does wearing jewelry enhance one overall look?
It is not jewelry; it is what jewelry brings out of you. With the right piece, your day is brightened and filled with an aura of joy. The sentiment behind each jewelry increases your confidence levels, in the meanwhile, brings out your inner beauty. You can sit taller and walk out of the door with new confidence. Smile, confidence, feeling love, and being loved are the best makeup for a woman. Certain jewelry items will make you feel a great sense of power.
Do you think jewelry impacts women emotionally, personally, and professionally?
I have always sought to create jewelry that celebrates moments of meaning, expressing style and emotion in equal measure. We continue to innovate and explore the play between design and emotion. For me, the jewelry should always be a symbol of thought beyond the gift, something unique for someone unique. Customers come to us to discover jewelry that celebrates their most precious and significant memories in their own personal style. It is a piece of armor they wear to their battlefield. It’s a beautiful thing to be part of.
According to you, what five skill-sets should a woman have to give them strength?
Adaptability, perseverance, faith, communication, and execution.
What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?
I constantly ask myself: “What would I do if I were not afraid? If I know, I couldn’t fail?” It helps me evaluate my intention behind each action — is it out of fear? Or does it come from passion and love? The answers always give me clarity and have me focus on the bigger picture.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
In moments of self-doubt, I always take time to reflect on my journey to date: from the little girl growing up in China to a self-made businesswoman living in Manhattan with a view of the Statue of Liberty from my living room. I have been growing through facing adversity and always welcome new challenges that help me stay active and engaged in my business.
If you had taken a different career path, what would it be?
I wouldn’t have chosen any other path. This is my calling.
If you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
- The first one is definitely Oprah Winfrey! Her strength of sharing her early struggles of self-worth, sexual abuse, and teenage abortion is one of the reasons that I decided to tell the story about Azura Jewelry.
- I would also love to talk to John Rockefeller, who has built an oil empire out of nothing.
- Michele Obama is definitely on the list too. The aura that surrounds her is genuinely unsurpassed. I truly believe meeting her would provide me an opportunity to make significant advancements in introspection and my passion for empowering women.
Lastly, what does success mean to you?
Success means living a fulfilled life and never letting fear hold you back. If on your deathbed, you can say, “I have no regrets,” I would call it a successful life.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.