Inspired by the unique, joyous nature of traditional African jewellery design, Sheila Mokgoadi’s luxury brand, Azura Luxury Handcrafts, has created a range of bold, chic and highly desirable pieces that appeals to the most sophisticated global buyers. Her dedication to ensuring the highest levels of craftsmanship, combined with a fiercely modern design aesthetic, are what make this African luxury jewellery brand so unique.
LoA spoke to Sheila Mokgoadi, the founder, head designer and creative force behind Azura Luxury Handcrafts about her design philosophy and her vision for her company and brand.
Tell us a little more about your company
Azura Luxury Handcrafts Pty Ltd is an African luxury company that aims to manufacture and create timeless African handcrafted pieces. At the moment, we've started our jewellery brand aptly called Azura Handcrafted Jewellery. It is a jewellery brand that aims to help African women celebrate their heritage with quality handcrafted jewellery, envisaged by myself at the helm. At the moment, I make all the jewellery pieces myself as Head Designer for the brand.
"Azura Handcrafted Jewellery is a labour of love, it is an ode and a celebration of everything that is fiercely modern and African. It is a brand that inspires women to carry themselves with grace, abundance and the beauty they possess."
What inspired you to start your company?
I started the brand out of a love and desire for people to see African handcrafts beyond simply curios. Growing up, I collected all manner of jewellery at flea markets, stalls and informal outlets. I realised that African handmade products weren't marketed as well as those brands that already existed in high-end retail outlets in Africa, such as Sandton in South Africa. That was when I decided to tailor-make bold, indigenous yet chic jewellery that is marketable in luxury retail spaces, thereby pushing the envelope beyond the traditional flea markets/souvenir outlets. This means that our gorgeous jewellery pieces and products can be offered to buyers in the mainstream, via high-end and luxury retail outlets.
Why should anyone buy your products?
Apart from the fact that Azura Handcrafted Jewellery is a labour of love, it is an ode and a celebration of everything that is fiercely modern and African. It is a brand that inspires women to carry themselves with grace, abundance and the beauty they possess.
Tell us a little about your team
At the moment, I am the team, with a little bit of help from my mother who is my pillar of strength.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My entrepreneurial journey has not been easy, nor is it easy at present. However, it is a sign of God's love for me, because I am rewarded and fulfilled each waking day when from my dreams I create beautiful, bold, joyous jewellery pieces for other women to enjoy. The glass is indeed half full!
"I hope that the company I am building inspires others in years to come, and that it becomes a part of a unique, diverse and beautiful legacy for those whose lives it touches."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I hope to grow my company into a sizeable boutique company that employs other women who will also have the drive and passion to move the company forward. I hope that the company I am building inspires others in years to come, and that it becomes a part of a unique, diverse and beautiful legacy for those whose lives it touches.
"... dream big. We are all worthy of our dreams existing beyond our pillows and our heads." - Sheila Mokgoadi @AzuraHJewellery
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Doing what I love and waking up still embracing the journey and the hard work that still lies ahead!
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?Have a strong vision. Believe in yourself! And dream big. We are all worthy of our dreams existing beyond our pillows and our heads.
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Why LoA loves it….
There is something truly inspirational about a designer who is passionate about the authenticity of her work, dedicated to preserving the tradition of African craftsmanship, and yet committed to a modernist design aesthetic whilst acknowledging her roots in African design culture. We love Sheila Mokgoadi’s approach to building a genuine Afro-luxe brand that celebrates hand craftsmanship but acknowledges world-class quality and global appeal. We think Sheila’s work has an exciting marketplace ahead of it and her luxury jewellery brand is one to watch for the future. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa