The ladies of Aurate call themselves “picky” so we automatically knew they were part of our Particulars posse. They have set the (gold) bar in terms of producing and selling jewelry that is beautiful, durable, and transparent in terms of pricing and sustainability. When their brick and mortar locations are in full swing, they offer piercings as well as jewelry styling which just adds to their convivial, community-minded spirit. What all of this equates to is a collection of pieces that are simple, sleek, classic and meant to be worn day-in, day-out with effortless ease.

Things are a little different right now, we’re in an unprecedented time…how have you shifted as a business and as individuals to accommodate this new normal?

At Aurate, we’ve shifted everything to online, which was an obvious choice for us given that we’re a digitally native company anyway. For the team, this means a lot of zoom, google hangouts, and virtual meetings. Even though we miss each other’s physical presence and the dynamic in the office, we’ve been able to stay very efficient, communicate perfectly, and stay on top of what really matters. So it’s been good. As for most of us individually, it’s been somewhat more challenging, given that most of us are now carrying multiple burdens (whether that’s housework, taking care of family or whatever that may be). We are all doing the best we can, and I think what helps is all of us supporting one another. Even remote, we’re one team, one dream. Periods of crises only reinforce that feeling.

You’re a NY-based brand, how is the city that we all love so much currently influencing your creative process?

Sophie Kahn: Honestly, I love NY even more right now. It’s like a sad, wounded soul that is bound to recover – it will just take some time. As for the creative process, this can happen anytime, anywhere. Just looking outside the window or sitting in the park can spur new designs ideas. We have a lot on the table already that we’re working on.

As a brand you’ve always been very transparent about process, price, and giving back. As you have continued to you’ve been build and scale, how has that changed and evolved?

It’s almost become more important. When you’re small, as founders, you can easily push the message and things happen naturally. But as you grow, these messages need to become embedded into the system and really professionalized, in terms of checkpoints, quarterly reports, etc. So we’ve been extra diligent and studious about it, making sure we are tracking it even more than before, it’s part of our KPI-reporting etc. In light of the current BLM movement, we just also added a diversity report that shows the progress we’ve made and what we still want to improve.

AUrate New York The Statement Chain Ring Set
AUrate New York Gold Link Hoop Earrings

Your home try-on and piercings-with-purchase options are so clever, how did you conceive them and how do you operationalize it? Do you think it creates a certain amount of brand loyalty and community? Was that the intention?

Thank you! We conceived them by listening to our customer. That’s the beauty of being DTC and being heavily connected with our woman. We ask her what she wants (or she tells us!) and we do it. Both our home-try-on and piercings came about that way. And while it’s great for creating loyalty, it’s also a nice starting point for new customers to get to know us in a risk-free (home-try-on) or fun (piercing) way.

AUrate New York Gold Herringbone Chain Necklace

Your collection is so wearable and is chock full jewelry-styling essentials—we are currently in love with your thin herringbone chain! Tell us how you landed on that signature style and how you deftly incorporate seasonal trends without going overboard?

Our collection is made up of two groups. First, the essentials/classics, which are your timeless pieces, almost like your jeans and t-shirts for real gold jewelry. Second, our capsules, which can be more focused on something timely, whether a collaboration or a trend or an event. As for the herringbone, this was a style we all really liked right now and felt fit well within the larger Aurate collection. Some trends don’t work for our DNA and we steer clear from – but those that do, we embrace and launch. Also, since we’re made in NYC, we can launch a new collection within a few weeks if we push for it.

What are some of your daily particulars that you always put on (jewelry, accessories…etc.)? …this could be pre-social distancing or what you are doing now

Sophie Kahn: The Aurate pieces I always wear are our signet ring, deco triple hoop earrings, mini ear cuff with diamonds, and diamond bezel necklace. Sleep in them, shower in them, you name it. That’s the beauty of real gold. And we make sure it’s super comfortable since the team tests all pieces before they launch.

With summer on the horizon, what’s next Aurate? 

Number 1, getting out of this situation that we are all in, hopefully sooner than later – meaning going back to ‘normal’, reopening our stores, going back to the office etc. But we’ve also been working on a lot of cool, new stuff during quarantine, such as amazing partnerships and collections. Stay tuned for those 😉

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Chatting with Elyse Walker

When she decided to open her first store in 1999 in Los Angeles, Elyse Walker set out to create a retail experience that prided itself on impeccable customer service and superb selection. She wanted to create a store that harkened back to the places of business that she loved while growing up on the east coast—places that were simply known by the proprietors first or last name and that were always synonymous with a choice shopping experience.
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