In this episode, I chat with Audrey Migot-Adholla. Audrey is the founder of Yala Jewellery an award-winning made in Kenya jewellery brand. In our conversation we talk about the meaning of sustainable luxury, collaborating with her artisan producers across continents, managing a business during a global health crisis, her thoughts on the spotlight being shone on black creatives as a result of Black Lives Matter.
Many start-up business owners will be familiar with the wearing many hats phase, and trying to do it all as you get your business of the ground and hone in on your purpose. For Audrey her business journey began by focusing on too many product offerings which left people confused about what she had to offer so she decided to focus on jewellery, setting up Yala Jewellery knowing that she could tap into a network of artisans back in Kenya to produce her products.
Having spent so much of my life outside of Kenya I really wanted to give, but in a way that wasn’t just charity, and in a way that isn’t just a handout. – Audrey Migot-Adholla, Yala Jewellery
Living and working in Bristol Audrey is from Kenya and came to the UK to study, but maintains strong family connections to her homeland. These connections relying heavily on technology have helped her grow and manage a business that spans several continents.
Yala Jewellery is an ethical, sustainable luxury business that puts the well-being of the artisans it collaborates with and the impact of its products on environment front and centre of all it does. This focus saw Audrey pursue and achieve B Corp Certification, an award that Audrey acknowledges keeps her accountable by holding her business to a very standard and encourages you to keep striving to become better.
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and Audrey talks about what it has been like managing a business during a global health crisis, how she has had to adapt while looking out for her artisans and ensuring they were safe whilst still being to earn in an informal business environment. On top of that Audrey also had to process the psychological impact of the weight of having to deal with protest around race and inequality and what the increased attention has meant for her and her brand talks frankly about what it means for the future and making sure something good comes of it by paying it forward to pay and help the artisans who rely on her for orders.
We talk about:
- Juggling all the hats in business
- What led her to start a jewellery brand
- What it is like working the 9-5 then 5-9
- The role of mentors in helping her to start and grow her business
- Finding brand focus and how she did that
- Managing time and energy while going through the process
- Perfection – outsourcing weaknesses as much as she can
- Successfully working and collaborating with artisans
- Harnessing the power of networks to find people to work with
- Making the partnerships work across different continents, the role of technology, working out what can be done, and managing quality control
- Her sampling process
- The importance of sustainable luxury
- Getting Certified B Corp
- Managing Logistics
- Managing a business during a global health crisis
- The impact of BLM and the conflicted feelings as a result of the increased attention on black creative businesses
- How to stay the course
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Where you can go to find out more about Audrey and Yala Jewellery:
And before you go I have a favour to ask, if you could take a few minutes to do the three R’s that is: rate it, review it, and recommend it to anyone you feel would benefit. It will really make a difference and I would greatly appreciate it.