23 May 2016

“Many women can attest that jewelry not only lifts your spirits, but also lifts your look. It puts a smile on your face and transforms an otherwise simple look into an awesome one. And that, ladies and gentlemen is worth every cent spent on jewelry. No one knows this better than jewelry maker Shikha Vincent.

She believes that jewelry should express one’s individuality making them stand out from the crowd. She started making jewelry as a hobby and to raise funds for various environmental and wildlife conservation initiatives. In 2015 she decided to combine her passions; jewelry, travel and conservation and set up a business, Shikhazuri.

She tells Yululate that the foundation of Shikhazuri is creating unique pieces, each with a story. “Every piece bears a captivating story regarding the origin and symbolism of each ethnographic element and stone used. When designing jewelry, I believe in starting with the story behind the ethnic and tribal elements that inspire me,” she says.  Looking at her work, one cannot dispute their unique nature.

Shikha personally travels around the world and sources unique, interesting and rare beads, artifacts and stones to incorporate into her pieces. What most people do not know and are surprised to find out, is that she also makes all the pieces herself. Customers can see her work on her website as well as her Facebook and Instagram pages.

She says she chose the name of her business to reflect the cross-cultural fusion that is central to her design aesthetic, hence the Indo-Swahili brand name, Shikhazuri, which also incorporates her name as the designer and maker too. “In Hindi, “shikha” means tip of the flame; in Swahili, my name translates to hold or embrace, and “zuri” means beautiful. Indeed, Shikhazuri jewelry symbolizes the pinnacle of timeless beauty that you can treasure eternally,” she explains.

Like many SME’s, Shikhazuri’s biggest challenge so far has been getting seen and heard in a massive sea of competition.  ‘I focus my marketing efforts on the platforms where my ideal client spends his/her time and is likely to find me and resonate with my brand,’ she says. Her ideal clients are women with strong personal style looking for unusual and unique accessories. She markets to them mostly through social media, word of mouth and referrals, via product placements in media and PR pitches.

In an effort to get more awareness for Shikhazuri, Shikha signed up on Yululate to expose her brand to a wider platform within the Kenyan market and to get feedback about how the local market responds to her products by reading reviews on the website from her customers. Since then, she says she has had more people asking her questions on her jewelry making and interested in having one of a kind pieces made for them thereby increasing her Kenyan customer fan base!

Shikhazuri has featured in several local trade and fashion shows and hopes to take the brand into the international arena. She encourages other SME’s to take advantage of platforms such as Yululate to not only market themselves and get exposed on a local Kenyan level but to engage with their customers to understand what the customer requires through independent reviews and ratings.”