CEO and co-founder of online jewellery company Mejuri
Our online fine jewellery company is one of the first in the world to use crowdsourcing. We allow designers from all over the world to submit their designs on our platform for free. People start commenting and voting on the design and, based on that, we select the winners, manufacture and sell their products.
Because it’s a start-up, my role involves running day-to-day operations, from hiring and interviewing to strategic direction, accounting and finance. We are three co-founders, so strategic roles are divided between us, but we are always thinking together.
I did my undergrad in industrial engineering at the University of Jordan. Then I moved to Canada to do my MBA at Ryerson. I was working in engineering while doing my MBA, but I wanted business skills and thought that MBA and engineering would be a perfect match. I’ve always wanted to start a company, but I didn’t know it was going to happen so fast after graduation. My business plan was my graduation project, and presenting it helped create opportunities for me.
My family has been working in the jewellery industry since 1953, so I’ve always been surrounded by the business. When I came here, I wrote a business plan for Mejuri that added innovation to the industry by crowdsourcing. Because I have a pool of manufacturers to tap into, we thought, “Let’s revamp it from a design perspective – since that is not our expertise – and crowdsource that portion of the business.”
Many hugely influential people did not even finish university, but for me school was very important. In a startup, you need to do everything and you need a good amount of high-level knowledge about finance and accounting. When you read a legal document, you need to understand it, for example. Marketing is also very important. All of these skills helped me feel more confident.
All my high-level technical knowledge I learned on the job. I need to talk to developers and understand the projects in order to run them. Another aspect is the e-commerce space. How can you entice customers? What are conversion rates? How can you advertise and monitor the effectiveness of advertising online? The digital part wasn’t prevalent in the MBA, but the marketing principles were there. So how do I understand how to make it work in the digital world?
Engineering is amazing for the way you think. You analyze everything – if there is a problem, you find the cause and the solution, which helps structure your thought process. In industrial engineering, things that have to do with supply chains are also important for our business and how we streamline our manufacturing processes.
I personally like making decisions based on numbers, and over time, when we have a huge amount of data, that way of thinking helps us out.