Meet the Maker Month: Nairy and Nayiri of Ouhi Jewellery

OUHI was born out of the need to do our part in the world, the belief in the strength of women, and the love for creativity. After we left our leadership positions within the scouting movement, we wanted to continue helping others. OUHI is our way to continue giving back as 10% of profits are donated to @sosviolenceconjugale. Our dream is to provide impactful pieces, empowering the women who wear them while contributing to a greater cause.

What does being a Maker mean to you? Being a maker means using your creativity, your curiosity, and your skills to work. We work closely with local artisans on the design and materials of each of our pieces and love the teamwork as well.

What motivates you to create? The feeling of peace that it brings when you are creating something you love and the joy it can bring to others when you share it.

Where are you from and how does that influence your work? Nairy's father is a jeweler and we have learned so much from working with him throughout the design process at his atelier.

How have your life experiences shaped your art? Nairy K. was highly influenced by her mother, a feminist who believed that girls can do anything. This strongly motivated her to always prove that women can flourish in male-dominated environments. She has proven this by becoming an engineer and teaching girls that they can do the same. Nayiri T.'s curiosity and genuine interest in other peoples' experiences have naturally built a need within her to understand, empathize and provide support to others. This has led to a natural choice for her to pursue a graduate degree in sociology. By learning about and seeing the rise of women and the idea that "The Future is Female," they felt the need to actively support and progress the movement.

How has the pandemic impacted your creativity? The pandemic has actually sparked our creativity as we experienced fewer daily distractions which allowed room for our creativity to grow. We had time to research the things that inspire us. The world is filled with inspiring around us but we made the most of the time we had at home to think about what really mattered to us

How do you apply your creativity to other aspects of your life? We believe that using your creativity in many aspects of life means opening up to new experiences and people. Removing the fear that blocks us from doing the things we always wanted to do. Learning from others and taking on the challenges that life throws at you with patience and compassion.

What themes do you pursue in your work? Ouhi was born out of the need to do our part in the world, the belief in the strength of women, and the love for creativity. Our designs are inspired by the answer to the question "What empowers you?" which is answered through our collections. Wear the piece you identify with and be reminded of your capability, strength, and potential every single day. Our Goal: Providing high-quality jewellery with meaning, for a cause.

What is your favorite thing you've created and why? We have so far launched 3 designs that we love equally! They speak to us and bring us confidence when we wear them. The first represents sisterhood and the importance of unity for change. The second represents career-driven women who are breaking boundaries in the workplace. The third represents the importance of education.

Tell us about your first sale Our first sale was online from a good friend. We loved seeing which of the three designs some of our friends were inspired by and that spoke to them.

What is your dream project? OUHI - giving back to other women while making an impact!

What type of art do you like to consume? Any - jewellery, paintings, cinematography, fashion design...

Describe your creative process We brainstorm together about our next design and jot down ideas. We think about it for a few days separately and come back and discuss how we feel about them and repeat the process until we have a design we love! We then work with the jeweler to make it happen.

Describe your latest project Our latest project is actually starting this business. We launched 2 months ago with 3 designs and have been focusing on reaching people and making connections.

What are your long-term goals? In 5 to 10 years, we hope that Ouhi has created a significant impact on issues of domestic violence. We have explored and helped different initiatives and have found a way to help the most we can. We have also built an initiative alongside SOS Conjugal Violence that is associated with us - we help build it and subsequently, support it with our funds. We have also strengthened our connections with other organizations. We've grown our network and have created relationships with them and have become good partners. We have hired women who have fallen victim to this violence. We have been able to rent a nice studio space and we are working full-time on the business as co-founders and everyday operators of the business. Being known and selling nationwide and having unique, creative, inspiring jewelry that women want to wear, not only because they're helping out but because they love our pieces. We've extended our jewelry line and items. On an educational side, we have increased awareness of domestic violence and other issues and inequalities faced by women.

What steps are you taking to ensure your growth as a maker? We are focused on the business aspect of OUHI in order to be able to reach our long-term goals. Our mission is to satisfy the needs of consumers, i.e. packaging preferences, new designs, quick & easy shipping, good customer service. By focusing on this mission, we will be able to grow our customer base and social media followers as well as provide help to domestic violence organizations, build awareness around the issue of domestic violence, while providing a great product and service to our clients.

What inspires you? Other people and who they are, how they are, their personalities, and what makes them them.

What initially drew you to your craft? Ouhi was born out of the need to do our part in the world, the belief in the strength of women, and the love for creativity.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your work?

Beautiful. Empowering. Impactful.