SANAYA Jewelry, a passion turned into a flourishing jewelry brand
Sarah BEN LETAIEF, a third-year student enrolled in the “Financial Transactions & Corporate Strategy” Master cycle of the Grande École program at IÉSEG, has built on her passion for jewelry to create SANAYA Jewelry, a brand committed to quality. We met up with Sarah to find out more about the origins of this project and her unwavering passion for jewelry from an early age.
Sarah, how did you come up with the idea of launching your own jewelry brand?
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved jewelry and I wear it constantly, just as I wear clothes. From the age of 5, I started borrowing my mom’s jewelry. When I began my higher education, I joined the Grande École program at IÉSEG, and did my second-year internship at Histoire d’Or. This gave me the chance to take my first step into the world of jewelry, and I realized that I was fascinated by the industry.
Then I went on an exchange in Asia, in Bali, where I stayed for a long time because the Covid pandemic hit, and all my courses were taught remotely. This peculiar period democratized remote working and I had the opportunity to meet several freelancers in cafés and coworking spaces. I started talking to them about my idea of creating my own jewelry brand, as I already knew a bit about materials and design. I received some very good advice and that convinced me to go for it, as I had nothing to lose and everything to gain! When I returned to France, I launched SANAYA Jewelry.
We’re 3 children in my family. I’m the eldest, SArah, then there’s my sister NAwel and finally my brother YAssine. If you stick the first syllables of our names together, you get SANAYA.
What does it actually take to create a jewelry brand?
Obviously, there are several stages involved. I officially registered SANAYA Jewelry with the Chamber of Skilled Trades and Crafts in October 2022. It was important for me to find a theme for my jewelry brand, in order to build my own identity. Knowing that I love the sun, the beach and everything connected with the summer season, I wanted SANAYA to reflect that side of my personality. I therefore wanted to go for colorful jewelry, but also for a water-resistant material, so that the jewelry could be worn in all circumstances. So, I opted for stainless steel and tested different suppliers to make sure of the quality of the material I was going to use for my creations. At the beginning, I made a quite a few mistakes because I didn’t always know how to go about it, and I’ve already had some unpleasant surprises with the material delivered. But you learn from your mistakes!
What are the next steps for SANAYA Jewelry?
First of all, I’d like to be able to devote more time to improving my website and developing my social networks. This takes time, and it’s not always easy, especially when you’re doing an internship. I’d also like to take part in more pop-up stores, as I love the direct contact with customers! It’s also very satisfying to get direct feedback from customers on my creations. By the way, I will have the chance to exhibit my creations at the biggest vide-dressing in France, located in Paris, in October. I would also like to expand my men’s jewelry collection.
Is being an entrepreneur a learning experience?
Absolutely! For me, it’s a good complement to my course at IÉSEG, because I’m putting the concepts I’ve learned in class directly into practice, in the service of my own business. Marketing, communications, finance, brand image… it’s all very instructive, and I’m convinced that willpower and hard work always pay off in the end!