Sometimes it's not just about the destination but also the journey. For Julie Acosta, designer and founder of Amoura, its about both.
It's not often that you come across an individual who decides to change the direction of their life in their late 40's, but, Julie Acosta, of the mission driven brand, Amoura, is one fearless woman. After a life changing trip to Egypt and a challenging divorce the call to create an accessories line was sparked.
Upon leaving the mystical land of Egypt, Julie felt that her story there was not complete and she was captivated by a group of women she met who were scarfmakers. Inspired by the women she met and determined to combine her passion for helping others and creating something unique, hence, Amoura was born. The word means sensuous, beautiful, exotic and mysterious in ancient Egyptian.
Today, Amoura employs women and each piece is made by skilled artisan women who use high-quality materials. Accessory gemstones showcased among the line are indigenous to Egypt (agate, lapis, and turquoise) and the scarves are made with 100 percent Egyptian cotton.
Amoura has been able to provide young women with the opportunity to secure a fair wage and make a business opportunity possible. "Ever since I can remember, I've been fascinated with everything about Egypt, the culture, the history, the stories. I never thought visiting Egypt would provide me with creative push to start a business and assist the new generation of Egyptian women who are driven, creative, ambitious and ultimately, daring. Each of them inspires me daily."
We recently got the chance to catch up with Julie to for a Q&A to learn more about how she got started, her entrepreneurial spirit and what's next for Amoura.
Q: What prompted the trip to Egypt?
A: Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated with everything about Egypt, the culture, the history, its stories. After my divorce was finalized, I went on my trip and came back transfixed. I knew that I needed to go back and Egypt was now a part of me. Upon my return, many friends and family members complimented me on the beautiful necklaces and scarves I brought back; it was then that I experienced what Oprah calls an aha! moment I would create a business selling accessories directly from Egypt. While most women my age are planning for their upcoming retirement, I decided to embark on this adventure (with much travel) and launch a business.
Q: How did you encounter the artisans/scarf makers?
A: On my second trip to Egypt, I made an effort to ask everyone the following question "Where are the artisans and scarfmakers based?" Many individuals provided deadends, while others pointed me in the right direction. And then it happened I came across a village which housed women scarfmakers. My one part of the puzzle was solved. I now needed to find the accessory designers. I was then advised to visit a store selling gemstones, once inside the store I met the jewelry makers. Looking back, I feel that the universe was truly guiding my steps as I searched through village after village.
Q: What are your favorite pieces in the collection?
A: My favorite must have Amoura pieces are:
o Necklaces The white crystals, agate and pearl long necklace that I designed for the back is definitely one of my favorite pieces, as well as the gold multicolored lotus flower necklace.
o Bracelets I always wear the “Double Trouble” bone or purple crystal bracelet with the Lotus Flower charm and the Black and Smokey Crystal Ring Bracelet is truly beautiful and unique too.
o Earrings The unique and gorgeous copper “Luxor Sunset” that has a large green Labradorite stone and small tiny agate gemstones.o Scarves my go to colors are the reds and oranges.
Q: What is your advice to women who want to start their own business?
A: Research your market and competition, create a niche for your product or service and prepare to work every aspect of the business (from the bottom up) and by that I mean the creative, administrative, financial and promotion of it. This journey is filled with countless obstacles and challenges, but the rewards are amazing. To be your own boss and put into reality your dream is amazing. I love it when I see someone wearing the Amoura line.; it will always make me smile.
Q: What's next for Amoura?
A: For 2016, I will be visiting Egypt to work on the new collection. This time, though, I will be in good company as I’m taking friends with me. I will play the role of "personal tour guide."
Learn more & shop here: Amoura