Founded in 2012, ByChari has evolved into more than just a jewelry line. The brand has cultivated a community for women to learn from each other, share, tell and ultimately shape their stories. The label’s chic personal pieces are an extension and expression of individual style while elevating simplicity and minimalist beauty. We caught up with founder Chari Cuthbert to discuss how she started her label, how her self-proclaimed “after-work project” morphed into a successful business, how she practices self-care and what it means to be sold in Sweet July’s flagship store.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to start your brand?
ByChari is a reflection of my approach to life and my appreciation of style. I wanted to create pieces that reflected a sense of ease, originality and luxurious simplicity. Each and every ByChari piece is handmade and designed for women who appreciate simplicity but demand luxury.
Every ByChari piece is handmade and designed for women who appreciate simplicity but demand luxury.
What steps did you take get your business off the ground?
ByChari was in the works as my weekend and after-work project for many years. In 2012, I was finally ready to take the plunge and commit to ByChari as my full time job. It was a major risk since I only had $100 in my bank account but I knew I was up for the challenge and that there was never going to be a better time.
Can you shed some insight into your creative process?
I have a strong imagination and I love to daydream. I always make time to travel internationally to fully immerse myself in new and different cultures. I let the world continually inspire me.
What keeps you inspired?
Being able to keep women feeling beautiful and how each piece of jewelry we create tells a story about the woman that wears it.
Sweet July Oakland is located on The Block—an area known for its community of Black women-owned businesses. How does it feel to share space with this group of entrepreneurs?
It’s an honor to be in the community of independent, brave, entrepreneurs who are helping impact the future and doing our part to help our economy thrive.
How has the push to support Black-owned businesses fueled by the racial reckoning of 2020 impacted your brand?
ByChari has benefitted greatly from the encouragement to support Black-owned businesses. Increased public awareness of Black-owned businesses has given us a greater presence and put us on the radar of many who would otherwise never have heard of us. It’s exciting to see our diverse and growing client base.
How are you navigating the struggles and woes of running a business during a pandemic?
I know that I set the tone for my employees, so I always make sure to bring my most positive and energized self to work to help keep the atmosphere uplifted.
What would people be surprised to know about ByChari?
I’m proud to say that all of my jewelry is made in the U.S. People like to know that their jewelry is not only beautiful but also supports their fellow Americans.
How do you practice self-care while balancing the rigors of entrepreneurship?
Being an entrepreneur allows me to set my own schedule so even though I have a large amount of responsibility, I have the opportunity to decide what time I start my day and exactly how I want to spend my time. I rely on a balance of good sleep, balanced diet and exercise to keep myself healthy and balanced. Since Covid-19 started I’ve really enjoyed cooking for myself and it’s something I’m going to continue. I made a goal earlier this year to reframe my relationship with food, and a big part of that is learning how to cook nutritious meals for myself, which has been a rewarding experience.
What are some challenges that you’ve faced, and how have you overcome those obstacles?
There is always a new challenge when running a business – I keep breathing and focus on my goals. I’ve learned the importance of being resilient.