One of the finest and rarest kinds of stores has been notching up the heat in the beauty industry. 89 Carat Street is a local jewellery store that intends to set the bar a bit higher as it strives for excellence to deliver stellar beauty pieces that can penetrate international markets.
This is a youth-owned company whose proprietor is Khumo Makwa, a young Motswana woman who studied Jewellery Design and Manufacturing at Keith White Diamond Mastery in South Africa. She is a De Beers Group Shining Light Designers Initiative award 2019 and a Stanford Graduate School of Business Go-to-Market Botswana Participant.
Her company started operating in March 2018 and specialises in bespoke design and manufacturing of precision and quality fine jewellery using precious stones and metals. It is the only one of its kind to ever emerge in Botswana and run by a young Motswana to boot.
In an interview with Executive Life, Makwa said she underwent the specific training precisely because she wanted to have a fine jewellery design and manufacturing company. She enjoyed art and design from an early age growing up in Jwaneng where she became curious about diamonds and wanted to work with them.
“Batswana had not ventured into fine jewellery manufacturing,” Makwa says.” When I started out it was hard for people to believe that my products were authentic, and so when I had a client I delivered to their expectations and more. Being a De Beers Shining Light Award gave me the credibility I needed.”
89 Carat Street products include rings, earrings, cufflinks and pendants. They also offer repair, engraving and restoration services. “So far so good because the business is doing well,” says a contented Makwa. “We largely use direct marketing and social media to create awareness.”
She finds it is “very much rewarding” that she is living out her dream in a process that begins with turning raw materials into finished goods that her customers are eager about. Her brand has been endorsed and supported by big brands like De Beers.
Makwa says winning the Shining Light and the training she underwent through their scholarship gave her the confidence to design at the same level as more established brands. She also received elite training from Go-To-Market Botswana, as well as marketing while Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) also played their part.
“89 Carat Street is a licensed Brand Botswana pride mark enterprise and is thus in a good position to exhibit and gain market mileage,” Makwa told Executive Life. “I am trying to get it to the same level as high-end jewellery companies like Cartier and for it to carry my legacy for years to come.”
The company has three staff members who are keenly in touch with clientele and are knowledgeable about latest technology and trends. Although men are prevalent in this industry, she is unfazed that she is a woman and young because the fact that hers is a groundbreaking enterprise in high class jewellery is a source of the confidence that she needs. “I identify myself as being as capable as any other person in this industry.”
Digital Marketer Tumie Nthutang was spotted wearing a pendant and studs 89 Carat Street at the Shining Light Awards. The influencer said the inspiration behind the pieces was the flaming phoenix whose relentless and fiery nature is represented by the garnet semi-precious stone, diamond and complementary accent of white gold that she wore.