OC alum finds golden opportunity for unique jewelry business

By College Relations | April 17, 2023

Erum Ahmad and family
Erum Ahmad, with her mother, Shameem Ahmad and brother, Muqaddar Ahmad

OC alum Erum Ahmad polished up a business idea that lets her creativity shine. Now she is building that interest into a business that allows her to tap into her culture and draw from her Pakistani roots.

Erum, who completed her Bachelor of Business Administration from OC in 2021, has been busy since graduating. Along with starting ERUM, her jewelry business, she works as an accountant and is studying for her CPA certification. In addition, she is head of finance with Bollywood Bang, a local fundraiser event benefiting the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. 

The idea for Erum’s jewelry business, took hold while she was in high school.

“One day, I realized that I didn’t have a pair of jhumkas, a hoop style earring that is special in South Asian culture,” says Erum. “When the pair that I ordered tarnished quickly, I decided to try altering them with some tarnish-resistant pieces. The jhumkas I made turned out so well, my best friend encouraged me to make more and turn it into a business.” 

Jewelry plays a significant role for South Asian women. Traditionally women are gifted gold jewelry when they marry as a way of providing independence and security. “For me, elements of these traditional pieces are symbolic of independence,” says Erum.

“As a Canadian-Pakistani, sometimes it has been difficult to find a connection to some aspects of my culture,” says Erum. “As I am getting older, I appreciate my culture more. Creating unisex jewelry with a Pakistani flair has been one way of helping to build that connection and break down gender barriers.

“My ideas come from memories of jewelry from my childhood and family gifts. I start by sketching out my ideas, then working with suppliers to bring those ideas to life.”

But the real inspiration behind this project is Erum’s mom, who she credits with teaching her about financial freedom and independence. “My mom is an amazing person,” says Erum. “She emigrated to Canada when she was 25 years old. So much of my inspiration comes from her and my brother, Muqaddar, who volunteers in the Okanagan community as treasurer for Kelowna Pride.”

And as for that first pair of earrings that prompted Erum to pursue this idea? The Simran jhumka earrings are available on her website, named after her friend, Simran, who encouraged her to pursue her dream.  

Find Erum’s jewelry online at www.erumco.ca.

Know an OC alum doing something remarkable? Nominate them for recognition at https://www.okanagan.bc.ca/60thNominations. To learn more about the OCAA and benefits for alumni, go to www.okanagan.bc.ca/alumni.

Tags: Bachelor of Business Administration, Okanagan School of Business, Alumni, Vernon, OC Alumni Association



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