Zameer Kassam is the Founder, CEO and Chief Designer of Zameer Kassam Fine Jewelry, a business built on telling love stories through design.
Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?
I felt that people deserve something more meaningful and personal than generic, off-the-shelf rings. Luxury brands like Tiffany and Cartier sell one or two of their most popular engagement ring hundreds of times to hundreds of customers in stores all over the world. Those customers go home and propose with this ring thinking that they have something really special, when in fact, they just have the same mass-produced ring as everyone else. Each ring we design is as unique as the story it tells. Our goal is to help every couple build a symbol of their love that is as meaningful and special as their union.
Who are your cofounders and what makes you a great team?
I founded the business alone, but had immense support from a group or advisors and close friends.
How is your company making a difference?
We have told over 2000 love stories through pieces of fine jewelry. We are helping people to reflect on those who matter in their lives, and to take the time to share their love and gratitude in our special way. This becomes a powerful moment not just for the person receiving the piece, but for the person gifting it. I believe if more people spent time reflecting upon, sharing, and celebrating their stories (whether through jewelry or not), we would have a much happier and more peaceful society
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
We have a very different business model from the traditional jeweler. We have no stores, no inventory, and most importantly, we don’t do any traditional marketing. This allows us to truly invest in the customer experience, but also means we are a word-of-mouth business. It has been an exciting challenge to continue to grow as we have: piece by piece, client by client, relying upon our army of referrers to continue to spread the word.
What is your biggest win?
VOGUE chose our ring in their top 10 engagement rings of the year, 3rd behind Cartier and Harry Winston. The fact that our ring was a classic, timeless solitaire chosen for its aesthetics gave me the confidence that it’s not just the storytelling we have to offer, it‘s the aesthetics of our design.
Who is your role model?
My parents. They were refugees and built a life for our family in Canada, and they taught me what it means to persevere. Along with my eldest brother, they founded a jewelry business and I grew up working in their stores. It was a formative experience that ultimately helped me build the business I have today.
What do you wish you had known before starting your company?
I’m happy I didn’t know more when I started the business — the mistakes I made have brought me here.
What is your CEO superpower?
I don’t have a superpower, but early on, I learned to hire people based on passion, problem solving and perseverance, and less on their previous jewelry or fashion experience. This led to an incredibly emotionally aware, caring team that truly lives our values to be in the service of love stories, and I’m really proud of that.
Are you a member of the FFA yet? Learn how to join!