Despite the consensus that human civilization traces its roots to Africa, the continent remains misrepresented in popular culture and media. To take charge of the shift in people’s perception of Africa, Ethiopian-American entrepreneurs Seble Alemayehu and Felekech (Fei) Biratu utilize the power of storytelling. Their online jewelry brand Yenaé showcases the intersection between people, culture, fashion, and narrative perfectly.
Across various cultures worldwide, people look for ways to manifest their style, tastes, and feelings. The use of jewelry has always been the most accessible and effective way for people to express their individuality. Understanding the universal charm of these accessories, Yenaé uses exquisite jewelry to share the story of Africa and shine a positive light on the continent. The online jewelry brand takes its patrons on an organic journey through Africa through designs that tradition and a modern touch.
In combining high fashion and storytelling, Yenaé presents jewelry pieces featuring deeply-rooted elements from diverse African cultures. These elements can be seen not only in the jewelry itself but also in the gift packaging and accompanying note cards. The strong emphasis on sharing the historical background of the jewelry’s designs is a testament to the brand’s commitment to promoting a more accurate narrative for the mother continent.
Engaged in such a noble cause, Yenaé appeals to a wide range of jewelry enthusiasts. The online brand offers jewelry for women and men. Yenaé also uses various materials, including silver, recycled brass, and other metals plated with 14-carat gold or rhodium. To enhance the jewelry pieces’ elegance even further, the brand uses semi-precious gemstones handcrafted by local artisans. Customers can enjoy their purchases with the assurance that the gems are responsibly and ethically sourced in Ethiopia.
Yenaé was born out of the shared experiences of the brand’s two female Ethiopian-American co-founders. Seble Alemayehu and Felekech (Fei) Biratu first met as high school students in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Having developed a strong friendship early on, the two continued to go through similar life events. These include traveling across the globe to move to the United States, earning Masters of Business Administration degrees from the University of Maryland, and going through an intense 8-week start-up boot camp.
After living in different areas in the United States, Seble and Fei learned the degree to which people lacked awareness about Africa. This realization motivated them to transform their love for jewelry into a brand that highlighted the heritage of different African countries. They debuted Yenaé by featuring the cultures of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Hoping to ensure that local craftsmanship and traditional knowledge are preserved, they established Yenaé around the art of storytelling. Today, they draw from these unique experiences to continue growing their brand and increase their cultural impact.
Seble Alemayehu and Felekech Biratu are both proud members of For(bes) the culture, a community of diverse leaders. Through Yenaé, they exhibit the passion and perseverance of African-American women breaking down barriers in their respective industries.
To learn more about Yenaé, you may visit the online jewelry brand’s website.
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