“I began working off of my kitchen table for about 14 hours a day. And it was awesome…”
I, Ashley Zayat, am the founder and creator of Point Ashley LLC, a luxury fashion jewelry company based in both New York and Miami. The collection of jewelry is inspired by the beauty in nature.
I graduated New York University in January 2013 with degrees in Economics, Business Studies, and Liberal Studies. I have long been interested in creating my own business, having interned at Hiltzik Strategies (a leading public relations firm in New York). But I also had a passion for finance, stemming from my experiences, the financial aspect of Zayat Stables and as a summer analyst covering Natural Resources for OTC Global Holdings. I was introduced to the world of institutional investors during my time at Fitch Ratings and decided that a role that could incorporate all of this with her passion for jewelry would be to launch her own line.
I was a 23-year-old girl living in on the Upper West Side working in finance, wasn’t happy with my job in finance and was looking for something more creative so while I was working and interviewing at places like IBM, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, I started making jewelry at night to calm my nerves. I wore the earrings and started getting stopped in the street with people asking to buy them. From that a business was born.
I had my soft launch in July 2014. Point Ashley is building the ultimate retail destination for fashion jewelry. Since launching in July 2014, Point Ashley has resonated with consumers and tastemakers alike, having been picked up by a wide range of outlets (fashion icons and design houses, including Karla Souza, Vanessa Williams, Johnny Weir, Daniel Lawson and Janie Bryant). I ascribe to the Elizabeth Taylor school of thought- jewels should be worn and enjoyed, not stared at from behind a glass case, so when creating Point Ashley it was very important for the jewelry to be chic and affordable. Today’s affluent consumer is looking for a more austere expression of their lifestyle, that focuses on style and on quality at a price that respects the customer’s intelligence and personal values. Our collection reflects those wants.
My goal is to empower young women to strive for success in today’s male-driven society. I believes that women, too, have the power and fortitude to excel to new heights with hard work and dedication. Becoming my own boss was hard. I did everything myself in the beginning. I designed and made the jewelry, took the orders, shipped, and kept the books. I began working off of my kitchen table for about 14 hours a day. And it was awesome… until I literally herniated a disc in my neck from being hunched over for hours and was forced to hire help. So, it’s best to do as much as you can on your own, but don’t hurt yourself doing it.
The biggest reward of being a small business owner is being able to follow my passion each day and seeing positive reactions to something that I’ve created.
The best advice I could give anyone who is in the process of starting a business or thinking about starting a business is: Start small and let your business grow organically. My best advice to the people looking to start her own business is to start small—don’t feel as if you have to have a huge business overnight—and take help where you can and call in favours from everyone you know.
-Ashley Zayat (New York)
If you enjoyed Ashley’s story, follow her on Instagram @pointashley and also check out some more of her jewellery collections at www.pointashley.com