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February 23, 2024

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French-style jewelry brand inspired by the wonders of the world

Camille Nusbaumer is a passionate French entrepreneur who has called Shanghai home for the past decade. She has always loved designing and making jewelry since an early age. It was in this city that she founded her own jewelry brand ZOAJE ( follow the brand on WeChat @Zoaje). The city’s dynamic energy and its diverse international community provided the perfect stage from which the brand can take off.

Before we talk about your brand Zoaje, would you please introduce yourself?

I’m Camille, a passionate French entrepreneur who has called Shanghai home for the past decade. At 31, I’m a proud mother to my little ray of sunshine, Zoé, and the wife of my co-founder at ZOAJE, Clément. My life revolves around a love for all things creative, music, the pursuit of knowledge, and exploring the wonders of the world. Additionally, I’m deeply connected to wellness practices, particularly yoga, which plays an essential role in my life’s journey.

When we created the brand name ZOAJE a decade ago, it was a word we crafted from scratch, blending French sounds and concepts. Back then, intuitively, we chose “Life is a Journey” as our slogan. It’s quite magical that, 10 years later, with the arrival of our little Zoé in our lives, we realized that ZOAJE is, in fact, the perfect combination of her name Zoé — meaning “life” — and VOYAGE — meaning “journey” — that also recreates the slogan we had chosen right when we started. This serendipitous revelation reminds us that sometimes, you just know you’re on the right path and need to keep moving forward.

Why, after living in Shanghai for a few years, did you decide to strike out on your own to build up a jewelry brand?

Shanghai’s vibrant and diverse atmosphere really ignited our entrepreneurial spirit. Just a few months after arriving in Shanghai a decade ago, we noticed there was a lack of delicate, French-inspired jewelry in the local market. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to share our creations with the community, so we gave birth to ZOAJE. The city’s dynamic energy and its diverse international community provided the perfect stage for our brand to take off.

What makes Shanghai’s business environment so remarkable?

Shanghai’s business scene is truly something else. It’s open to innovation, and its multicultural vibe is just incredible. The mix of cultures and ideas here is a great inspiration for us. What’s even more amazing is the sense of community in Shanghai — we’ve felt tremendous support from the very start of our journey.

What were you trying to bring to the local community?

We aimed to bring a touch of French-inspired global charm to the local community. Our goal was to introduce high-quality, long-lasting handcrafted jewelry that captures our love for travel and inspires our customers to embark on their unique journeys through our designs. Thanks to our materials: 14-carat gold-filled, 14-carat solid gold, and natural gemstones, we are able to offer a one-of-a-kind and personalized experience to our customers right here in Shanghai.

What are the biggest challenges setting up a business here? How do you stay motivated?

Setting up a business in Shanghai, like anywhere else, comes with its fair share of challenges. One of the biggest hurdles is navigating the complex regulations and bureaucracy and also the costs of running a company here. Staying motivated is a matter of focusing on our passion as well as the positive responses and support we receive from our customers. We remind ourselves of the unique experiences and memories we create through our brand.

What was the moment that made you most proud?

The proudest moments for me are the times when I stumble upon someone wearing our pieces on the streets of Shanghai, or when our incredible clients express their gratitude and share the personal significance of our creations in their lives.

These moments continually reaffirm our vision. Additionally, I am very proud to share that our showroom (House 1, 228 Anfu Road) was featured in the prestigious Louis Vuitton Shanghai city guide. This recognition was a significant milestone for us, acknowledging the dedication and creativity we pour into our work, and it made us even more proud of our achievements.

What are you working on?

We’ve got a lot on our plate right now! I’m always brainstorming new jewelry collections, finding inspiration in the world around us, and bringing those ideas to life. Sustainability is also a big focus for us, and we’re diving into research to find eco-friendly materials and practices. Plus, we’re on a mission to grow our presence in other countries and exploring new product lines. It’s a daily challenge, but it keeps us excited and motivated!

Who is a female role model who inspires you?

My inspiration comes from the incredible women in my personal circle — my friends, and those close to me. They are the ones who constantly motivate and support me. So, I want to give a big shout out and express my heartfelt gratitude to them!

Do you have any advice for women entrepreneurs?

If I could offer some advice to fellow women entrepreneurs, it would be this: Believe wholeheartedly in your passion and vision. Seek out mentors and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who genuinely support you, and don’t be afraid to distance yourself from those who don’t.

Embrace the challenges that come your way as opportunities for personal and professional growth. And above all, stay true to your unique voice and brand identity. In my experience, it’s resilience that ultimately paves the way to success.


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