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Voyage ATL Magazine

Inspiring Conversations with Erneshya Ray of SohGent CA’Belle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erneshya Ray.

Hi Erneshya, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I have been fascinated with zodiac signs since junior high school. That fascination leads me down the rabbit hole to discover birthstones as well as other natural crystals and gemstones that come from the earth. My paternal grandmother gave me my first gemstone, a peridot, which is the birthstone for Virgo, at my high school graduation and from there I started learning about stones as they related to the zodiac signs in my family.

Fast forward to 2020. I was living in Birmingham, AL and visited Books, Beans, & Candles. While there I purchased a few crystals I loved. Shortly after that one of my close friends came by just to catch up. While we were chatting I showed her my newest collection of gemstones and in conversation she said, “you should try to wrap these.” My response was, “would you buy it”? And she said Yes! From there I started practicing with different types of jewelry wire from Hobby Lobby. While I was learning how to wrap gems, I’d also begun looking into actually starting a business.

By March of 2021, I’d created an LLC, designed a website, and started advertising my jewelry. April 2021 I filled my first online order and by May of 2021, I vended at my first pop-up shop. That first sale was mind-blowing. Not to mention it was placed by someone out of state. I quickly realized I actually started a business that had the potential to be a success.

Since that first pop up I have studied what makes vendors successful at pop-up markets and have since done at least 25 markets.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I can’t say the road has been smooth because when I started this journey toward entrepreneurship, I had no expectations. I have been learning while fumbling along the way. I can say the road has been extremely eventful though. I have learned a ton of information on the behind-the-scenes operations of business and what it truly means to be a small business owner. Most of my struggles have been learning how to correctly market myself and my jewelry. And in that area, it’s constantly changing so I am forever learning,

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
My business name is pronounced So-gent kah-bell and it means A southern gentleman meets a California Belle. I am from Compton, California and my husband is from Birmingham, AL, so when I was thinking of business names I wanted to create something that represented where I was in my journey and at the time, I was head over heels in love.

SohGent CA’Belle is a jewelry company that specializes in copper creations using 100% copper and ethically sourced gemstones. We have taken an age old tradition of adorning the body with gems and brass that symbolized wealth and status and given it an upgrade. We create timeless, statement pieces for everyone to wear on any day.

Currently, we offer hand-crafted pendants paired with a copper necklace, custom-fit anklets and bracelets, bangles, arm cuffs, stud and hoop earrings, and we just added hand-crafted, 100% copper rings to our inventory. This year our most popular item has been the custom-fit anklets. If you ever have an opportunity to catch SohGent CA’Belle at a pop-up market be sure to ask about the customer anklets. We measure and cut them on the spot providing a first of its kind experience.

What sets us apart from other copper creatives is our attention to a minimalist copper design. Our motto is “Something simple that makes a bold statement”. All our jewelry is lightweight and designed with everyday wear in mind.

Brand wise I am most proud I have set myself apart so much that people recognize my pieces when they see them worn locally. I am also proud that customers actually look forward to seeing me at events and shopping with me.

I want readers to know that even if you’ve never envisioned yourself wearing copper jewelry, one look at my pieces and you’re sure to change your mind.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is spending summers with my great-grandparents in Los Angeles. They allowed me to ask all the questions an inquisitive child could think of and they answered happily. I learned about my great grandparent’s parents and the journey they took toward settling in California from Texas in the 1950. I got to witness old black love, and that was priceless.