Anchor image: Esther Ho, 54, founder of Zenith Affair and Mus.za, and Zoie Teo, 33, director of Carat 55
After working in the jewellery industry for 11 years, Esther Ho decided to strike out on her own. In 2005, she established Zenith Affair, a luxury events consultancy and multi-brand concept jewellery store offering brands like Damiani Jewelry, Stefan Hafner, Utopia Jewels and Maskada Gioielli.
In 2017, she decided to diversify her business when her daughter Zoie Teo set up Carat 55 as a subsidiary of Zenith Affair. Carat 55 caters to younger clients seeking bridal jewellery with more accessible price points of, say, $200. That gave Esther the perfect opportunity to seek out new adventures; in November, she started Mus.za, offering fine jewellery as well as rare and gorgeous gemstones that you can customise into bespoke jewellery.
How did these business ideas come about?
Esther In the last two years, I collected many gemstones during my travels to cities, stores and factories as a consultant for jewellery brands that work with Zenith Affair. In July, after my birthday lunch at Raffles Hotel Singapore, I was invited to view the unit at #01-01. I fell in love with it and decided it’d be perfect for Mus.za.
Zoie I was looking for jewellery for my wedding in 2012 but couldn’t find anything that was modern, customisable and affordable. So in 2017, I launched Carat 55 as a bespoke jeweller to fill this gap. We also offer one of the widest selections of Si Dian Jin sets on the market.
How does Carat 55 reach out to customers?
Zoie Marketing for Carat 55 is very different from Zenith Affair and Mus.za. Most of our business come from social media marketing and from our participation in wedding shows around Asia. People from across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines find and communicate with us via Instagram. We have a boutique but customers mostly come by appointment to try on our jewellery.
What keeps you going?
Esther We’re always creating new concepts. With our on-the-spot design service at Mus.za, we can even refresh pre-loved or heirloom pieces thforat our clients. At our opening party in November, I told my granddaughter Victoria, who loves jewellery, that this boutique can be hers one day. She replied: “I love it, and I’m going to open many more stores!”
This story first appeared in the December 2019 issue of A.