If you aren’t familiar with Aurum Brothers just yet, you can be forgiven. It won’t be long until the family-run, men’s jewelry company becomes just as synonymous with men’s fashion as Calvin Klein or Giorgio Armani, and you will be wearing one of its designer bracelets and accessories.
The company’s initial creation came when founder Max Kuiper designed some bracelets for his friends. Max’s friendly gesture quickly transformed into a full-fledge business idea. It didn’t take long until Max’s brother, Scott, and his girlfriend were on board. Soon after, Aurum Brothers was born with the vision of producing the most stylish, coolest men’s bracelets on the market.
Soon, the brothers had brought their entire family into the mix, and the high-quality, handmade designs began to be sold all over the world. With inspiration coming from a variety of places and time periods, Aurum Brothers’ men’s jewelry company has positioned itself on the cutting-edge of men’s fashion today.
Firstly, let me just say that the bracelets are gorgeous and the inspiration behind them is fascinating. Max, how did you and your brother come to the conclusion the two of you would begin a bracelet company?
We always had a certain interest in stones and we would collect them on vacations when we were children. My mother had a small jewelry business, and at some point, I created a few bracelets for my friends; which they liked. I myself came from a rough period in my life and was still searching for a direction to go in. Shortly before the moment of inspiration that came into my mind, I decided that going back to school was not an option anymore. I always had a lot of resistance going to school and never liked it. It wasn’t my way. So, this idea of creating and selling bracelets came into my mind after I gave my friends these bracelets. I shared this with my brother and his girlfriend, because they seemed like good, smart potential partners. We did some market research, checked out what currently was offered, and we felt we could do it a lot better.
There are three brothers that work with the company, how does keeping the family involved help the running of the business?
Two Brothers, two sisters-in-law, one sister, a mom and dad, and our cousin actually! Well, our connection is really good, we have always been a close family; so that, I think is very important. If you’re doing business with your family, it creates a certain atmosphere where you can be very straight forward with each other. We can have a big argument every now and then, but the next day it’s all good and there are no hard feelings. Besides that, most of the time there’s a really positive and easy-going vibe at the office, and the other employees get influenced by this. So, the culture keeps developing in a family way. Everyone has got quite different talents, so since we know each other quite well, everyone is doing what he or she is great at; which makes people happy and contribute to the company’s output.
Although it is a family business, much of the creative process is fueled by founder Max. His ideas or the way he comes up with them may not be the conventional way other jewelry designers work. However, it has helped Max and his brand produce some of the most beautiful beaded hand jewelry on the market today. Using a combination of highly skilled, hand craftsman and unique materials, Aurum Brothers has made a real impact in men’s jewelry.
Your selection of men’s bracelets is quite extensive. What is the creation process like for Aurum Brothers and how long does it take to go from an idea to the finished product?
I am a big believer of working more on yourself than your “business”, and I recognized that these sudden moments of inspiration or “aha!” were the most valuable ones. They are more valuable than sitting down and forcing your mind to think of a solution or new design. It does not work like that, not for me at least. So, most people think that when an idea pops into your head it’s just a matter of luck, but it’s not. Everything in this world has a cause and an effect, so I asked myself, what is the cause of a good idea and inspiration? I studied myself and this subject and practiced it, and found a way to get in the “zone” and receive good ideas. Which for me, mostly consists of walking in nature and meditation. So, there it all starts, I get new ideas for new jewelry, I zoom in on these ideas and work it out in my head. I am probably one of the few designers that totally suck in drawing or a digital version of creating. So, I do most designing in my head. Once that is “done”, we research the materials we want to use to create the stories and produce a sample of it, and discover the technical issues to make it. I go back in nature to get inspiration of how to solve these problems and maybe change the design a little bit. I repeat this until it’s perfect. Then, I start the photographing of it in alignment with the story we previously created. How long this process takes really depends on the type of bracelet. For now, we mostly sell beaded bracelets which do not have a lot of technical issues; so, it is more of a matter of aesthetics. That can vary from a week to a few weeks. But for this other design that is almost done, it took me about 15 months. So, it varies a lot!
How do you and your brother initially come up with an idea or inspiration for a bracelet and what kind of materials do you prefer to use when building these luxury accessories?
So, I already told you a bit about walking in nature. I also think that reading a lot, meditating every day and traveling is quite important, too. Basically, training and nurturing your mind, because that is where ideas and inspiration come from most of the time. Then, you learn to differentiate between good and bad ideas, and extract the lessons from your bad ideas or decisions. This way you develop your “gut” feeling and keep learning at a fast pace. As for the materials, we specialize in precious stones, because we love gemstones. It’s our passion to find the best and most beautiful stones of any sort, and to create pieces that no-one else can make. It always needs to be top quality, and the stones always needs to be natural, which is a hard task nowadays. A lot of the gemstones sold are artificial or dyed in some way. So, we are always on the lookout and hunting for beautiful natural stones. This is also why we do a lot of limited editions, because we can’t keep the supply steady with these high-quality stones. If we find them, we sell them and then look for more.
Although Max often can be seen wearing designer suits with his beaded bracelets, he confesses that Aurum Brothers’ bracelets can be sported with any outfit. The brand’s products are extremely versatile, and wearers can enjoy them no matter the occasion.
What kind of outfit is best paired with an Aurum Brothers’ bracelet? Are they suitable for all types of occasions?
It can go with any outfit. It really depends on the person’s taste and the colors he is wearing. For now, we offer 8mm and 12mm bead sizes in all different colors. For example, we offer matte black or really shiny in your face colors. It really depends on your style and if you want a more casual or smart look. You can choose the size and colors based on that.
In terms of the company and the product, what sets Aurum Brothers apart from other companies that specialize in men’s accessories?
Well, as a company we really live with family values, internally and externally. We try to connect with the customers in a less formal and real way. We are a family that loves creating beautiful things and telling interesting stories of times gone by, giving a bracelet more depth than usual, not a corporate company wanting to sell stuff to people. I believe people feel that and it works really well for us. We have received a lot of 5-star reviews!
Many of Aurum Brothers’ designers have been inspired by nature and the past. It is those elements that customers will find when they view the company’s online store. From natural elements inspired by native tribes to gemstones found in remote areas, Aurum Brothers has brought together an attitude and mindset that has helped them to be a truly unique company.
Let’s go back in time a bit, what did you and your brother do previously that has helped you build such an amazing company? How difficult was it to get Aurum Brothers off the ground?
I believe the most important thing is our attitude and mindset. We both had no experience or knowledge of business, only our common sense and the desire to learn. We figured, if we want to become a great and successful company, we should do what the greatest and most successful people do. If you want to learn how to play basketball, you can best learn from Michael Jordan. So, we started studying these people, reading their biographies, or books they have written or recommended. We have always been being openminded, and open to try anything they suggest. For example, I heard a lot of super successful men, the great Greek Philosophers, Buddha and Jesus all were walking in nature almost on a daily basis. I thought “…hmm, they can’t all be doing this without any good reasons, or be wrong about the benefits of doing this, even if it makes no sense”. The Idea of me walking alone in nature seemed strange, but I still did it, still do it almost every morning, and I learned it’s super valuable. But if I would’ve had the mindset that my logical sounding reasons and resisted the idea of walking, I would not be here. By keeping this attitude in every aspect of business and learning from the best, we were able to create and grow really fast. Of course, everyone experiences hard days, but the hardest part is the personal work you need to do in order to become successful. That is also the reason why a lot of entrepreneurs with great products or service still fail and keep failing. They are only focusing on the effects, trying to change effects with effects is quite hard. So, when you focus on the cause, it will go much more smoothly and easily.
Can you share with me what a day is like for you as the CEO and Creative Director?
I always start with working on myself in the morning. I wake up, do some exercise, go walk in nature for about an hour and get to the office. I work a few hours, have lunch, work some more, and then read and meditate. I have a quite relaxed schedule most of the time. Of course, there are very busy chaotic days where I’m working from 8am to 12am. You always need to do what needs to be done. But most of the time it’s very nice. This is, because we do not agree with the philosophy that if you want success in your life, you need to grind and force your way to the top. We in the west accepted and learned this to be true, but nothing in nature works this way. A plant doesn’t work and struggle very hard to grow and become a flower. It just grows. The same is true for success. If you struggle and work very hard, chances are that your state of mind is not optimal, which causes you to perceive the world a bit differently than if your calm, happy and relaxed. The different perception causes you to make different choices, and in turn, gets you different results.
So many very wise people talk about the importance of your thoughts, and this is the reason that working and struggling your way to success quite often does not work, or only results in more struggle. Or it is the reason you are not happy once you reach your destination. That’s why we spend a lot of time in developing our minds, so we learn to control our emotions and thoughts, and thus control our results.
Aurum Brothers has big plans for the future to go along with their quickly increasing line of designer men’s accessories. The company plans to expand its reach across the globe, and hopes to open its own brand-stores. Yes, the future is bright for Max, Scott and the entire Kuiper family, as the company plans to be the market leader in men’s jewelry in the next decade.
Are there plans to expand the company in the near future: other products, distribution in stores or boutiques?
Yes, lots of plans! For now, the biggest near future plan is our new type of bracelets which I have been working on for a long time. These will be in a different league, and price range. It will be something totally unique, something quite special. When I see it, I get the feeling that ancient kings could’ve worn this. I love it! It will be in three different versions and hopefully released in October. I’m very excited for this one. Other than that, our growth plans are always very ambitious, and we will expand further in Europe, Asia and America at a rapid pace. We decided we will not do retail, because we want to do retail our own way, in our own brand-stores, and do something totally different to create a unique experience.
Of the bracelets that have been created by Aurum Brothers, what is your favorite and why?
Hmm, it is a hard choice. I find most of the bracelets and stones we sell very fascinating and beautiful. But I think personally, I love the new bracelet that is coming soon the most. I call it Templar, because it reminds me of medieval times. Right now, we don’t have an official name for it. It combines an artisan handmade look with endless possibilities of beautifully cut gemstones and ancient symbols. Plus, it has different types of craftsmanship techniques from ancient Japanese to Indonesian to western.
Where do you see Aurum Brothers going in the next five to 10 years?
We will be the market leader in men’s jewelry, in a totally unique and awesome way, all around the world.
Are there any new bracelets or projects you can share with us and/or you are excited about?
I already talked about the Templar design, but another thing I am quite excited about is that we are working on a bracelet with wood that is literally thousands of years old. I got a piece at the office from 227 BC. I think it is fascinating to literally have a piece of jewelry that is older than Jesus, or even pieces that came from the time when the great Pyramids were build. So, yeah, excited for that one, too! And we have been working very hard on our new website and updating the branding and logo, which is almost done. It will be a big improvement on our current one.
For more information on Aurum Brothers and its eclectic range of bracelet designs, go to www.AurumBrothers.com.
By Drew Farmer
Images credit: Ivo van der Velden
Journalist and author. Contributor