We had the good fortune of connecting with Reema Farooqui and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Reema, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always loved jewellery and especially pearls. I am also very fond of writing. These two passions came together in December 2018 when I started my blog, The Culture of Pearls along with an Instagram account with the same name. The idea was to learn more about pearls – their history as one of the oldest gem materials used in jewellery, how pearls are used in contemporary jewellery and what makes cultured pearls different from natural ones. I wanted to share my love of pearls and connect with other jewellery lovers who found pearls just as beautiful and fascinating as I did.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have a jewellery blog and an instagram account where I feature and write about pearls, pearl jewellery and the latest news from the international pearl industry. The thing that sets me apart from other jewellery writers and influencers is that I focus only on pearls. This niche has allowed me to stand-out, and in some ways stand apart, from other jewellery writers since it’s rare to have a jewellery writer who focuses on only one gem material.
I have had to work very hard in terms of understanding not only pearls but also online publishing and social media. But it has been a rewarding journey. My biggest challenge was not knowing anyone within the international jewellery industry. I started as a complete outsider and it has taken time, dedication, authenticity and perseverance to establish my name as well as a strong network within the jewellery industry.

Recently I have started a new but related project where I am doing brand consultancy for several small to medium sized jewellery brands. This new project is an organic but very intuitive transition from my writing and social media work. I will continue to write about pearls and pearl jewellery on my website and on social media, since that is my “happy place,” but I am also looking forward to the exciting new direction this pivot is taking me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), in Canada and the GTA has so many amazing places to visit and see. There are the usual tourist destinations like the CN Tower, the Royal Ontario Museum, Casa Loma and the Aga Khan Museum. Niagara Falls is a very picturesque one hour drive from downtown Toronto and on the way one passes through Ontario’s gorgeous ice-wine country. In Toronto, I would take them to Kensington Market, St. Lawrence market and the Distillery District.   These three places are so quintessentially Toronto and are a must-see for anyone wanting a genuine Toronto experience. In addition, walking on Queen Street in Toronto and stopping at Nadege Patisserie for some freshly baked macarons and coffee is always a treat.

For brunch, I would take them to Madam Levante. Lunch at Figo Toronto is not to be missed and high tea at Shangri-La would be the perfect end to a busy afternoon. These days my favourite restaurant in Toronto is Lee, with its delicious Asian Fusion cuisine and electric ambience.

For a relaxing afternoon, nothing beats stopping by Port Credit in Mississauga and having lunch at one of the many wonderful, independent eateries by the harbour. I would also love to take my friends to downtown Oakville, on Lakeshore Road and stop at O2 Gallery to check out their latest exhibitions.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Ever since I started writing about pearls and pearl jewellery, I have connected with some amazing people in the jewellery industry. However, there are three women who have inspired and motivated me. First, jewellery influencer and my friend Shohista Turan, who trusted me to write for her online magazine. Second, jewellery historian and auction expert Celine Rose David from whom I have learned so much about the history of jewellery, gems and pearls. Third, jewellery publicist and communications strategist Duvall O’Steen, who has always been very generous with me, both with her time and her advice.

Website: thecultureofpearls.com

Instagram: @thecultureofpearls

Linkedin: Reema Farooqui

Image Credits
The jewellery photos are from my visit to Utopia Jewels in Milan, Italy (June 2022).

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.