Meet the Australian Princess of Pearls

We chatted with our very own Erica, the founder, owner, and driving force behind the business, to delve deeper into the story behind the brand and to uncover the inspirations and insights that drive her.

What inspires you? My family, friends, and work are my primary sources of inspiration. They motivate me, bring out my best, and drive me toward continuous personal and professional growth.

What was your first-ever job? My first job was working for a renowned gemmologist and jewellery designer, who became my mentor. She guided me as I embarked on my career, and before starting my own business, we were partners for the first five years of Ikecho. This period was invaluable, providing me with extensive experience and insight into the industry.

How did Ikecho begin? Ikecho was launched in July 1999 when I was 19, with the support of my father Erik, a well-known opal exporter. Growing up in a jewellery family, I have fond memories of spending time in opal mines in Lightning Ridge. I've always loved pearls, and since they are my birthstone, I felt there was no better gemstone to work with.

How did the name come about? The name Ikecho (pronounced i-ket-cho) was chosen because it is believed to be the name of the first freshwater mussel used to cultivate pearls in Japan. I wanted my company to be recognized as the home of freshwater pearls in Australia, embodying the legacy and tradition of pearl cultivation.

What makes Ikecho unique? Ikecho was the first company to import natural pink pearls to Australia. Over time, we have built strong relationships with pearl farms worldwide, allowing us to offer an extensive range of high-quality South Sea, Tahitian, Akoya, Mabe, and Chinese Freshwater Pearls to Australia and New Zealand.

Describe your typical day. My day typically begins with an early reformer Pilates class at my local gym. Afterward, I wake up my daughters, Charlize and Frankie, and get them ready for school. Once they're off, I head to the office to join my incredible team. Balancing my role as a mother of two with my professional responsibilities makes each day both fulfilling and dynamic.

What 'makes your day'? Coming home after a productive day at the office to my husband and daughters. Their presence always brings me a sense of joy and balance.

What are three things in your life you can't live without? My husband, my daughters, and my phone. They are essential parts of my life, providing love, support, and connectivity.

Favourite place to escape to? My favourite escape is our place on the Mid North Coast, right on the river. It's a peaceful retreat from the city's hustle and bustle where I can relax and enjoy the serene surroundings.

The best piece of life advice you've received? The best advice I've received is that while challenges in life are inevitable, being defeated is optional. This perspective helps me stay resilient.

The best career advice you've ever been given? The best career advice I've received is to be proactive and follow my dreams. Persistence is key.

Follow Erica on Instagram @ikechoaustralia for exclusive updates and insights into our latest collections and behind-the-scenes moments. Don't miss out!

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