Mom, Midwife & Jewelry Brand Founder Creates Custom Line For Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day around the corner for yet another annual celebration, we like to take this time to reflect on what motherhood means to the GTHQ community. Our favorite way of spreading empowering conversations about motherhood that go beyond the seemingly shallow platitudes seen in many commercials and campaigns, is to highlight the work of everyday mothers in the world, who are using their voices and platforms to make a difference.

One of these powerful women is Uwera Rodriguez, who has dedicated her life to giving back to mothers, both as a midwife and with her jewelry brand, NOGAMA Fine Jewelry. As a mother of three herself (her children are aged 7, 4, and 3), Uwera wakes up every day with a purpose: to make mothers feel special. By day, Uwera works as a midwife at North Central Bronx Hospital and in her spare time (which is far and few between), Uwera is the sole-owner of NOGAMA Fine Jewelry.

From timeless classics to statement pieces — including several that proudly boast being a mom — every piece is hand-selected by Uwera to give back to the inspirational mothers of the world, all the while providing her with a project that has redefined who she is as a person. Though the project is for Uwera “the businesswoman”, it is very much driven by Uwera “the mother”. In fact, NOGAMA is named after the first two letters of each of her children’s names, Noah, Gabriel, and Malachi. 

We had an opportunity to speak with Uwera about her career as a midwife, her upbringing in the Congo, how she started her business, and why she wants to empower others mothers to know they are more than a single title. We also believe showcasing the real-life stories of mothers and women of color are more important than ever, and Uwera is the embodiment of an inspirational woman who does it all!

Can you tell us how the idea for NOGAMA first came about? 

After having children, I struggled to redefine my style to align with my new lifestyle and identity. Not only that, I needed a project that was just for me to enjoy! So, I combined the two.

I have always loved jewelry and had an eye for it, so I decided to take a leap of faith (even though I already had so much on my plate) and take a couple of jewelry-making classes to follow my passions. In 2018, I started by wholesaling for other jewelers and learned a lot during the business. If anything, it gave me the confidence to start my own brand!

In 2019, I started NOGAMA Fine Jewelry, which is truly the best combination of everything that I am about. It is a project just for me, feeds my passion for jewelry, and allows me to provide products for other mothers who may have felt the same way I did after giving birth. 

As a mom, you have incorporated some pieces that pay homage to motherhood. Can you share more about wanting to create pieces of jewelry that have meaning? 

I’ve always said that I created my pieces so they could act as daily reminders to mothers that they are valued, and are so much more than the many titles they carry. When I created the brand, I was the target audience I had in mind and knew that if I needed something to make me feel special, like jewelry, then so many other mamas out there likely did too. 

Lately, I’ve been focusing a lot more on custom pieces, which are very special and have been really well received. These pieces are customizable based on your children’s name, their birthday, or their birthstone, so they really add so much more meaning in addition to being beautiful.

By day you work as a midwife in the Bronx and are raising 3 children of your own! What does a typical day look like for you? 

It’s honestly crazy, I don’t know how I do it! I typically work from 8 PM – 8 AM and do approximately 1-2 deliveries per shit. After my shift, I go straight to the gym and then come home to answer e-mails, ship out packages, and respond to customer inquiries. Then I will source new diamonds and work on custom pieces, all before going to pick up the kids from school. I love the hustle and wouldn’t change it for the world!

Can you tell us about your upbringing in The Congo and how your journey impacts the midwifery work you do today?

Growing up in Africa, I learned so much about different cultures and ethnicities and coming to the US, I have learned to adapt to so many different environments and feel comfortable in various different settings. I feel as though both experiences really prepared me for the work I do with all kinds of people on a daily basis. 

I always wanted to be a part of Doctors Without Borders, but after having children I wasn’t able to pursue that dream. However, working in the Bronx still leaves me feeling fulfilled as I get to work with low-income individuals and make a difference in their lives. 

How does your role as a mother shape your perspective as a businesswoman? 

My father was also an entrepreneur, and he was a great role model. He had multiple businesses as well, so I was inspired at an early age to work hard for things. I like to think that my children see me the same way I saw my father, and will be inspired to work hard in their lives as well. 

Why do you think it is important that we see more representations of women of color and mothers as entrepreneurs and leaders in society? 

In Africa, women were more at home and catering to their husbands. I knew that as a woman of color, I wanted to prove that we can open our own businesses and work to carve our own paths. I hope I can be a positive example of someone who actually does both, as I do spend a lot of time at home catering to my family but also run a business and work full-time. 

With Mother’s Day around the corner, what are some of the NOGAMA pieces you are promoting to celebrate moms? 

It’s so hard to choose! There are so many great pieces that moms love, but I would recommend these three here. 

One of the goals of NOGAMA is to remind women that we are more than the titles we carry. Can you share more about this, and how your own story inspired this mission? 

Mothers have so many jobs and it can be easy to find yourself lost in them. Mom, chef, driver – you name it! I definitely found myself feeling like I was missing something after having my third child, something that was only for me and that I enjoyed doing. I think jewelry is a perfect example as it is very valuable to women and a true symbol of femininity.

Jewelry has an unquestionable ability to bring out the best in a woman’s features and make her feel beautiful, stylish, confident and special. So, I wanted to give that feeling back to moms, to remind them that yes, even if they are known as mom, chef, and driver, they can also look down at a bracelet and remind themselves they are a valuable, beautiful, woman at the core of all those titles. 

What are your favorite pieces from the collection, and what are some upcoming pieces you are working on? 

That’s equally as hard to decide! Every piece is hand-picked by me, so the whole collection is really special. I love them all! If I had to choose a favorite item, I would say the Wavy Two Finger Ring. I also really love the Diamond Flower Necklace and the Diamond Pave Heart Necklace. Such timeless pieces that go with any occasion! 

I’ve also been working on a lot more customized pieces, particularly with my client’s children’s names on them, and I’ve been really loving this as well. I like to wear all the pieces before putting them on the site and see how they feel and are received. I was inspired to do this because I had a sample delivered to me while on a phone call with my sister and my sister-in-law. They saw me wearing them on the call and immediately wanted a version of their own. So right off the bat, I knew people would love them!

Finally, given Mother’s Day is coming up, can you tell us what makes you a powerful woman and mother? 

I think all women are powerful. Some qualities that stand out to me personally are not being afraid of taking chances, owning who you are, and following your dreams no matter what…even if it’s a bit of a juggle. 

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