Starting your own business is always a risk. Starting your own business in a creative industry is even more so. Yet, somehow that didn't stop two passionate University of California Irvine psychology graduates from taking that chance and starting a brand together. More specifically, a jewelry brand. Opting out of a path that involved leather bound couches and writing pill prescriptions, self taught jewelry designer, Michelle Kim and her boyfriend, Stephan Davis, founded The Hatters; a remarkable jewelry label that is set to expand into apparel and much more. Being a huge fan of the many whimsical pieces, I wanted to learn more behind The Hatters. I spoke with designer, Michelle Kim, on the makings of the company, her inspirations and future plans for growing brand.
How did you come up with the name: The Hatters?
Actually, my boyfriend and partner, Stephen Davis came up with The Hatters! The Hatters campaign is about bringing together artists each versed in their own medium of expression. To meet at a common crossroad and create something that someone somewhere will find a smile in.
That's very interesting, being in one- what is your take on going into business with your boyfriend?
Stephen has always been very interested in the business world and had an idea of what kind of business he wanted to develop. I have always wanted to create jewelry pieces that many people of all ages could afford and love. Together, we became The Hatters, where he mainly runs the business side while developing his t-shirt collection and I create jewelry and market for the brand.
What made you decide to go from learning psychology to starting a jewelry brand?
Throughout college, I found psychology to be an interesting subject to study. However, when I began to think of my life after college, I didn’t see myself being happy pursuing a PhD. Conducting research or being a clinical practitioner without a love for the field would have definitely detracted from my drive and ability. I have always had a passion for altering and making my own jewelry so I decided to take a chance and pursue jewelry designing.
Where did you learn to design jewelry?
Everything I have learned so far has been self- taught. I taught myself jewelry design by playing around with various materials and design ideas. I would have an idea of what jewelry piece I would like to make, then spend several hours (trial and error) until I am perfectly happy with the end result!
Where do you find your inspiration for your jewelry?
Nature, architecture, street style, and different cultures all inspire me. I mostly create pieces that speak true to my personal style, which is feminine with an edgy twist!
I hear you're also going to be selling apparel. What kinds of clothing are you going to feature on your online store?
Our first line will be featuring muscle cut-out t-shirts and tank tops with high fashion images. They will be released this summer! It’s going to be an exclusive The Hatters brand.
What types of people buy The Hatters?
Ladies of all ages who appreciate specially handcrafted jewelry that stands out from general mass produced jewelry pieces. Men also purchase custom jewelry from us for their loved ones!
I absolutely loved my jewelry from The Hatters! To see more of their original pieces and to get your own make sure to check out The Hatters website, instagram and twitter.