Every Thursday during the pandemic, we check out members of the jewelry trade with the aim of gleaning shareable advice for doing business – and getting back into our “normal” lives, both professional and personal – during the COVID-19 crisis. .
Today we hear from exquisite jewelry designer Kristin Hanson, based in New York’s Hudson Valley.
JCK: Hi! How did you experience the pandemic?
Kristin Hanson: The pandemic has been an interesting time for me and my business. This allowed me to take a break and reflect on my work and redesigning my business, and discovering new inspiration from life spent exclusively at home.
I’ve been busy building my new website, and found that consumers love natural gemstones, which have always been at the center of my concerns. Fortunately, the bridal market flourished – love is still in the air!
Where are you based and who do you live with?
Just before the pandemic my daughter and I moved to the sweet country town of Rhinebeck, NY, in the Hudson Valley. Be close to family and buy a new one the house has been a wonderful experience and a continuous source of creativity.
I still have loved to decorate and design houses, so working on such a large scale [on interiors] brought a new perspective to my jewelry design. Being close to nature is one of my greatest inspirations. I love the city and have kept my office there, but I feel renewed in the the fresh country air.
How has your professional life been since the start of the pandemic?
The pandemic forced me to rethink and restructure my business in order to adapt to the changing times. The bride has always been my most important category, and I have found that under difficult conditions times people cling to what matters most. I deeply appreciate the custom design process I was able to realize for my clients. Although we now connect remotely, we have always been able to capture the intimate details of creating unique and personal designs through the wonders of modern technology.
This pivot also allowed me to develop my activity outside geographic boundaries. Now I connect with clients all over the world. This the personal bond of creating heirloom items that they will cherish forever is one of the my favorite parts of being a jewelry designer.
Was there a time when you closed your operations or did you produce all along?
Since designing and crafting parts by hand from my own home studio, I have been fortunate enough to stay operational. With a slight increase in home shipping of cheap natural gemstones, I explored working more with turquoise, Italian coral and smaller sapphires. I’ve also been busy working on my new website, which relaunched earlier this year.
What were the main challenges for you during the pandemic, and what were the silver linings?
One of the main challenges during the pandemic was the uncertainty over how the jewelry businesses would react to changes in the economy and to elections. Watch New York City take a back seat in business and seeing everything close was definitely a concern. the The jewelry district was closed for a few months but has continued to prosper ever since. I am finding that customers are looking for something unique and valuable now more than ever, which is why pink Argyle diamonds and rare gemstones have been at the forefront of the sector over the past year.
Tell me about your new Elements collection, what inspired it?
Nature has always been my greatest inspiration, since I was a child I picked up seashells on the beach and picking up pebbles in my garden. My art of jewelry began at a very young age and still draws inspiration from the organic textures and colors that the Earth creates.
Finding out what my new and latest collection would be like, it was perfect meaning to go back to my roots and explore this childhood fantasy. I created the elements collection as an ode to the magnificent splendor of the natural beauty of the Earth. Capture the the essence of these elements by creating these heirloom objects felt as an important element effort.
What do you think young brands should focus on when it comes to marketing and what has worked for you?
Stay true to yourself. I have had the opportunity to teach thousands of students from around the world during my tenure as head of my design school in New York. I found that many young designers seek their inspiration outside, but my advice has always been about looking within and discovering your true self.
As for social networks, it seems be constantly changing, like a race without a finish line. My suggestion is to stay on top with fresh new content that you create and design. Take tons of photos and constantly thinking about the future. In this saturated market, it’s important to focus on what makes you unique.
What did you do to relax during the pandemic?
All my joy came from spending time with my 3 year old daughter. We spend time creating countless art projects, cooking healthy organic food, taking long walks in the country and spending time with family. I also started to paint again and start other art forms, all of which are related to my jewelry design.
Any good recommendations for TV / Movies / Podcasts / Books?
With a young girl at home, there isn’t much time for media other than Disney +! I’ve always been a big fan of documentaries and educational shows, so I slip them into when can i. With my daughter, we love to watch National Geographic and nature series, learn more about Earth and animals.
GIA knowledge sessions during the pandemic have been tremendous. I also watch a lot of how-to videos on YouTube to fix things around the house or to brush up on my jewelry techniques.
Above: Kristin Hanson on the bench (all photos courtesy of Kristin Hanson)
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