At OR, we have a soft spot for young entrepreneurs. When the small businesses developed by these brave self-starters are creative and female-founded, we like them even more. And when the founders are energetic, friendly, humble, and exude a nearly palpable passion for their endeavors, we feature them on Friday.
Three weeks ago, we were introduced to Hattie Gilpin, founder of Hattie Banks jewelry, at the American Gold Cup. We spotted her equestrian-centric capsule collection, and were especially smitten with a ring designed in the style of paddock fencing (Yes, seriously, and we think you might be, too.). Ms. Gilpin’s creations speak for themselves, but we were also captivated by her story, bubbly delivery thereof, and a few masterful interjections of southern sarcasm.
A bright-eyed young woman imagines a career of building hotels around the world, so she moves to New York City to work in hospitality. Burnout ensues, and she quits her corporate job to follow her dream of designing jewelry, moonlighting as a dog walker to subsidize the rent.
A native of Florence, South Carolina, Hattie Gilpin moved to New York City to follow her dreams (sounds familiar to us!). After working for two years at a large hotel chain, she craved an outlet for her creativity, so she left the corporate ladder behind and began walking dogs by day and crafting jewelry in her [very small] apartment by night. “I spent most of my time chasing beads around my apartment, and waking up with pieces stuck to my face,” she says, “I’m not kidding.” After creating her first line, Sea Dipped, Ms. Gilpin decided to indulge her love of fine jewelry, thus her luxury line, Hattie Banks, was born. Crafted with ethically-sourced diamonds and precious metals, and inspired by the elegant simplicity of a southern woman’s style, the line is comprised of two capsule collections that integrate subtle nods to the inspirations in her life: the Equestrian Collection, and the Eccentric Collection.
Delicate jewels have been on the fashion industry’s radar for a while now, with thin bands, slight chains, and understated studs at the forefront. However, we’ve found that it’s often difficult to inject character into these tiny items, and what draws us to Ms. Gilpin’s Hattie Banks line is her creative incorporation of personality. And after one afternoon spent with the charming and boisterous young designer, it’s easy to see that she probably couldn’t do it any other way.