Creative, minimal and smart are some of the words that pop into our minds as we think about Scandinavian jewelry design. Recently customized jewelry has become more and more popular in the Scandinavian jewelry scene.
I sat down with Michelle, designer and co-founder of the American brand The Hatters, during her brief visit in Oslo, Norway. We wanted to know why she has taken a Scandinavian approach to designing and her view on the differences between the US market and the Scandinavian.
The Hatters is founded by Stephen Davis and Michelle Kim and consists of handcrafted gold and silver jewelry from their headquarters in California, USA. Though the brand is 100% American, the style is inevitably Scandinavian, with clean lines, sleek design and wit. Michelle and Stephen met when they were both in college, studying psychology. After graduation both Michelle and Stephen realized that what they really wanted to do was something far away from psychology. Stephen started learning more and more about the business side to owning a brand and Michelle continued exploring with metals, techniques and design.
MH: What is it about customized jewelry that makes you tick?
MK: When I started making customized jewelry, there wasn’t really a market for it. You could customize anything, except for gold jewelry. I wanted to create something different and timeless. I’ve always been interested in fashion, but fashion fades. I always loved how accessories can complete an outfit and that they tend to stay with you for a longer period of time than any trend piece would.
MH: California is far away from Norway, why did you come all the way up here?
MK: The Hatters are becoming more and more popular in the Scandinavian market and I wanted to visit and see it for myself. Norway is exciting and I feel very inspired here. It’s also nice to see what kind of jewelry people are wearing, it gives me more of an in-depth view of the market.
MH: Why did you choose the name, The Hatters?
MK: The name – The Hatters, comes from Alice in Wonderland. There’s a scene in Alice in Wonderland where The Hatter celebrates an un-birthday, which can be celebrated on any of the remaining 364 days of the year. I want it to be a celebration and a way for you to express yourself, says Michelle.
MH: What do you think is the Scandinavian jewelry design norm and how have you incorporated this in your own line?
MK: I think Scandinavia does a great job of keeping designs simple and clean. As a jewelry designer, I have always appreciated simplifying designs and paying attention to the smallest details. I like keeping all my jewelry designs very minimal, delicate and modern. Less is more.
MH: The Hatters has a distinct Scandinavian vibe to it. Was it all a coincidence or on purpose?
MK: Having a Scandinavian style was definitely a coincidence. When I started making jewelry, I wanted my jewelry line to resemble my personal style. At the time, I didn’t see many jewelry pieces on the market that embodied a delicate and minimal style that I was looking for. From the minute we launched, bloggers and customers all over the world picked up on it, especially in Scandinavia. That’s when we found out that my designs have a very Scandinavian-esque style to it.
MH: What are the main differences between the Scandinavian jewelry market and the American jewelry market?
MK: I would say that the Scandinavian market appreciates more of the handcrafted and quality aspect of jewelry more-so than the US market.
Social media plays an important role in the success of The Hatters. Loved by editors, celebrities and industry professionals – Michelle stays on top of her media outlets and controls all of them herself. I always like to be in contact with my clients, people think that The Hatters are a huge production, when it’s really just me replying your order and producing your order by hand and shipping it to you, says Michelle
The Hatters are available worldwide through http://www.wethehatters.com