The Holly Howe aesthetic is not for a shrinking violet. And Holly's herself is no pansy, singlehandledly creating and running a jewellery brand which is now stocked in boutiques around New Zealand and Australia. Let's have a chat to her, shall we? Yes!
How did you come to start the Holly Howe brand?
It's so crazy thinking back to how this all started. When you’re doing it and busy being busy you never really stop to reflect about how you got there, I would just say that it all just happened, that's how it feels anyway, but thinking about it, it has been a journey of ups and downs (mostly ups) LONG hours, hard work and perseverance. I studied at Otago Polytechnic and graduated in 2009 with a Degree in Product Design. Throughout my degree I never really knew what it was in particular that I wanted to end up doing, I just knew I wanted to design and make things but never really thought I would/could make a business for myself so early after graduating. It was at the start of 2010 it hit home that I wouldn't be returning to study and that freaked me out, I really didn't feel ready, it wasn't until the end of my 3rd year that I started to understand what it took to be a designer. It was then that I went back and did a few papers at Art School in Jewellery and Metalsmithing, it seemed like a subject that would sit really well with what I studied previously, I needed that extra time to experiment a little more and gain some confidence with creating things that would then be out on the market. Half way through that year I was approached by a fashion designer who owns a boutique in town (Dunedin) who asked if I would be interested in collaborating on a little collection for her store and that was it, fell in love with the project we were doing and thought, hey why not design my own and see how it goes. It’s now almost 2 years later, 3 collections down and 20 stockists throughout NZ and Aus later!
Walls and corners of Holly's studio
Pieces from the three Holly Howe collections
What's been the highlight of Holly Howe so far?
Ahh what to pick, honestly everything and being able to work full time on my business is just amazing!
Something that really stands out would have to be my 2nd collaboration I did with New Zealand clothing label NYNE. I am stocked in their concept store, The White Room in Hamilton. A few months after having my label in their store they asked me if I would be interested in designing a few pieces to go with their SS12/13 collection, let’s be honest what emerging designer is going to turn down that amazing opportunity. It was such a great experience, I love working with other creative people and seeing where it can take you.
What's a typical day like for you?
Early morning workout and coffee first up! I am usually in my studio by 9am answering emails and doing all the paper work and organising of things with stockists and media, I do my own PR as well so there is a lot going on just with that side of things, with this side of the business I start my day with it and end the day with it so I can have the bulk of the day designing new work and making jewellery to go out to stores.
I try really hard to not work past 6pm or in weekends, of course when there is a new season collection due out its crazy and all of that goes out the window!
Get your hands dirty and make things
Holly's poppa gave them to her dad, and he handed them down to Holly.
Vintage findings box mounted on the wall
Inspiration and sketches for upcoming pieces
When did you last get really creatively excited?
When my partner came back from a work trip to Barcelona, he bought me back an Ernst Haeckel book full of amazing etching plates and illustrations of micro-organisms. It was just the thing that inspired me for my latest collection and for the new one due out in a few months.
What are your dreams and schemes for 2013?
Woo already 2013 has been amazing. I have 2 collaborations with 2 of my stockists locked in for this year plus 2 of my own collections to design and produce so I am going to be a very busy girl. There are a few other exciting projects in the works too which at this stage I will keep quiet. For me, 2013 is about building my brand and focusing on producing collections that people love.
I also want to build on my Australian market, I have 4 stockists over there but I want to grow the brand a bit more and make a name for myself there too.
Valley ring and Stacker rings
Fractured Heart earrings, from the new Little By Little preview collection
Three Peaks pendant
Holly will be launching her new collection in March/April, so keep your peepers out for it. In the mean time, you can find stockists and stay up to date with Holly Howe here.