Every once and awhile we discover a designer that has the gift of creating unique and inspiring pieces that embrace the serenity of the beach. This week, the designer we discovered in Hali Kissinger. Her jewelry line Hau’oli was dreamed up while sunbathing by the hawaiian seas. Although she is not originally from Hawaii, she fell in love with the ‘Aloha Spirit’ and calls the big island her ‘Heart Place’. We had a chance to dive inside the creative mind of Hali in our exclusive interview below.
Graffiti Beach: Tell us a bit about what your name means?
Hali Kissinger: Hau’oli means Happy or Joy in Hawaiian. (and if you take the u’o out of the middle, it’s spells my name!)
GB: While learning a bit more about you, I saw that you wanted to be a sales rep for Billabong or make your own swimwear line. Does this mean you have another day job?
HK: Yes! I actually went to FIDM for Product Development. I had my sights set on designing swimwear or working for a swimwear company, Billabong being my dream company. I worked at small surf shops through college and had an internship at Lost Enterprises. After college, I got a job at Tilly’s Corporate office. My last year there I got pregnant with my son. I worked part time in small retail shops and made a lot of jewelry until he was 2. Now, I work full time as a Paralegal Assistant. So, even though the fashion industry has been put on hold for a while, jewelry making has always been a constant.
GB: Why jewelry making in such a competitive industry?
HK: Jewelry, for me, is a way of self expression and also a huge stress reliever. There are so many great jewelry designers out there that sell thousands of pieces! If I sell one a month, I’m happy. It’s more a hobby or a passion as opposed to making money. It’s the neatest thing to see someone wearing a bangle I made (and possibly suffered many burns from) and be so stoked on it!
GB: How long have you been a jewelry designer and where do you see your line headed?
HK: I’ve actually made jewelry my whole life. My childhood best friend’s Mom was a jewelry maker and taught classes. My mom and I would always hit the bead shop and make little things for each other. In 2007/2008, I started seriously getting back into it and haven’t looked back since! Now that I work full time again, it’s been hard to promote and seek out any shops but I don’t mind being and staying a small operation! I do Patchwork (craft show) and have an etsy shop, so that keeps me busy.
GB: If you could dream a little, tell us what your very own runway show would be like!
HK: I’m an eternal summer kind of person! Sunny summer day on the beach, a cool breeze, and mellow reggae music playing in the background. Raised wooden runway lined with small Palm trees. Teeny Bikinis, Organic Cotton maxi skirts and dresses, beach pants, printed kimonos, flowy tunics and shorts. Curvy, tan beauties with long dark hair showered in flowers. Barefoot with tons of jewelry on. Fun, relaxed and tropical!
GB: Any advice for other aspiring jewelry designers looking to get started in this industry?
HK: Find your niche! Put tons of love into every piece and make sure it shows!
Thank you for taking the time to interview with us Hali! Your work is amazing and truly evokes the tropical cool breeze of the hawaiian islands!
You can shop for Hali’s pieces on her Etsy Shop – CLICK HERE
Interview by Melanie Michaud, Owner of Graffiti Beach