Boss Lady is a series that shares personal insights from creative women in business. This week, we chat with Hart Hagerty, the founder of HART, a jewelry line of “understated statement pieces.” (We’re obsessed with her tassel earrings!) All of Hart’s creations combine her love of Asian aesthetics and her bohemian side for the perfect everyday statement. Hart’s jewelry is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career.
After majoring in Chinese, I moved to Shanghai where I worked as lifestyle/fashion editor for a couple of years. I started my brand there on the side, and ended up putting it on the backburner when I moved to NYC after 5 years grinding it out China. I lasted only 1.5 years in NYC working for other companies… I really missed Charleston and working for myself! So I moved back home in August 2016 and the rest is history.
2. What prompted you to start HART?
My desire for independence (having my own work schedule), constant wanderlust (any excuse to travel the world), and creative expression. I also love the challenges of running my own business. There’s a learning opportunity at every corner.
3. Looking back is there anything you wish you knew before you launched?
I wish I had hired my assistant earlier. As soon as you can afford it, hire HELP. Don’t feel guilty about delegating — it will only free up time and energy for you to further grow your business.
4. Describe a challenge you faced, either as a designer or a business owner.
Navigating international tax law, import/export and trademarks hasn’t been easy. I can’t recommend highly enough to invest in the best lawyers and accountants you can find. They will save you money in the long run. I feel a lot of peace of mind knowing that super smart people are working on my business. That is priceless.
5. Where did the inspiration for your signature tassel earrings coming from?
Tassels are the perfect “everyday statement earring”. They exude bohemian chic, a sense of fun and are also timeless, classic and appeal to a wide array of people. I noticed a big gap in the market for well-made, lightweight and well-priced earrings. So I went for it!
6. What is HART’s most successful form of marketing?
My intern’s main role is essentially to send earrings to bloggers/influencers as gifts. They have really helped us spread the word! Possibly even more importantly though… I believe excellent customer service and good product has been our biggest generator of sales. A huge portion of our sales are repeat customers who love the brand and the quality of the earrings. You can market the magic all you want, but if you don’t treat your customers exceptionally well and create quality products, then you’re going to fail.
7. Who is a Boss Lady you admire and why?
On a local level, Deirdre Zahl of Candy Shop Vintage. Deirdre is incredibly generous with her advice, time and support. Nationally… Oprah. I love her message of mindfulness and prioritizing being a good person over being good at business. In short, don’t be a dick to others and be grateful for all the little wins along the way.
8. What advice do you have for those looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?
To quote Nike… “Just do it.” Start small. Start somewhere.
Just for fun…
Cocktail of choice: dirty gin martini
Best show to binge-watch: currently, Comedians in Cars getting coffee
Favorite thing about living in Charleston: biking or walking in my neighborhood downtown.
Describe your perfect Sunday: sleeping in late with my fiancé, a walk or surf on Folly followed by lunch at Taco Boy. And then evening tennis with my girlfriends at Colonial Lake!
Person you’d most like to see wearing your earrings: Alexa Chung (we just sent some to her! fingers crossed!)