If you scroll through the gram as much as we do, it isn't likely that you haven't come across Jess Hannah's dreamy feed featuring her style and jewelry. She is a jewelry maker and blogger based out of Los Angeles, California and we had the honor of shooting her and getting a glimpse into her journey. Read on and get to know this rad chick and get inspired.
Photography: Kourtney Jackson / www.KourtneyJackson.com
Interview by Audrey Tyau of OHK
What was your background before starting J.Hannah?
I studied graphic design in college while taking metalsmithing courses on the side in a retired jeweler's garage. I gradually accumulated my own tools ( I asked for a torch for Hanukkah from my parents!) and set up a bench in my bedroom. After graduating and not getting my dream graphic design job, I decided to shift gears and pursue my real passion. I had never really thought of it as a carrier option until then. I got an apprenticeship for a duo of fine jewelers and worked on honing my skills. A year or so passed and then I decided to start my own line!
Have you always been into jewelry, how did you get into it? And what made you decide to launch your own line?
YES. I have fond memories of being very young and asking my dad if he will let me try on my grandmother's jewelry. She had exquisite taste, all solid gold chains or diamond cocktail rings. That's when the fascination was sparked and it all kind of snowballed from there.
I've also always been into crafty things and making stuff by hand. When I was 12 at summer camp I was making pretty rad friendship bracelets if I do say so myself. Then in high school I was messing around with beaded and wire wrapped stuff. College is when I stepped up my game to metalsmithing and working with fine materials. The decision to launch a line came much later in the game. Making jewelry was always just a hobby for me. It wasn't until I was on my post college job search that I realized I would have much more fun pursuing my real passion instead of doing what I was "supposed to do".
You grew up in Northern California -- how has being LA impacted your style or your work?
It's amazing to be surrounded by so many other creative people, from designers to photographers, you name it, they live here. I am highly motivated by the success of my peers.
Have there been any women that you look to as mentors that helped you along the way to get to where you are?
Yes, there have been a handful of jewelers that have been so kind and helpful. It's so refreshing when people are willing to help someone that is in the position that they once were, instead of being competitive. I always try to return the favor.
What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your career so far?
I have been doing a lot of custom work lately. It's always really rewarding to create an engagement ring for someone and be a part of something so special. And it's lovely getting to know those clients on a personal level along the way!
Where do you go or what do you do when you’re looking for a jolt of inspiration?
Ideally travel and museums are a wonderful source for inspo. But in a pinch the internet does the job.
What are your own go-to accessories for everyday?
I just launched a larger version of my Balance Necklace and it has not come off my neck since I made the sample.
What's your favourite pair of sneakers right now and why? What's your favourite way of styling them?
I just got the Rag and Bone Standard issue high tops, they are rad because they are kind of no frills and very classic. I'm also into Adidas anything.
One piece of advice for girls trying to start their own business?
Just start it! I know it sounds cheesy but starting it really is the hardest part. It takes a lot of confidence to put a piece of yourself out there in the world to be judged by others. You have to stop giving so many fucks about what other people think and make it the best thing because thats what YOU want and makes YOU proud. Get over the hump of launching and that's when the real fun starts.