C+L: Tell us a little bit about you and Hollis Hayes-
Kristin: I started Hollis Hayes from the desk of my boring 9 to 5 job as a way to channel my creative energy. I chose the name by combining my childhood street name and a family name. I started by making jewelry for family and friends and it grew from there. I created a website and gained a small but loyal following. When I reached out to a few boutiques to carry my jewelry, I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction. It has been almost seven years since I started this hobby. Since then, my sister has joined me full-time, we have a few amazing employees and we are in over 100 retail stores. I grew my side hustle into a full-time job and haven’t looked back since!
Kerin: My sister has always been the more adventurous go-getter out of the two of us so when she went all in on Hollis Hayes, it didn’t surprise me that it succeeded. I had been working at a Boston based hedge fund by day and helping her fulfill orders by night. I joined Kristin full-time as a co-owner in April of 2017 and couldn’t be happier working with my little sis.
C+L: When did you realize you had a passion for creating beautiful jewelry?
Kristin: When you are able to do something as your full time job that you started as a hobby, with no intent of getting paid for it, it’s the most rewarding feeling. The fact that people like the ideas I have brought to life from my imagination, enough to pay for them with their hard earned money is so humbling. It fuels my passion that much more. I don’t take it for granted and put that much more love into each piece having that in the back of my mind.
Kerin: I watched my sister make jewelry for years before I joined her. When I create something that I love to wear, it's so rewarding when it's well received with our customers and retailers. It keeps us going!
C+L: I love the diversity of your pieces. Where do you get inspiration from?
Kristin: Honestly, everywhere. I think any entrepreneur will tell you that the upside to working for yourself is that you are able to do what you love everyday and it doesn’t feel like work. The other side is that your mind is always on your business, your baby. Everywhere I go I am getting inspired by colors, vibes, themes, people, conversations that I have, travel, etc. We put so much thought and effort into which charms we use (we have over 75 options), our bead & stone colors and the meanings.
Kerin: Inspiration is everywhere and I find a lot of it the same way Kristin does! We are also so inspired by our customers. They have amazing feedback and aren't afraid to ask for what they want. If we see a trend in requests we definitely listen :)
C+L: What do you love most about what you do?
Kristin: I think seeing people, who I don't know personally, wearing my designs that they went into a store to buy or bought online is a really cool feeling. I've been doing this for seven years and it never gets old. It's like hey, I created that! It's surreal.
Kerin: I love hearing from our customers. When someone takes the time to send us a message about what the bracelets mean to them, or how the little meaning card helps them through a tough time, I am immediately reminded why I love doing this.
C+L: What are some ways you put yourself in a positive mindset to achieve your goals?
Kristin: We built this business from nothing. Kerin and I have worked really hard to build this company into what it is today all while hearing from so many people that most small businesses fail within the first 18 months. Hearing the word "no" as a young entrepreneur can be extremely discouraging. The word "no" has always been motivation for me. I like to prove people wrong and I think that has something to do with out success.
Kerin: Anytime something isn't going the way we would like, we make a list of everything that is going well. It's a quick way to remind ourselves that we have a lot to be grateful for and makes tacking the issue at hand that much easier.
C+L: If you could give a short piece of advice to someone looking to start their own business, what would it be?
Kristin: Being your own boss is scary. There is a lot of responsibly on your shoulders. Think of why you want to achieve what you’re trying to achieve and keep that in the forefront. There are going to be obstacles everyday. If you aren’t 100% sure of your business idea, it’s going to be really hard to deliver it with enough conviction to get others to believe in it. Address the excuses to why it won’t work in the beginning and get rid of them. Don’t be afraid of mini failures. Find the solution and keep moving forward.
Kerin: Be prepared to work hard, don't be afraid to self promote and ask for help when you need it!
C+L: What is your favorite Chloe + Lois piece?
Kristin: The feather ear climbers! I wore them on my wedding day.
Kerin: I just ordered the sterling silver turquoise bitty studs!