Name: Kimberly Rochelle Hartman
Home: I live in the West Village in Manhattan.
Tell us a little about your company/brand:
It was the summer of 2008 and with the economy taking a steep downturn, I could not give clothing away at the fashion brand I was managing. At the same time my boyfriend of one year was not being very cool and I just realized that I was not in the job that I wanted to be in and I was not in the relationship that made me happy…. Basically I was not living the life that I wanted to live. I received a long overdue commission check from a previous employer and I had enough frequent flier miles to book a round the world ticket, so I walked away from my life in NY and set off solo to India for 6 weeks then I travelled around SE Asia for 2 months. I was standing in a rural weaving village in Laos (near where I am writing from you today) and that is where I had my Ah-ha moment. I could employ tribal women to weave and hand embroider their traditional patterns for me and I would pay them a fair price for their work, thus providing to them a steady income. I found a family of women who would sew these textiles into bags of my design which allowed me to create my own fashion brand and sell to buyers I knew that owned boutiques around the world.
I launched JADEtribe February of 2009 during New York fashion week with a small collection of 10 handbag styles and a handful of hand braided jewellery.
What or who inspires you, and why?
Exploring places I have never travelled, meeting new people and learning about their lives and journey, hearing new music that moves my soul, discovering new ideas that expand my mind – practicing mindfulness along the way. All of these things contribute to my personal and spiritual growth.
What was the inspiration behind your newest collection?
I just returned from Thailand and Laos where I designed my Fall 2014 collection. It’s quite a departure from Spring/Summer. I had been feeling a bit dark and moody before my trip to Asia (and much needed holiday in Cape Town after) so I got a bit more serious in our color palette and I expanded our offerings in clutch bag styles. JADEtribe is always about beach and color, but for fall I have over dyed my hand-embroidered textiles in Black, Deep Purple, Dark Indigo and Crimson. We have even changed our linings to a gorgeous slate grey, hardware is brushed silver and the leather is now black instead of our standard dark brown. Our hand woven textiles from Laos and Morocco are now complimenting this new palette. This darker color palette and new styles will be well suited for evening and life in the city. We launch in February during New York fashion week, so I am excited to see the response.
What is your favourite piece from your recent collection and why?
I love my new beach dresses and I love to wear white on the beach, so the Mini Farah dress in white over my indigo bikini looks great with a pop of colour and pattern with the Elizabeth Fold Clutch in shades of blue.
Do you have anything in the future you are really excited about for your brand?
I am excited for Summer 2014 and thrilled that the clients that have carried JADEtribe handbags for the past 5 years are all starting to order our beach dresses too. I think you will spot our dresses on the most fashionable ladies sunning on the best beaches this summer.
(Note from the Editor: don't worry MdM'ers - stocking them soon too!)
What is your one piece of advice you would give to any designer who is starting up or considering starting up?
Believe in yourself and your unique vision, and surround yourself with people that support your dream. Also focus on sales… a fashion brand cannot exist without sales.
Where are your favourite beaches/pools around the world and why?
I am a warm water girl and as much as I love Point Dume in Malibu I am not swimming in the water as much as I would like to. Bonus if there is warm water and an easy shore break for beginner surfers. Closest to home in NYC I prefer Montauk for a long weekend. I love Tulum, Mexico for yoga and the healing water. Salinas and Gouverneur in St. Barths are quite romantic. Tamarindo and Nosara are great surf spots in Costa Rica. One cannot beat the gorgeous beaches and water in Southern Thailand…Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Kho Phangan. I adore the entire island of Ibiza – so many beaches I have yet to discover there. Clifton Beach in Cape Town South Africa is where I spent my last 2 weeks, beautiful people – freezing cold water! It’s been a few years since I last visited St. Tropez – I am trying to fit that in this summer and visit my client Club 55. My dream trip is to visit another client the One & Only resort Reethi Rah, Maldives.
What are your beach bag essentials?
Straw hat, fashionable sunnies, Le Roche Posay Sunscreen, latest fashion mags and a JADEtribe cover up for when the sun goes down.
What is your own signature beach style?
Bikini, denim shorts, white tee, haviannas , a straw fedora and my Samui Stripe beach bag.And finally, do you have any top tips for staying stylish by the pool/beach and if so, what is it?
I think one always looks fresh with a pretty white cover up and a straw hat.Finally, 5 quick ‘getting to know you holiday’ questions:
- Bikini or One-piece: Bikini
- Heels or flats: Flats for the day and heels at night
- Beachside or Poolside: Beachside
- Deserted island or Party island: That depends if I am single or have a boyfriend ;)
- Book or Music: Music
Thank you for taking part in our interview Kimberly!