Kimberly Haisch shares the powerful story of her brand KBH Jewels.
Kimberly Berry Haisch launched her fine jewelry brand on October 1st of this year, and she's already generated much excitement and praise. The philosophy behind KBH Jewels centers around sustainability, tradition and female empowerment. We had a chance to ask Kimberly about her journey starting this inventive new fine jewelry line:
1. Tell us a little about your story and how you started KBH Jewels.
KBH: When I began to think about KBH Jewels, I was raising my young children and I reflected on what I was teaching them. What impression was I leaving them with; what were they going to come away with? I wanted to create jewelry that serves as beautiful modern heirlooms, pieces that can be passed down to future generations.
It is all about doing something for the world that my children are going to live in and eventually share with their own families. That is tradition; that is part of our legacy. Family, tradition and incorporating circular practices and sustainable materials are at the heart of everything we do and embedded into the fabric of our story.
2. What are some of the main inspirations behind your jewelry designs?
KBH: Family and the tradition are at the heart of everything we do. Two key ideas that are the foundation of the brand are the Latin roots for tradition and sustainability. “Traditio” means to “pass on for safekeeping” and “sustinere” means “to endure.” To us, those two things mean the same thing. The women that we know are doing their best today to give the people they love a better tomorrow - and that’s what we are trying to do here.
We designed these pieces for the women in our life that are all things. Women are moms, daughters, sisters, wives, professionals, friends, protectors - we do it all. We want our jewelry to make these women feel even more empowered than they already are.
3. What drew you on the path to create a sustainable jewelry brand? When did you start becoming more interested in sustainability?
KBH: The jewelry that KBH produces is made from 100% reclaimed gold and cultivated diamonds. We are unmined. Everything that KBH produces, supplies and ships - from jewelry to packaging - is sourced from ethical, sustainable and reclaimed methods.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory, “metal mining is the nation’s #1 toxic polluter” and Earthworks states that mining is the biggest polluter in the USA, contributing to arsenic, mercury, and lead pollution. Gold is one of earth’s natural renewable resources that can be recycled without any quality degradation; so why are we mining for more?
It is also estimated that upwards of 1700 tons of soil is disrupted and displaced to mine for 1 carat worth of diamond. That is equal to roughly 10 Manhattan city blocks and in addition to other devastating social and environmental factors that are a part of the diamond mining industry. The FTC ruled that diamonds can now be grown with the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as mined diamonds. We want consumers to know that there is another sustainable option in fine jewelry.
4. The ocean and its waves play a powerful role in your brand imagery. Can you tell us a little more about that?
KBH: A lot of what defines the ocean is also characteristic of women. People look at the ocean waves and are in awe of how beautiful they are, but also marvel at their power and strength. Those qualities encompass the KBH woman - someone who is beautiful and gentle but also strong and powerful. The women who inspire KBH pieces, are doing the best they can today to secure a better tomorrow for the people they love. It’s not about being perfect, it is about trying to do better.
5. What’s your favorite piece in your collection and why?
KBH: It’s hard to choose and everyday it changes. The first pieces that I made will always hold a place in my heart - the Wave Ring or the Leaf Climbers, for example. Now, they’re big sellers so that’s a really rewarding feeling.
6. Even though your brand launched just a few months ago, you've already generated a lot of interest. What do you see in store for your company over the coming years?
KBH: We launched on October 1st, so the amount of interest in this short time has been humbling and amazing! Our belief is that modern luxury should only be sustainable luxury. Jewelry should be beautiful, aspirational, covetable, and life long. But it should also be sustainable, thoughtful, and innovative where possible.
Our consumer wants a fashion forward option without sacrificing luxury for sustainability. They care about how the piece was made and where the materials were sourced from. Jewelry, as a symbol of love, should also apply to the manner in which it is made. The focus is on what we are doing, what we are buying, and how that affects the world.
7. If you had to define your collection in one word, what would it be?
KBH: Tradition. We need to be proud of what we are passing on and what our legacy will be.
8. As a role model for female empowerment and leadership, what advice do you have to women who want to start their own businesses?
KBH: There is no time like the present. You will never feel 100 percent ready but I think that you just have to start. You’ll never be sorry that you did. There is something to that old saying, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.” I think I was always waiting for the opportunity to come along rather than doing it on my own. I needed to create and cultivate this opportunity because no one else is going to do it for me.
9. What advice would you give to all the young emerging jewelry designers out there?
KBH: Try to create sustainably. It’s easy to source parts and pieces in a non-sustainable way because they are more widely available, but don’t take the easy road. Don’t take a piece or a part or a finding that’s not made in a way that can make the future better. Everyone places value on different things but that’s what is really important to us. Everything about this process has made me try harder and think more. The more you look, the more you see. It’s all about being conscious.