Creating your own brand can be as scary as it is exciting. It takes risk, investment, and above all, your precious time. But when you start to see your brand all over Instagram, it’s all worth it, as has been the case for Sharona Harris. In February 2014, the former publicist launched F + H Jewellery and has seen incredible growth in two short years. We had a feeling many of our Who What Wear Australia readers would love to know the ins and outs of launching your own label, so we sat down with Sharona, to find out everything you need to know about launching a successful jewellery brand.
Who What Wear Australia: What has been your experience of launching a jewellery label?
Sharona Harris: I think it’s the same as launching any brand or businesses—it’s all hard work and you need to be really determined to succeed. There are a lot of amazing brands in the world that are all competing for attention, so you need to really create a great brand with a point of difference and distinct personality.
WWW: Have you had any set-backs or challenges?
SH: I wouldn’t say I have had any set-backs, but starting any brand is an up-hill battle. It’s one step at a time. Every day you are learning and every day you face new challenges, so I think it’s really important to have a personality type that likes to problem solve and that won’t crack under pressure!
WWW: People often have an idea of what they want to create or launch, but don’t know how to get it off the ground. What did you do have to do to get your label noticed?
SH: My strategy was to focus on working with influencers and the contacts that I had built through my years of working in PR. I also reinvested every dollar I made for the first 18 months back into the brand for marketing purposes, which was really important.
WWW: Well it worked! In two short years, your label has quickly and quietly become a go-to not only for women all around Australia, but also for style influencers and celebrities. Was that the plan?
SH: This is great because that was the plan! When I launched F+H Jewellery I saw a gap in the market for a jewellery brand that wasn’t fine jewellery or bohemian, so I think stylists, celebrities and influencers were happy to support my brand when it hit the market because it was clearly different to what other brands were doing.
WWW: What do you think it is that sets your label apart?
SH: F+H Jewellery is all about tough-luxe designs, I use strong shapes with clean designs to create a stand-out piece that can be worn day or night. I also use dark gemstones and chain details for a tougher styling edge.
WWW: What inspires your unique shapes and designs?
SH: A lot of my inspiration comes from ’60s, ’70s and ’80s music culture. I am always researching looks such as the punk movement, the disco era or ’80s glam and from there I will find something that resonates with me, such as a shape, a texture or even just the fashion styling and I go from there!
WWW: Would you do anything differently? What would you go back and tell yourself in hindsight?
SH: I would tell myself to have more confidence in my personal style and to trust my instincts more. Having a brand can be quite tough on your self-confidence, as you feel like you are putting a piece of yourself on display, but I’ve learnt that you really just have to believe in yourself and not listen to self-doubt.
WWW: What has been the best career advice you’ve ever received?
SH: Act like the brand you want to be in five years’ time, today. I think about this all the time when it comes to how I want my brand to look and how I do business.
WWW: What do you predict will be the next big trends in jewellery?
SH: Right now, jewellery is all about layering, and multiple ear piercings are becoming more mainstream, which is fun for styling. I also think for summer my two predictions are extremely over-sized hoop earrings (jaw-skimming length) and jewellery with thick chain details.
WWW: What can we expect next from F + H Jewellery? What’s your vision for the brand?
SH: I have my new collection dropping late July, which is really exciting. It has hammered metal textures and was inspired by the late ’70s disco era for styling. I have also introduced some easy layering pieces in this collection, such as a fine choker with black onyx… jewellery that you will want to wear every day. I also want to focus on international sales in the next 12 months, particularly the U.S. market as lot of my sales come from New York and L.A., which is great.
WWW: OK, so we have to know (we always love to try and guess if we’re correct)—what is the fastest time a piece has sold out and what was it?
SH: The ‘Richie’ cross earring is flying… every time I restock it it’s sold out again within 3-4 weeks. I call it the ‘Lara-effect’. After Margaret Zhang photographed Lara Worthington wearing them, they’ve been selling like crazy since.
WWW: And lastly, what has been your most memorable moment so far?
Margot Robbie wearing the ‘Richie’ cross earrings to her Suicide Squad wrap party. That was amazing.