Artist Statement:

HEN Jewelry is a modern and creative jewelry brand with a vintage/bohemian flare. HEN is created, crafted, and designed in Canada, specifically in London, Ontario by Genevieve Smolders. Currently the brand is being sold to over 30 boutiques all across Canada, and is sure to grow within the next few years. The inspiration for HEN comes from a plethora of different sources, including both Aboriginal & Bohemain cultures, (evident in all the long, beaded work with feathers and fringe,) unique vintage finds, and raw materials.

At Ryerson, my thesis project included a whole collection of jewelry, called ‘The Psychology of Jewelry.’ In a nutshell, the hypothesis claimed that if one would like to portray themselves in a different manner, they could simply wear certain styles of jewelry so that others see them as how they would like to be seen. For example, wearing a big statement necklace would signify to others that you were bold in personality, and probably pretty confident in yourself. After designing and creating the full collection, I was hooked, and ‘HEN’ was hatched. I began selling jewelry part-time to small boutiques in London and Toronto for some extra cash. Four years later, I found myself quite miserable working full-time in a mediocre-at-best job, and I decided to quit and take on HEN jewelry as my full-time job, and I haven’t looked back. It will be four years in February 2016, and I’m very excited about where I have taken the brand, and where I plan to take it in the future.

Most people get inspired by thinking of some sort of concept or idea, and then going out and finding materials to create said idea. I am quite the opposite. I go out and get inspired by the materials available to me, and begin to design with my raw materials in hand. I find designing is easier when you don’t have a certain concept in mind. Then I begin to play around with my materials and from there, ideas begin to bloom. Once I have finished the item/collection, I give it a name, and start taking photos. After all the photos are edited, I start to promote, whether it be on my website, to the stores I currently sell to, or new ones. Currently, I do not have any employees. I do have some helpers for shows.

HEN’s collection is an array of necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings for the fashionable/trendy woman aged 20 – 55. HEN’s price range is anywhere from $29 to $139.

I noticed that many fashion forward men were attracted to my booth at shows, but never satisfied when looking because everything I provided was for women. To fill that void, I thought up this new, slightly edgier line made just for men called Bear Hardware. Now, when they approach me, I have exactly what they’re looking for. It is proving to be very popular in it’s first months. Men’s items include a limited collection of bracelets and necklaces ranging in price from $45 – $99.

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