Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Hartzog.
Sarah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started in the fashion industry over 15 years ago. Moving to Los Angeles from college in Dallas, Texas. I tried a lot of things, I did a brief stint at United Talent Agency (UTA) and then decided to change up the pace, working as a studio assistant for an independent and now defunct couture label in Los Angeles called JMary. I learned so much about basic garment fabrication, business and how to get around the city of LA. I was really drawn to the creative engineering that goes into the things we put on our bodies. The following ten years, I spent doing a little bit or everything; moved to NYC and worked as an intern at Proenza Schouler and ultimately was hired at Vice Magazine as an events producer. After that burned me out, I moved to San Francisco right around the time of the recession so that didn’t quite go to plan and I ended up back in LA working for the clothing label Raquel Allegra. In 2011 I decided to take some time off and quite accidentally fell into work as a freelance stylist. In hindsight, this was a really good marriage of all of my previous experiences. Production, creative, planning, hustling around LA and thriving in a face-paced, team environment. I continue to work in that capacity while also running Hartfield Studio.
Over the years, the line has organically evolved from fine-art pieces into a demi-fine & fine jewelry collection utilizing precious metals and gemstones into classic heirloom quality pieces. I carve every piece myself at my Altadena based studio, using the lost wax method. Everything is sampled, produced and finished in partnership with artisans in Los Angeles’ Historic Jewelry District. This collaboration is essential, as Hartfield is passionate about providing income to the many skilled jewelers that work in Los Angeles, while also contributing to the vibrant history of the Jewelry District.
The design philosophy that guides Hartfield Studio is the endless search for balance between opposing elements. Masculinity & Femininity. Heavy & Light. Big & Small. High & Low. The collections are always rooted in the idea of timeless classics that are meant to be worn and enjoyed by many generations. They are designed to be worn in a variety of occasions and across a broad spectrum of shared aesthetics. Hartfield passionately welcomes and celebrates wearers of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, genders and identities.
My work with Hartfield is guided by the simple but dignified principle of “slow and steady”. I would consider myself an artist first and a business owner second. I’m not motivated by pushy sales or feel pushed to cave to the expectations of fast-fashion. I operate thoughtfully and methodically in an effort to feel connected to the process, the customers and to elevate the personal experience in luxury, future heirlooms. I am always seeking out newer sustainability measures, from recycled packaging to lab-created stones. A major tenant of my work philosophy is also to create a space for the further conversations about consumerism and consumer culture, always working to cultivate a better understanding of the interconnectedness of the systems in which we all participate. I have made a very conscious decision not to separate myself and my personal values from my brand. For this, it makes me proud to have fans and supporters that know they aren’t just purchasing adornment but that their standing for small, local, female owned-business and for a conscious shift in the consumer mindset.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In my work as a stylist, there have certainly been some challenges. The stylist world tends to be dominated by a network of young females, often lacking diversity and empowerment. That has been a challenge but I consider myself lucky to be a part of a steady team of really strong women that take care of one another and are interested in promoting change. In that industry, that’s sadly, very uncommon. We have a lot of work to do there.
In both jewelry and styling, I would say the process is always about creative problem-solving. People don’t often think of jewelry as a market-based industry. For example, the price of metal is constantly in flux and can really be a wrench in your creative freedom! But for me, the challenges of turning work from my hands into a finished product always feels like a triumph. The sweet spot in the Venn diagram of science, engineering and design, if you will.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hartfield Studio – what should we know?
What I am most proud of is following my instincts and leaning into transparency and pushing followers, customers and collaborators to always consider the power of their spending. I am dedicated to being an educated consumer in my own life and I impart that same consideration on my business. Money makes the world go ’round, we all know that & we all need it to survive. So long as human beings continue to purchase goods, we really don’t “need”, we can at least do it in a way that serves our community and aligns with the values of the maker. I am not concerned about turning people away with my personal beliefs because at the end of the day, I just have to know that I did not betray my values in order to make a buck. It’s a sacrifice but it feels like a critical one, especially given our current need for a cultural revolution.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Absolutely, the women in my life deserve major credit. Both my grandmother and mother are powerful women. And I’ve been super lucky that nearly every woman I’ve ever worked for have been truly powerful forces but never at the cost of others. Many of my former bosses have been enormously influential in being examples of how easy it is to be strong and confident while also being kind and supportive. I’ve met many that haven’t been able to strike that balance and it’s so counterproductive.
- Prices Range from $30 – 2400
- Website: www.hartfieldstudio.com
- Phone: 3237198811
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @hartfieldstudio
- Facebook: /hartfieldstudio