Cute Shop: Michelle Kim of The Hatters | Irvine, CA

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve known Ms. Michelle Kim of The Hatters, the new business venture that she joined in on with her boyfriend. When I first met her she was a psychology major intent on going to grad school and becoming an industrial psychologist, but fast forward two years later and she’s now perfectly okay with making jewelry. I met with her last week to catch up, learn about her new job, and listen to her speak passionately about a former hobby turned business venture.
 
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
When did you decide to start making rings?
I started selling a couple weeks ago. I did it as a hobby. It wasn’t until after I graduated and when I started to have more free time that I started doing this. I had that free time to figure out what I wanted to work in and I just kept going back to making jewelry.
 
What’s your process like?
It all depends. The more intricate ones take longer. Sometimes it takes me an hour, sometimes it takes me two hours. When I’m freestyling and making the first, original one; that takes a lot longer. I start making rings late at night too. 
How did you learn?
I’m self-taught. I looked at some pictures and I just started doing it. Everything I do now is just on my own. I looked at rings and I realized that I wanted to start making rings and ever since then, I’ve been making my own.
How do you get inspired to create your designs?
I stay up really late. I start at around midnight and then I stay up till three sometimes making one ring. I keep playing around with the ring, so I change it until it looks better.
 
When you were in college and getting your psych degree, how much jewelry did you make?
I didn’t make that much. I did it here and there but I wasfocusing on school. I’ve always wanted to make jewelry but I didn’t have the time. I even went to the jewelry fair! I never put all my time into it, which I can do now.
What did you learn in college that has helped you in your new jewelry business?
I think college kept me bound to certain standards so I couldn’t really be creative, but the minute that I wasn’t bound to the school system I was able to be full on creative. I never thought I could make rings like this, I never thought I could be this creative. But school taught me how to adhere to deadlines which helps me now that I have orders coming in.
 
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How many orders a day have you been getting since you began?
Around 20.
 
What are the business plans as of now?
We created The Hatters, which is an online e-commerce site where you can purchase our stuff. From there, we’re going to look into expanding and see how it goes. Stephen (her boyfriend of 8 years), started the business and I joined up with him. It’s apparel and accessories.
 
How did you start the process of marketing your designs?
I started on instagram, then from there I put it on my blog, and then it just took off. I kept getting a lot of likes and I never thought it was going to get that big. We’re going to create a Facebook soon.
“There’s definitely people that doubt me, but I keep getting orders and all these compliments from people telling me how great it is so it’s pretty encouraging, especially since I’m teaching myself.” 

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