Ethical Chic

Ethical Chic

10 September, 2015
Q&A: John Hardy
Head designer at sustainable jewellery brand John Hardy speaks to Ecozine
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Head Designer at cult jewellery brand John Hardy, Guy Bedarida sat down with Ecozine to share about his move from conventional luxury brands to cultivating a greener patch in the glittering industry.
 
What makes John Hardy jewellery different to conventional jewellery?
In a way it’s quite easy; it’s really the philosophy of our brand. We work in the middle of nature in Bali, with local and ancestral talent, making jewellery 100% by hand. Pieces made by hand have a soul, a connection to the person who made each piece. It will always be unique.  There’s also the fact that we only use recycled metal. 100% of our silver is recycled. We are the onlycompany that does that in the world, and it really takes something to maintain this commitment.
 
What are some specific ways that John Hardy, as a company, has adhered to its commitment to sustainability?
If you visit us in Bali, you will see what we call ‘the compound’ – our workshops. We are in the middle of the rice fields, surrounded by nature... so, from the start, it was our mission, our duty, to protect this environment that sustains us.  For instance, most of our buildings are bamboo with thatched roof. When we got the land, we decided that, if we had to leave one day, the land should be able to go back immediately to what it used to be.  Then there’s the "Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo" initiative. Every piece from our Bamboo Collection is sold, is etched inside with a number, which is the number of bamboo we plant in honour of that piece. This year, we will celebrate 1 million bamboo planted since the start!
 
Why is bamboo such a focus of your design and company culture?
It’s one of the great sustainable materials of the world. It’s actually a type of grass, and it grows very fast. And, it’s such a versatile plant. You can eat it, wear it, build floors, buildings - I don’t need to tell you because in Hong Kong you do the most spectacular scaffolding! For us, [planting bamboo] is also the way that we offset all our carbon emissions. 
 
Tell us why you work at John Hardy.
I was working in New York City for a very famous international jewellery brand, and a headhunter askedme to come to work for John Hardy. I said I was not interested, because I was very happy in NYC. Then Mr. Hardy - the owner of the company -said ‘OK you don’t want to work for me, I respect your decision,but jus come visit me in Bali.’ He knew I would fall in love with Bali, and the talent of the Balinese, and their character - Balinese are happy, peaceful people. I could see the potential of this brand, and of living in this beautiful tropical place... and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve made.
 
A day in your life?
I get up early, generally around 5:30, like the Balinese people. I jump in my pool - that’s how I wake up - and then a very light breakfast. Then I leave for the office; I like to arrive before everybody else. The first thing I will work on is inspiration; designing, thinking about new ideas, concepts... because it is very quiet early in the day. Then I have about 60-100 emails to answer, since half of our company is based in the US and are working when I am asleep. In the afternoon, I work with my team. I am lucky tohave a magnificent team, and they are the true reason for our success. After work, I love entertaining at home. I have guests 2-3 times per week. I don’t sleep much!
 
What are your thoughts on protecting the environment?
It’s always been something important for me. I’m lucky enough to come from a family where my parents were concerned about the environment - since I was a kid- so I grew up with this idea, and also socialresponsibility. I believe if you treat well people, and you take care of them, they will respond. The same is true for the environment – if you take care of the Earth, it will give back to you tenfold.
 

By: Ecozine Staff
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