Jewelry Inspired by the World: Christian Livingston

Not everyone need be a diehard fashionista in order to create truly inventive accessories. For Harry Haslett, a whirlwind trip around the world with only a backpack and a surfboard led to accumulating unique jewelry from far-flung parts of the world. Out of the back of his grandfather’s Chevy he began to sell these pieces, and this led to creating his own original designs. Christian Livingston/Island Designs is now a multi-line accessories business based in Hawthorne, New York. Sweet Lemon Magazine sat down with Haslett to find out more from this eclectic designer and business man who proves with a little confidence and passion, you can do anything.

blkwhtjlSweet Lemon Mag: So this whole business got started when you went on a trip around the world. What prompted the trip?

Harry Haslett: After graduating college I had a lot of things I wanted to do and see. It all started with buying an old telephone company truck from my grandfather and traveling across the US. After going surfing in California, and stopping in Utah for some months to live and ski in the mountains, then venturing off to Mexico, it progressed to traveling the world with just a backpack and surfboard for about 6 years.

SLM: Was there any one person who pushed you to start a business with your art?

HH: I have always been pretty self motivated and no one pushed me along the way, but I had a very supportive family through all my years of travel. My upbringing was one that instilled confidence and independence and the message that was repeated regularly is ‘you can do whatever you want in this life, you just have to go out and make it happen.’ I especially credit my mother for being incredibly supportive and positive in all my adventures through out my life. This is an attitude I try to pass on to my children and to people I meet.

SLM: How long did it take to get the business off the ground? What would you tell an aspiring designer to expect when they are just starting out?

photo (100)-1HH: I found it fairly easy to begin my business as I had been used to traveling on a very small budget and had very little money to start my business ($1,000) so I basically had nothing much to loose. I just hit the road with my goods and at that time I had a very different story and product than others and it was well received. It just grew organically and I’ve always kept it that way. As long as you have the confidence and passion, you’ll make it.

SLM: What do you do to get the creative juices flowing? Do you have a creative process you like to follow?

HH: I find most of my inspirations come from my travels and experiences during those times. Foreign cultures and ancient history in distant places always fascinate me and inspire me to integrate these feelings into my designs. Another great source of input is from my customers and sales representatives and their needs, wants and ideas. This is an integral piece of the puzzle.

SLM: Every collection has the subcategories of beaded/eclectic, brushed, sterling silver and Turkish. Are you partial to one? Is one easier to design for than the other?


Turkish Necklace

HH: I am always partial to the current collection I am designing or the next one coming up. I always look forward and very rarely look back! I enjoy the variety of designing all the different categories and searching out new directions in far off places.

SLM: When life gives you lemons…

HH: This is a good question as we all face being given some lemons most days in our daily lives. I find it amazing that you can wake up one day in your world and find it an exciting and beautiful place where you can face the day’s challenges head on without hesitation. However the very next day waking up in the same place, you can find it uninspiring, troubling and overwhelming. In most instances you bring these attitudes on yourself. I try to make that switch in my mind from a negative place to the former days, a positive place, and appreciate all the great things in the world and my life so far. I as blessed with good fortune and sometimes I snap back into reality when knowing that others might not be as fortunate, therefore I must be grateful.


Turkish Bracelet

During all my travels throughout the world I have seen and met amazing places and people, but I have also seen many poor and unfortunate people and horrible places; I try to always feel for them and try to do the right things when possible and keep in mind this could be me under different circumstances. I try to appreciate my family, friends and business, daily in my life and this keeps me balanced, positive and thankful for every day on this earth. This attitude helps me to cope when life gives me lemons.

Christian Livingston/Island Designs exhibits in the major gift and accessories shows in New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Chicago, as well as in showrooms throughout the United States. Check out the site here and get lost in the world of beautiful jewelry. To keep up with discounts, new collections and #ootd inspiration, ‘like’ Island Designs/Christian Livingston on  and follow on !


This post was sponsored by Christian Livingston/Island Designs. 

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