Women Who Gem is a weekly series about women in the industry, who are doing incredible things. Whether designing, marketing, or merchandising, these women are leaving their mark and inspiring us all. This is the second interview in the series. To read the series click here. This is Interview 5.
For those of you not familiar with Andrea Hansen, you might want to be. She’s a powerhouse branding expert who serves clients in the jewelry and lifestyles space, and she also happens to be the president of the WJA- Women’s Jewelry Association; the premier organization for women in the jewelry industry. I have been following her on social media and was lucky enough to meet her at a WJA event this past fall, where she was incredibly gracious. Most of my previous posts have been with designers/small business owners in this series, and I wanted to make sure I had views from all different aspects of the industry, not just the designing part. Read on to find out how Andrea got into the biz, and what challenges she thinks are facing women in the industry today.
AH: An accident. My career started because I hurt my knee playing volleyball when I was 15 and then took a summer job at H.Stern jewelers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I never quit after that summer. Because I was working as a PR associate at H.Stern before college, I chose to follow that through.
AH:It was presented with quality, classic elegant styles, good values and an aspirational marketing campaign at a time (2009) when the retail community needed to present a good sensible reason to get the consumers shopping again.
AH:Speaking a current language. Most people in the industry are still in the print age. They use the same old style ideas and photography one would put into creating a print ad or catalog, and then put it on Facebook or Instagram. Very few have taken the time to understand the values and desires of their consumers of today and tomorrow, and don’t know how to speak of jewelry as an experience, not as a status symbol.
AH:Equal pay, an equal shot at promotions and management opportunities. But most of all, respect and professionalism.
AH:Not in my earlier career, but I was mentored by Hans Stern who was one of the biggest supporters of women I know. Later when I joined WJA I met women who inspire and motivate me every day, because of who they are and what they do. Marie Helene Morrow, Phyllis Bergman, Anna Martin to name a few.
AH:A strong right hand ring has always been my signature. Big and bold. A ring that says – don’t mess with me.
AH:Learn how to be of value to others.
And on a personal level – listen more than you speak.