Designer Taylor Miller discovered her love for jewelry design at 9 years old, inspired by repurposing her grandmother’s costume jewelry into new creations. Within six months of beginning to make jewelry, Taylor held her first trunk show at the acclaimed store Oxford Floral in Oxford, Mississippi and was named the Mississippi Museum of Art’s young artist of the year. By age 21, she was the CEO of Hazen Jewelry and has been expanding ever since. If that isn’t a Girl Boss I don’t know what is.
We sat down with Taylor in our latest “Meet the Modern Pioneers” series to get the scoop on what inspires her, her tips for accessorizing and where she gets her motivation as an entrepreneur.
What was the motivation behind creating Hazen Jewelry?
Hazen Jewelry was very much a hobby that developed into a business after a demand for my created product arose, shortly after starting the hobby, in fact. I continued growing Hazen throughout school because I enjoyed making jewelry and selling it to customers who loved the product. The motivation behind continuing Hazen post-graduation was my enjoyment of having my creative outlet also be my full-time job in addition to wanting to fill a void I saw in the market for my product.
How did you come up with the name?
The name Hazen was made up when I was nine years old, while sitting on my bedroom floor stringing beads with a friend. A true reflection of the youthful origin of the company, I thought the name sounded “grown up” and sophisticated, so it stuck! 15 years later, we’re still Hazen!
When and how did you first learn about jewelry?
You could say jewelry is something I have known about for as long as I can remember. It was always a part of playing dress up as a child and something I watched my mom and grandmother adorn themselves with before they went out. Like any young girl, I enjoyed stringing beads and creating my own designs from a very young age. I learned the technique of creating jewelry that lasts in the fourth grade, when I took an after school beading class. The rest I really just picked up as I went.
Your favorite part of running Hazen Jewelry is…
The opportunity to have a creative outlet and make decisions for myself and the direction of my company.
How would you describe Hazen Jewelry’s style?
Classic and timeless yet current. I often see many of the pieces I made in the early years of Hazen still being worn by women today, which testifies to our classic yet current aesthetic.
Favorite thing you’ve ever created:
I truly don’t know that I have one! I have created tens of thousands of pieces and have appreciated all of them at different points along the way!
What motivates you the most?
I am motivated by the ability to create something where nothing was there before. Whether this is creating a necklace that at one time was just loose raw materials, or creating a business culture where before there was none, the opportunity to create is rare and a gift!
Do you see Hazen Jewelry expanding in the future? What would be your dream scenario?
Absolutely, growth is what we are constantly working towards, although we are determined to do it rather organically. The goal is for Hazen to be a lifestyle brand that offers products and creative direction for individuals aspiring to live colorful, joyful lives. Not only would we love to offer the products fitting for this way of living but we also hope to be a tastemaker when it comes to said lifestyle.
Your favorite memory during your time at Hazen Jewelry:
We had our new showroom launch party this past October 2016 and it was truly one of the most joyful, memorable nights of my life so far. Surrounded by both people who had supported Hazen when it began 15 years ago and people whom I had just met a few months before, it was a night where my favorite people were all in one place, and at that, it was a place (the Hazen showroom and office) that had been created specifically to nurture and grow the Hazen vision!
Jewelry- surprise, surprise! Killer shoes are a close second!
What is your top tip for successfully accessorizing?
Play with color! Don’t always look to match colors but rather accessorize with colors that compliment and play off of what you’re wearing.
What type of effect do you want to have on your local community?
No one needs to know who I am or what I’ve done, I just hope to leave a resonating impact in some capacity. More of this story to be told soon on our website.
Who inspires you most?
My parents. They are the hardest working, most gracious, loving and supportive people I know. Without their love and support through the years, I can assure you I would not be doing what I am doing today. Running a company is a burden to bear as a young adult, and they allow me the space to be vulnerable and real.
What do you do to get creative inspiration?
I attempt to stay immersed in creativity as much as possible, whether that be architectural, interior design, floral, or fashion creativity. There truly is such overlap in pattern and colors amongst each of these that it is rewarding to intertwine them in my work.
If you could create jewelry for one person, who would it be and what would it be?
Great question! Hmm, not an easy choice, but at the current moment, I think creating a fabulous statement necklace for a tastemaker like Sarah Bray or Kimberly Whitman to wear to an event would be a true privilege. These two women, in particular, have impeccable taste and it would be so fun to see how they would style a piece of Hazen jewelry!