An interview with Emily Hartwell McPhee of  Hart + Stone

An interview with Emily Hartwell McPhee of Hart + Stone

Feb 04, 2016Britt Buntain


As some of you know, Picot had ambitions to open last Spring, May 22nd to be exact. When I was curating my first collection of goods to be sold, Hart + Stone was the first jewelry line that I bought back in April 2015.  I was always so impressed with Emily, a gal on Saltspring who found her love in silversmithing, and who stood out with her branding, lookbook and portfolio. As a fellow new business owner and maker, I was very impressed with her. Its been a pleasure to build a relationship with her over the last year, and I am beyond excited for the milestones and success she has created for herself through her business.  

Britt: How did Hart + Stone begin?

Emily: Hart and stone grew out of my love for making jewelry. I started making hemp jewelry as a kid, then created feather jewelry, then crystal jewelry. I took a weekend silversmithing course on Salt Spring and fell in love. After a couple of years selling jewelry under the name Emily Hart I decided to put more time and energy into the business and changed the name to HART + STONE. I focused more on the business side, as well as coming up with new and exciting designs. It was there it began to take shape.

Britt:  Over the last year we have been in touch and you have been sending me your jewelry for Picot. I have always been so impressed with the packages as they arrive, your branding, attention to detail, and your approach to business. Everything has evolved substantially for you over this past year, can you tell me how that happened, or what you think was a key factor in your success?

Emily: Thank you! I’ve really enjoyed being a part of Picot. Having a cohesive brand is super important to me. I’ve read heaps of blogs, books and journals on marketing and business and they all stressed the importance of a cohesive design. I’m such a visual person so being able to do all the design work myself has been a huge help and so much fun.

Britt: What challenges have you over come that lead to a deeper understanding or a shift in perspective for you?

Emily: With any small business money has been a curse and a blessing. I never realized before how much money goes into a business. Pricing my jewelry has been a huge struggle over the past year. I started with very few overhead costs, but now have lots. I’ve hired some help, rented out a studio, and gone on buying trips. All these things add up and have to go into the cost of the jewelry. Even though a piece might only have so much material cost, I have to factor in all my overhead cost as well. I also sell a lot of wholesale, so I’ve had to learn the hard way to make sure I’m pricing those to make a profit. As I said before, I’ve done a lot of research to help with this, and it’s all paying off… literally.

Britt: You are selling your jewelry in over 20 stores worldwide now, what kind of systems do you have in place to keep your business organized and thriving?

Emily: I try and make sure to stick to a specific schedule and making sure my stores are getting their orders in the time frame I’ve told them. I’ve experienced some over booking in the past (Christmas was bigger than expected), but I’ve learned from my mistakes and will make sure that won’t happen again. I’m constantly finding new ways to stay organized.  

How do you keep what you are doing fun and creative while filling orders for stores?

Emily: Filling orders for stores is actually quite fun for me. I thought that after a while I might get bored making the same thing over and over again, but I’m not. I’ve learned though that instead of working on multiple wholesale orders at once, I like to work on one then move onto the next. That way I see progress and that’s always fun.

Britt: Has there been a time where you were unsure about the business, or afraid to move forward?

Emily:  Signing a lease for my first studio was super neve racking. I wasn’t sure if I should as it’s a huge investment. I was working out a 100 sf space and when the time came to fill Christmas orders and I had three people helping me in. We were all squished and had a tunnel to our works stations. It was then that I thought if I want to move forward in this business I NEED to have more space. I’m now learning that it’s been the best thing for HART + STONE and I’m excited to see what 2016 offers.

Britt: What would your advice be to budding creative entrepreneurs?

Love what you are doing! If you don’t love it, don’t do it. You are going to sleep, eat and breath your business. I am constantly working, but I absolutely love it. I love the creative side and the business side. I also recommend reading lots of books on business and marketing. Even though you may have this amazing product lots of work needs to go into the financial and marketing side of your business. Plus having someone that can do your taxes and take care of your books is a complete life saver.

Most significant books and blogs:

- the dream job shop (unfortunately they’re shut down) but this one helped me the most

- craftsposure

- the e-myth revisited

- and lots of googling and finding random info

Britt: What do you do for self care?

Emily: I go on LOTS of hikes. I live in the most beautiful place in the world. Heading out into the outdoors with my dog rejuvenates me and makes me excited to get back into the studio.

Britt: If you weren't designing jewelry, what would you want to be doing?

Emily: When I was in high school I wanted to travel the world and photograph it. If I didn’t have HART + STONE I’d probably try and find a job that would let me travel the world.

Britt: You just released your second collection that was inspired form your trip to New York earlier this year, where do you want to travel to next?

Emily: I’m currently in Tucson, Arizona at the gem and mineral show which is so inspiring. I’d really love to go to Europe next. Paris has been calling my name. I’d also love to visit Amsterdam, the south of France, and Scotland.

Britt: What are you most proud of?

Emily: Being able to call HART + STONE my job. It’s tough to be able to call your passion and your creative craft your job, and I’m so fortunate to be able to do that. It’s been a lot of work, but all that hard work has paid off and I’m so glad that I kept going and didn’t give up. I still have along way to go, but in this movement I am happy and proud of myself for where I’ve become.



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