Ten Questions with Natalie Holst and Rochelle Lee
By Koun Bae
April 16, 2013
When we first met Rochelle and Natalie from the Brooklyn-based jewelry line Holst + Lee, Plum Alley was just a mock-up poster and a developing idea. The two women offered up their brightly colored wares to be auctioned off and featured on our poster and helped us materialize the concept of Plum Alley. This week, we’re launching a capsule jewelry collection designed by these uber talented women just for us! And it gets even better. 10% of proceeds fromall Holst + Lee jewelry on Plum Alley will be donated to an organization near and dear to our hearts: the Somaly Mam Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated preventing human trafficking and aiding survivors.
And on top of it all, the founder ladies of the moment took some time to answer ten of our most burning questions.
1. Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?
We both grew up in the South, but in different parts–Natalie in the Southeast and Rochelle in the Southwest. The South is such a lovely place to be and grow up. The warm weather has had a great influence on our love of all things bright and colorful.
2. What kind of professional training or education path did you take?
We both studied art and art history and came to New York as painters. It was just a coincidence that our art paths led us to a love of fashion. We both worked in fashion before launching our company with designers like Marc Jacobs and Proenza Schouler while also working at night at some of the trendiest restaurants in New York.
3. Tell us about the Plum Alley capsule collection!
It’s such an honor to be apart of Plum Alley and the strong women they represent. This collection hopes to celebrate a woman who is bold, classic, and wants to express her individuality.
4. Why did you start your company?
We both loved dressing up for our jobs at night as maitre d’s. We started making accessories just for ourselves so that we could have a way to make our outfits stand out. When those accessories were noticed by the people who came to the places we worked and they were practically buying them off our necks we knew we were onto something.
5. What was the biggest hurdle or obstacle to founding a company?
Well, money! There are so many start-up costs that come with the founding of a company. We had to find the capital to get all of our ducks in a row so that things ran as smooth as possible from the get go. But no matter how much you plan, everyday we learn something new. Which makes it very challenging but exciting.
6. How has being a woman influenced your product? Your business?
Being a woman is probably the most influential part of our business. We started making jewelry for ourselves so obviously everything we make comes from that point of view. We want the woman (or man) who wears our jewelry to feel confident, strong and sexy, and the only way to be true to that goal is to embrace it within ourselves.
7. What is your favorite thing about being a woman?
Everything! But mostly the fashion.
8. What do you do in your spare time?
What’s spare time?
9. What is your favorite way to relax?
The beach 100%. It’s a place to rejuvenate and escape and remember the beauty of the world around this crazy city that we love.
10. What would be a dream come true?