LONDON — Pink, green, blue and yellow daisy tennis chains and bracelets; daisy pearl necklaces and bracelets; heart-shaped rings and colorful stud earrings — these are just a few of the pieces on the website of London-based jewelers Hatton Labs.
“Our brand is predominantly male. It’s close to a 75/25 split, male and female. We definitely design predominantly for men in mind, but 25 percent is huge, which we’re very appreciative of,” said Joe Gelb, cofounder of the brand with Jack Cannon.
Hatton Labs is perceived as a unisex brand online with its ambiguous campaign imagery and no online categories for men or women.
However, the pair are not ready to be called a unisex brand yet.
“My biggest fear for us would be to design for men and women without really studying women’s jewelry. It’s quite scary because we haven’t studied it and without consciously really doing that, I wouldn’t be that confident to say that we were womenswear accessories designers because we’ve not really spent the time on it. But we’re happy to cater to this request,” Gelb said.
Cannon started the brand in 2018 out of necessity and it’s now stocked at more than 120 stockists, including Mr Porter, Ssense, Selfridges, Browns, Saks, Nordstrom and more with a starting price of 110 pounds and ranging up to 32,500 pounds.
“I was making stuff for myself, my friends and in general anybody that was around me at the time. I was forced to start making stuff purely because there wasn’t anything for us to wear. We weren’t necessarily going to be wearing massive diamond encrusted pieces or costume jewelry,” said Cannon, who previously worked in social media at Nike in Amsterdam.
Cannon and Gelb have known each other for more than 15 years, but the pair only reconnected when Cannon was ideating Hatton Labs and Gelb was working in entertainment and branding in Los Angeles.
“I moved back to London to work for an investment firm who wanted to identify new fashion brands to invest in. I found a guy called Charaf Tajer, who is the creative director and founder of Casablanca. He hadn’t really got 2,000 followers on Instagram at the time and essentially, myself and a couple of my colleagues moved back to set up Casablanca as a business and gave it its first investment with Nadia Khan, chief executive officer of the brand,” Gelb said.
He jumped ship onto Hatton Labs after helping Cannon for a short while, which they’ve self-funded together without any investor. But they are not completely closed off to the prospects of new capital coming in in the future.
The idea to take Hatton Labs more seriously came from the big disparity Cannon and Gelb saw in the jewelry market between the established brands and new ones, with very little space for a middle ground that could dabble in all categories.
The brand primarily muses on music culture, such as hip-hop and rock, as well as listing Pharrell Williams, Vivienne Westwood, Ralph Lauren and Dior Jewelry’s creative director Victoire de Castellane as design inspirations.
“We see a lot of opportunity in products that don’t exist in the market. In the next couple of years we’d really like to establish ourselves as an accessories brand,” explained Gelb, hinting that they’ve already started working with leather for fall 2023, inspired by the custom belt buckles he and Cannon produced a few seasons ago that ranged from 500 pounds to 2,000 pounds in price.
“We’re not trying to become connoisseurs in leather per se, at least not at the moment, but more so specialists in the hardware application rather than just clasps and buttons. We’re really doubling down on a decorative level, which we feel doesn’t really exist in the market,” he added.
Hatton Labs now makes all of its jewelry across Tuscany and Veneto in Italy with the exception of custom orders, which are made in London. That is where they started off, but as the brand grew larger, they took manufacturing to Thailand, which didn’t give them much confidence because of the low quality.
The contemporary jewelry brand predominantly works in 95 silver (the standard for silver) and cubic zirconia, but for their Browns capsule collection they created three tennis chains and two tennis bracelets using white gold, emeralds, sapphire diamonds and amethyst. They use freshwater pearls, which are ethically farmed.
“Our factories produce for all the big fashion and jewelry houses, such as Bulgari, Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. We definitely feel that we’re in the best hands possible to execute our vision,” Gelb said.
“They’re extremely large factories that have a lot of checks and legal protocols in place, especially since they work with Kering and LVMH. It gives us comfort that what they’re doing is all ethically above board and playing by the rules,” he added.